After raping a young woman who was drugged and awoke to be choking on her own puke, the attacker Jacob Anderson walked away with one of the lightest slaps – no, taps – on the wrist from a judge that I’ve seen in a long time! A whopping $400 fine and some mandatory therapy! Driving and parking tickets come pretty close to that price. Anderson is serving absolutely no jail time, and even after the woman he attacked spoke multiple times in font of judges and juries nothing came out of it except for his college (University of Texas) banned him from campus but will still be sending him his diploma. After 23,000 names were on a petition to keep him off of campus grounds (you know, because men who get told “just don’t go it again, okay?” after drugging and raping a woman will probably do it again). Can there be petitions all around Texas and the rest of the country to not hire him into a place of work? Because again, since the university is still sending him his diploma, he’s still not being punished because with a diploma he can still get a better job than someone who doesn’t have their college education. And considering 8% of rapes happen in the work place, I wouldn’t put my money against him committing some form of sexual aggression towards a colleague in the not-so-distant future.

Of course Anderson isn’t the only one as of late, the Washington Post reports that a man in Washington was sentenced for only three months after raping an 18 year old overdosing on drugs who died due to her attacker not calling 911. A man in Montana was sentenced to 60 days in jail after raping his 12 year old daughter, and pled guilty to one count of incest. 

The issue of rape in this country is so prominent. On social media, people bicker back and forth about how it’s an issue for both men and women. While this is entirely true, it’s worth acknowledging that while only 1 in 71 men will be raped, 1 in 5 women will. And almost half of colored women are at risk of some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. Out of the overall percentage of all sexual assault victims, 91% of them are women, and surprisingly rape cases cost the U.S. the most to resolve and investigate. 

Part of the larger problem with the Anderson and Turner cases were that they happened to young women in college. The two courageous girls who reported it were apart of the minority, because over 90% of sexual assaults that take place on a college campus go unreported, and 27% of women attending a college have experienced sexual assault in some form, and two thirds of college students experience sexual harassment. And with these two cases in particular, both men walked free in the hopes that this “mistake” wouldn’t “ruin their lives forever” – but a study in Psychological Medicine found that 40% of women surveyed with severe mental illnesses were victims of rape or attempted. Out of these women, 53% of them committed suicide. Now why a man should be allowed to run free after ruining a woman’s mental, physical, and emotional health to the point of her taking her own life is beyond me. The biggest mistake we make as a nation is kidding ourselves that women make false claims in reporting their rapist to “destroy his life” because number one, reporting a man (guilty or innocent) destroys her life and number two, nothing too severe happens to a lot of the rapists found guilty. And while it is important that Anderson gets psychological help (as well as other rapists and victims), it makes no sense as to why he would receive no jail time whereas possession of marijuana or other illegal drugs lands you a ridiculously long sentencing in comparison. Yet those people who are charged receive no help at all in recovery. 

I wrap up this article with some food for thought: why do we punish someone who affects their own health and well-being with drugs, harsher than someone who affects someone else’s well-being by taking their life, their health, and their dignity from them?

All of these statistics and more can be found on the National Sexual Violence Resource Center website, and if you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual violence of any kind, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.