By Samantha Paradise, age 16
Ever since I was a child I was told "boys are stupid" or "it's just because they like you" when they'd hit me and call me names. Is that what Yardley love thought when her boyfriend beat her to death in her college dorm room weeks before graduating from her dream school. Ever since I was a child I was told "don't drink at parties- you'll be taken advantage of" and "if you wear that you deserve it." Is that what Hannah Graham thought when she was abducted, assaulted, and killed? Ever since I was a child I've been told "he's just an athlete who made a mistake" I'm sure that is exactly what the young woman who was raped, unconscious in an alley, by Brock Turner thought when he was sentenced 6 months with parole.
Ever since I was a child, a person can get more time hitting someone while drunk driving than assaulting someone while drunk raping. But alcohol is only an acceptable excuse when it comes to assault and violence.
Ever since I was a child, it has been thought that the absence of no means yes but no means no, and I'm not in the mood also means no, and not now also means no because no means no.
Ever since I was a child the likeliness of it happening to me or a friend has doubled. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 3 men will be sexually assaulted or in a violent relationship during their 4 years in college.
A young woman from Columbia begged for her case to be heard she craved justice, the college board responded "if we find anything we will let you know" it has been 3 years, she has graduated from Columbia. And as Martin Luther King Jr. So famously stated "justice delayed is justice denied" so I ask you, how is that justice? Countless criminals have gotten away with petty penalties, after ruining someone's life. How is that justice? Men have always been taken as a joke when that are a victim of sexual assault or relationship violence, because apparently women can hurt people too. How is THAT justice?
Ever since I was a child it has been "don't get raped" and "don't start the argument" but why is that my job, or your job, or Yardley's job, or Hannah's job. It's George Hugley's, Brock Turner, and countless others jobs not to hurt others, not to take advantage, and not to make excuses.
Ever since I was a child, rape and relationship violence have been taboo topics. Well I'm breaking the silence. Because to me, that IS my job.