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Harvard Sexual Assault Survivor On The Stanford Rape Case: The Perpetrator Is Being Defended As The 'Real Victim'

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Ari Perilstein Darren McCollester Joe Raedle
Automatic TRANSCRIPT This transcript was automatically generated by AudioBurst technologies

It was a really sad reminder of what I went through and what so many other people go through. And really, one of—I guess the silver lining to how much attention this case is getting is that it points out the flaws in our laws and our legal systems. We tell victims that they need to come forward because rape is unreported, and we act as if, if more people reported the crimes, went to the police, then that would somehow fix things, as if it’s our duty. But then you look at what happened in the Stanford case. And this is a best-case outcome. She got farther than most victims do get in the system. Most rapists never see the inside of a courtroom, let alone a jailhouse or a prison. And even still, she’s treated in this way. And it’s similar to what I found when I was going through the criminal process, where it almost felt like it wasn’t even a question of whether I was believed, but whether I was valued enough that what was done to me was worth its consequences. Explain what you mean. Explain what happened, Kamilah. I was sexually assaulted by a friend and classmate. He actually assaulted me and another girl on the same night. And it was, you know, a typical night of drinking. He was the nice guy who offered to help me take care of my drunk friend. And next thing you know, I wake up, my drunk friend has been undressed, and he’s trying to penetrate me. So I woke up to this kind of assault. And he took credit for it. We wouldn’t have gone to the police if we didn’t have text messages from him confirming what we thought had happened. So, it wasn’t even—to me, it didn’t feel like it was my word against his. And again, we had more evidence than most cases do. I reported it to the police and my school. The school, after an extensive investigation, found him responsible. And then, somehow, after I left the school, the faculty voted on whether to uphold the sanction, and reversed the decision without informing me. At the same time, we went through a lengthy criminal trial process. And of the six felony charges that the prosecutor attempted to bring against him, he was charged with three and found guilty of a lesser included offense of one, which was a misdemeanor assault. He got probation. And then 19 of my Harvard law professors publicly defended him and did much of what we see happening in this case, bringing the attention to the perpetrator as the, quote-unquote, real victim in this case. The pain that he suffered, his reputation, his life being on hold during trial is really what they were outraged about, even though it was caused by his own predatory actions. And the pain that my friend and I, who were sexually assaulted, suffered is secondary. You know, we’re treated as if all of this is because of us, because we spoke out, not because somebody thought it was OK to force himself on incapacitated women.