I can’t quite describe the feeling of injustice — I know what injustice is in my head and what it looks like and why injustice is wrong… but this feeling is something yucky and horrible and gooey. It feels like something is stuck in my throat and I can’t quite get it out.
So the two guys (Steve Yang and Ravi Faiia) who took advantage of me while I wasn’t in a position to consent (See previous essay “Patriarchy found me”) still have not apologized fully or owned up to this situation. And of course I’m still angry and upset about it. It’s been three weeks since the realization that these two guys took advantage of me when I wasn’t in a position to consent and I’ve been talking a lot..talking with the Stanford campus police in an effort to hold these perpetrators accountable and to shed some light on this situation which feels so muddled and complicated and exhausting and wrong. The worst part though is that I feel the pressure to just “deal with it” and to “move on” as if this situation or these incidents are something I can get past. I CANNOT, not until there has been some kind of a reckoning. The outcome has to be something I can accept.
In this legal system in the U.S. which is supposed to be one of the most advanced in the world, why is there no system of protection (or a very tenuous one) for the victims of sexual assault or sexual misconduct or relationship abuse? Why is the onus on the victim or survivor to be a certain way? — to get over incidents like this under a certain time frame or to present her story in a neat or packaged way? There is no neat package for sexual assault or for such incidents and there is no way to just “move on,” which is what some members of society may expect from the victims. Sexual assault is brutal, violent and ugly. It is violating. It is frightening and scary.
So when I could be putting myself to bed in a calming way or be doing things I would normally be doing on a Friday night, I’m instead filled with a simmering anger and rage I haven’t felt before. I think about what my perpetrators could be doing right now — are they going about their normal lives? Are they reading to their kids or just going for a walk or spending time with their families or eating dinner as if they haven’t done anything while I’m suffering, feel invisible and unsettled in a way I can’t describe? It is a horrible contradiction and paradox — that the victim has to be the one suffering while the perpetrators may be seemingly going about their lives.
But I did read over and over this past week, as if the Universe was sending me a sign, that perpetrators of sexual assault do not just walk away with it. The Canadian fashion designer Peter Nygaard, for example, is in a Canadian jail right now and fighting extradition to New York, where victims of his sexual assault and trafficking came forward and have filed class action lawsuits seeking restitution for his crime. This served as a reminder to me that people who violate or abuse women and commit sexual misconduct against them will face accountability and justice. They will NOT just get away with it and they will be apprehended. Also, there is a saying that nothing goes unnoticed under “God”s eyes or a deity’s eyes (whoever makes this world go around — whatever you want to believe). I believe that these two perpetrators will be held accountable some day.. This realization makes me be able to go to sleep at night.