What does the Baylor rape case plea deal say to rapists?
If you have been following the news you probably heard about the plea deal Texas prosecutor made with ex-Baylor University fraternity president Jacob Walter Anderson. Despite the fact that Anderson was indicted on four counts of sexual assault, the prosecutor chose to avoid trial and instead agreed to a plea deal keeping Anderson out of jail, giving him only probation.
Disgusting, outrageous, absurd, insulating are just a few of the words that flood my mind, not to mention fear — what does this say about rape in this country? What does this say to survivors? Where is the justice?
The prosecutor’s reasons for keeping the case out of court are ridiculous in my opinion. Citing a previous case, prosecutor Hilary LaBorde listed she was worried a jury wouldn’t convict Anderson and was worried about the survivor’s feelings. What about her feelings now? Without even a fight? The prosecutor said the case was weak because the survivor and Anderson were drunk. Are we saying men don’t need to be accountable because they are drunk? Are we saying this act is ok when alcohol is involved?
We are further perpetuating rape culture. In the previous rape case, where this same prosecutor lost, jurors said the accuser “didn’t look like a rapist” — and what does a rapist look like? Or a murder? Or a saint? There is no concrete evidence supporting the way someone looks has anything to do with their ability to commit wrongdoing. This illogical way of thinking is setting rapists free.
What about the survivors? Are they not worth fighting for? That is what we are saying, isn’t it? We are showing that rape isn’t that bad. We are telling people they can get away with it because no one wants to convict a rapist. No one wants to surface unpleasant memories, intimate information, and vulgar actions.
We need to change this culture. We need to stand up and show that we won’t stand for this kind of behavior. These actions are awful. They are beyond disgusting. They cause permanent irreparable harm. What about our children? Our next generation? What are we doing to show them this is unacceptable?