A Future Worth Fighting For
By Margaret Dols-Corr
I am a California native and advocate for social justice. I am in the process of pushing a bill through the Massachusetts state committee that will enable students to have access to information about sexual violence on college campuses.
"Why do you care so much about social justice?”
My answer may seem overused, but asking why more than one person has to defend basic human rights is where our problem resonates:
Two very close friends of mine were subjected to sexual violence.
The first was in 2016. She was inebriated, she passed out, and she was gang-raped by classmates who knew her for more than 10 years. She reported it. She got the rape kit. She did everything right.
Yet, she was denied justice.
The second was before I met her, but her story inflicts a pain in my heart that has yet to dissipate. Her rapist is still in contact with her and is a social media advocate for sexual assault prevention. Her rapist is free.
We were in a bathroom stall crying on the floor when I was made aware of her circumstance. She became petrified at the idea of reporting her rape. She knew she couldn’t handle the repercussions of going to trial during a time when all she wanted to focus on were her college applications. She was worried about her reputation and how this situation could impact her future. She was a victim who could suffer from far greater consequences than her abuser. She shouldn’t have to think about the implications on her life because someone took away her consent; She has yet to recover.
Women do not have the advantage of a fair trial or a clean record when it comes to reporting assault. No matter how strict and inclusive laws become, our roles as docile and subordinate creatures will not change unless the male-dominated stigma regarding our place in society is changed. My friends, and many others, are an example of our failure to recognize institutionalized misogyny.
What I have stated has been said before, and the majority of readers may stand behind me, but action takes work, and we have not done enough. We have a responsibility to recognize, support, stop, and defend each other from sexual violence and a biased justice system. We have the capability to create a voice for those who are unable to speak up, and the courage to break down the barriers preventing us from living in peace.
If you have been struggling trying to cope with an incident that you feel was sexual assault, you’re not alone and you have resources that with time can be lead towards justice and mental relief. You should never have to worry about your safety and we are here to help and guide you towards the right people.