I thank Elizabeth Bruenig for the Sept. 23 Opinion essay “What do we owe her now?,” which reported on the aftermath of an alleged rape in Arlington, Tex. And I especially thank Amber Wyatt for giving this difficult and terribly sad account of the alleged rape and its aftermath. Ms. Wyatt’s amazing bravery as a teenager in reporting the incident and now in the retelling is beyond impressive.
We can only hope and believe it will help our society continue its slow journey in the right direction. But how regrettable that Ms. Wyatt was not given the support and justice she deserved 12 years ago. As Serena Williams said recently, “Maybe it didn’t work out for me, but it’s going to work out for the next person.”
Thanks to Ms. Wyatt for helping the next person.
Pat Ward, Herndon
Elizabeth Bruenig told the tragic story of a young woman whose hometown turned against her after she reported having been raped to police. Unfortunately, it’s also a story that’s all too familiar to many young women.
One in 4 girls will experience sexual violence before she turns 18, but the vast majority of these crimes will go unreported to the police. These alarming realities are the product of an imbalance of power, which is at the root of all sexual harassment and violence.
Addressing this epidemic will require nothing short of culture change. It is critical that we all work together to tackle the underlying causes of sexual harassment and violence, such as gender-based stereotypes, objectification of women, victim-shaming and stigma, as well as the lack of consent and sexuality education in schools.
The first step is understanding we all have a role to play. It’s not up to girls to fix the system. But we can all agree that it’s broken.
Judy Vredenburgh, New York
The writer is president and
chief executive of Girls Inc.
After reading Elizabeth Bruenig’s “What do we owe her now?,” I sit in a place of humility and yearn for advocacy of social justice. This essay resonated and reminded me that there are people in this world who will not be quiet for social justice.
The moral conscience needs to be made uneasy to create a movement of justice for those who have been sexually assaulted or harassed. For the #MeToo movement to carry profound power and create a wave of change, it will take allies to speak up and bring empowerment to those individuals who have been oppressed in our society. For there to be a social change across each socioeconomic level, more individuals must be liberated by the outpouring of bravery erupting from the #MeToo Movement.
Amber Wyatt felt as though she had no voice during and following the alleged criminal act she survived and endured. Sexual assault has a tendency to steal our ability to speak and voice our concerns. It seems that each case has a strong division between perpetrator and victim. As allies, we have the opportunity to join the victims and policymakers in addressing sexual assault.
Olivia Tyler, Athens, Ga.