A Letter to my Rapist

A Letter to my Rapist

dreamstime_xs_51843727I can’t stop reading and re-reading the letter from the victim of “The Stanford Rapist” to her attacker. It is inspirational and powerful and it’s affecting me deeply because they’re words I wish I could say. I’m glad the story is getting attention…I want it to get more. I want Brock Turner’s name to be remembered. The Stanford Swimmer with a huge future ahead of him deserves a lifetime of recognition for the despicable person he is. He deserves to be lonely and jobless and judged for the rest of his life. His name deserves a place in history.

Why this story? Why now? In the United States alone, a person is sexually assaulted every two minutes. Why now, is everyone is getting behind the victim?

Because two men saw it happen. It isn’t because we’re shocked that a young white man with such a bright future could perpetrate this crime. That’s a typical profile. They care because they believe her, they believe her because two men stepped in and stood up. What if a man had supported even one of Cosby’s 59 victims?

It also supports the myth that rapists are strangers who jump out of the bushes (or in this case, behind dumpsters). It’s a lot easier to imagine this scenario than to acknowledge that more than 75% of rapists are known to their victims. It lets us think there is something we can do to protect ourselves. Don’t drink. Don’t walk alone at night. Carry a whistle, carry pepper spray, carry a gun. And thinking that the victim could have done something to protect him or herself lets us blame them for not.

Please, share the story. Say his name. Call him the Stanford Swimmer if you want, let this be a story that stands out in your memory long after it’s 15 minutes have faded. I will.

I have deep admiration for the woman who bravely endured the trial, who so articulately put her rapist in his place, who is sharing her story with the world. I have infinite respect for the two men who stepped in that night. I’m encouraged by the criticism of the way headlines were worded to perpetuate rape culture. But mostly, I am inspired.

This story has me questioning whether I should name my rapist. I’m not quite there yet, but this is as close as I’ve come so far…


I haven’t shared your name yet.
A lot of people know who you are, but I haven’t said your name for your wife’s sake.
I don’t want to embarrass her or her family.

I’ve decided now is not the time to say your name, because I’m still thinking it through.
But don’t rest assured, thinking I’m too scared to tell everyone who you are.
A lot of people know what you did to me.
Your wife knows. We talked about it. Does she know about the others?
When I shared my story, other women confided you had done the same to them.
Did you know that both of your sisters reached out to me after I published my story?
They know what you did.

You’ll never be The Wallowa High School Rapist.
Your name will never be in the headlines because you’re nobody.
You don’t matter.
What would they say now? Even if they would/could convict you…
“The mediocre lineman who once played football in a small town…”
Would they call you a loving father of three? Probably.
Will you raise your sons to feel entitled?
Will we ever know their names? Maybe.

I saw you at a party 8 years later. You smiled at me and asked me to go for a walk with you.
I had only had a couple of beers, but I got sick when I saw you.
I don’t drink and drive, but that night I did. I jumped in my car and tried to get out as fast as I could. I backed into a tree and smashed my tail light.
You owe me $600.

You owe me a lot more than that.
I don’t want an apology because I know you’re not sorry. I know you’d do it again. I know you did.

But there is one thing…

Say your own name. Own what you did. Admit you raped me.

Or just wait, wondering when I will.





Note: The When You’re Ready Community has a policy of not publishing names of anyone but the person writing, so if and when I do it, it won’t be here.




Lauren Reid is the founder of When You're Ready.org, a three time survivor of rape who built this community to let other survivors of sexual violence know that they're not alone. When you're ready, I'll be here.