Melissa Harris-Perry’s open letter to Steubenville survivor
So much respect for that.
text of captions:
“Dearest Beloved Girl,
This letter is an apology for being an adult who has failed to make the world safe for you. You should be safe, and your vulnerability should not invite assault and attack of your body or your spirit. So, I’m sorry that we have failed to teach your male peers that they have no right to touch you without your consent. You demanded the right to be heard. You may have lost your voice that night, but you found it again when you told the truth, even though you knew, didn’t you? You know just how relentlessly they would try to silence you. You knew that neighbors and friends, and even the members of the national media would mourn the loss of your attackers’ football careers more than the loss of your innocence. You spoke for yourself and you spoke for the 44% of rape victims who are under 18, and you spoke for my 14 year old self who still hears that threat in my head, “don’t tell, no-one will believe you.”
This is my apology and this is my gratitude saying, I believe you. I believe that you are inherently valuable, not as a character in some grotesque news cycle where your assault is all we know, but as a girl with hopes and dreams and ambitions and vulnerabilities and so much more growing up to do. I never need to know your name, but I need you to know you are not alone. If you ever get down, if you ever wonder how you’re gonna go on, take out this letter, because I believe you.