If you only read one piece of journalism today, make it this multi-part piece from the Miami Herald. If you doubt that powerful men can rape the most vulnerable of victims, for years, with impunity — well, the Herald’s exhaustively investigated piece should change your mind.
I hesitate to even dare utter the words “rape culture” — lest I attract the creepy attention of the whiny manosphere — but jesusfuckingchrist, the Herald piece is a sickening three-part meditation on our uniquely American brand of rape culture. Plainly, we excuse wealthy men, even when they spend years grooming and assaulting scores of girls. The system literally exists to protect men like Epstein — men with money, power and privilege.
In rape culture, victims get no justice. Victims suffer for a lifetime, no matter how hard they work to heal — especially since “rape culture” means we blame victims, disbelieve them, or both. Victims are left to mend themselves, somehow, in spite of the horrific harm done to them, and in spite of the violent apathy of a system that pretends to act on their behalf.
To make matters worse, here’s an update on the civil trial scheduled for today, in which a lawyer for some of the victims was suing Epstein. About today’s trial, the Herald piece said:
The Dec. 4 case, in Palm Beach County state court … is noteworthy because it will mark the first time that Epstein’s victims will have their day in court, and several of them are scheduled to testify.
Finally — victims’ voices will be heard, right? Well, unsurpisingly, a settlement for an undisclosed dollar amount was reached this morning, before any of the victims could testify. For details and context, see here.
Anyway, though: read the Herald series, even though it hurts. Or, it should hurt, if you have a feeling heart. The least you can do for survivors of sexual violence is to bear unflinching witness to these grave and brutal miscarriages of justice.
And then: Stop blaming victims. Believe survivors. Smash rape culture.