Monday, June 13, 2016

Is The Pen Still Mighty?

Everyone who writes has a fantasy. One day, we will take up our pens (or typewriters, or computers, or smartphones/tablets). We will write something that changes the world for the better.

Women have done it before.

Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Twenty Years at Hull House by Jane Addams

Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (yesterday would have been her 87th birthday had she survived the Holocaust).

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

The Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling, which changed popular culture forever. (How my son loved those books).

But it doesn't have to be a book anymore.  It can be a text, or a letter, or even a social media posting.

Perhaps, a long letter from a woman known only as Emily Doe will join those books.  It is a letter written by a 23 year old woman who was sexually assaulted by a young man, who was about to be let off with a "slap on the wrist" six months sentence.  Boys will be boys, after all.  And this young man was a star athlete.  And, dare I say it, white.

Business as usual, in our United States.

Emily Doe's letter may join those books on the list of writing that changes our world.  Maybe, just maybe.  This woman is powerful and strong in her telling of what happened, and how it changed her life forever.   The letter I've linked to is graphic.  Chilling.  Not just what was done to her, but the aftermath.  Sleepless nights.  Fear.  Having to quit her job.  The trial she endured, where she was asked questions straight out of 1965.  Did she have a boyfriend?  Were they intimate?

You will flinch when you read the letter.  You should read it.  Every word of it.  And flinch.

Yes, she had gone to a party.  Yes, she had drank too much.    So what happened next became her fault, while the father of the young man who did what he did to her near a dumpster referred to what his son did as "20 minutes of action". 

Thankfully, two men came upon them and acted, and were witnesses at the trial.

Athletes have been able to get away with that "action" for a long, long time.  This man claimed consent, which the facts of the case contraindicate.  Now, it is past time for this injustice to be addressed.   No more blaming the victim.  No more allowing star athletes to do what they want just because they are athletes.  No more judges judging these cases with a wink and a nod.

The Stanford letter, as it is now called, has unleashed the fury of a nation.

Over one million people have signed a petition for the impeachment of the judge on   Over 120,000 people have signed a petition to the White House for the impeachment of the judge.

I read about the judge first.   Despite the controversy, he was just reappointed for a new term. He may or may not removed.  Normally, I would agree that a verdict should not be interfered with. But, this is not that kind of case.

Whether this ends in impeachment for this judge because of this letter, I can only hope that, one way or the other, justice for Emily Doe is done.

Emily Doe, may life, going forward, be good to you.


  1. Well I am actually at a loss of words, don't know what should we say. Is that something we aim to serve to the coming generations. Its high time we, as a society, should rise to such acts and present an example so that incident like these are avoided. Well thought and written post. Respect!!!

  2. It's a very heartbreaking story, something has to change and hopefully this petition is the beginning of that.

  3. The petition is good for raising awareness, but has no legal effect. But the voters of California are being asked to sign a recall petition. If enough signatures go on the recall petition, the will be a recall vote.

  4. I just read the letter and my blood is still boiling. She has such power and such large heart to speak sanely after what happened to her, to want him to understand rather than to be punished. He deserves to be brutally lashed for his actions, especially for not owning up to it.
    Pen is mightier than the sword indeed, her letter is a wake up call to the world.

  5. I am still in shock reading the contents of Emily's letter! My heart goes out to her brave spirit for the fight that she has put up but more than that, he way she now stands for all women inspite of going through so much, mentally, physically and emotionally! I'm sure the petition will reach out to every corner and garner enough support along the way by raising awareness and forcing change!

  6. I think the fact that this has hit the zeitgeist like this is a good sign that things may change after this.

  7. I read that letter and it's so devastating... the pain and humiliation she has to go through... above all she had to relive those moments again and again. I can't believe the father said that... his one act is causing her so much trauma. But I am so glad she was brave and came forward with the letter, empowering other victims too.

  8. I have read Emily's letter and it's painful. You are right that it is one of those pieces that will be remembered from our times. May God be with her.


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