When Power Is Abused, Victims Suffer More

As one of three daughters to a single father, it’s no wonder he was my role model for understanding how the dynamic between men and women works.  Throughout these prime development years, I formed strong opinions regarding the social and political dynamic between men and women. With few female role models, I saw the way that my father treated other women, the way Republican men treated women, and the way guys in my day to day life treated women. I watched all these different dynamics, and I’ve concluded that men who are in power and abuse that power often use that to instill fear and subordination in their victims--namely women.   

 

In my household the brainwashing was real. My father, in all his vulgarness, would speak openly and inappropriately about women. This was the first indication that men in power--whether in the private or public sphere--teach women that no matter what, women will always matter less. As I got older I started to form my own views on the world and realized that the mistreatment of women went further than my last name. We can see it most clearly in the response to sexual assault.   

What I have learned through both research and personal experience is that it takes an army of women to get justice, but only one man’s voice to deny it. This statement holds true to Donald Trump, Bill Cosby, Brett Kavanaugh, and Dylan Stahley. All of these men have been accused of sexual misconduct towards their victims.  All of them have denied it.  

 

Donald Trump is a prime example of how the system plays in favor of men abusing their power. His role as president puts any women who have felt demeaned by his actions in a difficult position. Women like Rachel Crooks, who was kissed by Trump without consent, were put in a vulnerable situation they weren’t comfortable with. That leaves a lasting feeling. This doesn’t seem to matter though, or at least not to anyone who defended him. Jason Miller speaking on behalf of Trump called this exchange “fiction.” It’s not humane that Crooks and many other women have been groped, belittled, and disrespected by a man who has and will not likely receive any charges.  

 

In lieu of recent events surrounding the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh I find myself speechless that people, like my father, defend his attempted rape and sexual assault charges just because he was 17. That shouldn’t matter; 36 years doesn’t change the facts. The same goes for Bill Cosby. It took 13 years of suffering and being blown off for one of about 60 women to get justice. When Bill Cosby drugged and raped Andrea Constand, he got away with it despite her efforts to create a case. Not only did this powerful public figure get away with the rape of many more women, but he is only receiving 3-10 years for Andrea Constand’s case.

 

I’m a victim too, but I got lucky in that I’ve been able to press charges against my assailant, Dylan Stahley.

 

Moving to Seattle was my start for something. It was going to be the place where I forgot about all my past demons. But then, a friend from back home sent me an article about the guy who assaulted me. Just when things were hopeful and new, nothing would be fully resolved until Dylan Stahley’s case was closed. In order to bring clarity to the nature of his case and my role in it: this is the complaint I filed after reading the article.  

 

Just because someone doesn’t speak up about pain doesn’t mean they’re not hurting. I wish that I had written this statement sooner. I wish I had the courage to speak up about this monster the way the other girl did. I guess I was just afraid. Afraid that if I did something involving the criminal justice system it would fail me like it has done to so many women, so many times before. But it didn’t, because I am going to get justice. Finally being heard is an experience that Trump, Cosby, and Kavanaugh’s victims deserve to have. I never felt like I had a choice with Stahley, but I do have the choice to speak up about it, no matter the prejudice.  

 

To summarize my thoughts, I was raised to believe that in many scenarios, women mattered less. The United States judicial system, amidst cases like the aforementioned, reinforces this idea of another gender mattering less. In spite of this, I am saying no and deciding that I do matter. I matter enough for justice and so does everyone else.