Melissa Harris-Perry’s open letter to Steubenville survivor
So much respect for that.
“Dearest Beloved Girl,
[Text behind reads: Dear Steubenville Survivor]
This is a letter of apology for being an adult who has failed to make the world safe for you.
[YOU SHOULD BE SAFE]
You should be safe, and your vulnerability should not invite assault and attack of your body or your spirit.
[WE HAVE FAILED YOU]
So I’m sorry that we have failed to teach your male peers they have no right to touch you without your consent.
[YOU DEMANDED THE RIGHT TO BE HEARD]
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 knew 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 OUT ANYWAY]
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 thread in my head, “don’t tell, they won’t believe you.”
This is my apology and this is my gratitude saying, I believe you. I believe you are inherently valuable, not as a character in some grotesque news cycle where your assault is all we know, but as a girl.
[I BELIEVE YOU]
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.