My Response to Robin Camp’s Rape Comments From Someone Who Has Been There

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FANGLE Magazine Editor-in-Chief | Raichel Jenkins | rj790813@ohio.edu

Dear Robin Camp,

I recently watched the CNN video describing your response to the rape of a 19-year-old girl.

I was angry. Many people were horrified. But today, this isn’t a hateful letter. I’m writing this to everyone who thinks like you do because they’ve never been there, never been the one behind the bathroom sink or the one pressed against it.

Though Judge Camp acquitted the defendant in 2014, an outraged appeal has set the man's retrial for later this year.  This is a screenshot from CNN's coverage video of the incident.
Though Judge Camp acquitted the defendant in 2014, an outraged appeal has set the man’s retrial for later this year.
This is a screenshot from CNN’s coverage video of the incident.

I know when you heard this, you saw it through your eyes. I understand that you didn’t come from a place of hate, but of ignorance. I understand this because once, I thought rape was a far off topic, a grey area, something that happened to other people, women on the news with sad eyes. I may have said something ignorant, not as hateful as your comments were, but ignorant.

Suggesting to a young girl that she fight… that she move away when someone is raping her, is as fair as telling someone who has had an arm cut off to apply a tightly-wound tournaquette themselves and run to the nearest hospital. You’d never yell “why didn’t you just run faster, the hospital was only a block away,” at someone who bled out.

I hope you never have to experience that sort of fear that makes you freeze in place and become paralyzed, every second replaying before your eyes.

I hope you never feel the paralysis that comes from being raped. A feeling of being plunged into ice-cold water, opening your eyes and trying to swim to the surface. I dare you to try to remember you’re drowning when everything else that could be shocking you is happening: the ice in your lungs, knifes of cold in your limbs, your eyes unseeing, your lungs bursting. I hope you never experience that sort of shock that comes from having your body taken from you. Because if you did, you’d never have said what you did.

I hear you have a daughter and worse, that she has experienced rape as well. I can only imagine how hurt she must have been by what you said. Imagining your anger at whoever took her body from her, I can’t believe you would ever see another girl in your court room and not understand what it’s like, at the very least as a parent; to have someone take bits and pieces of your little girl.

I know how much it killed my parents when I told them what happened to me. And if you ever have the misfortune of holding your crying daughter in your arms, it won’t matter what circumstances led to this. It wouldn’t matter if she lay naked in a crowd with a blindfold on, because something was taken from her that she can’t get back with a courtroom verdict.

If someone cuts off your arm, you don’t expect to get your arm re-attached. You expect for that person who cut it off to be punished and to put back the pieces of your life, now that you’re an amputee.

Losing your body, losing your sense of worth, that’s not something you will ever know. You’ll never know the amount of self disgust you’d feel, knowing your body failed you. It didn’t fight back, it didn’t scream. It failed you and it’s never coming back as “your body.” Now it’s “that body.” “That body” which left you when you really needed it and didn’t gouge out the eyes of whoever was claiming it for themselves.

That’s what really happens to many when you’ve been raped. Your body becomes a body and there’s nothing more demeaning when the one thing you’ll ever truly own, stops being yours.

You’re going to get tons of backlash, you’re going to eat your words if you haven’t already, maybe lose your position. And I know you’ll curse an unfair system for ruining you after one bad verdict. You may or may not have your job but when you go to sleep at night, you’ll never feel like you’re settled inside another person’s body because your own left you.

Your daughter’s body may not be her own. Your wife’s body may not be. You may pass a hundred people on the street who’s bodies are no longer there own and never understand because…. If you were pressed against a sink, you’ll never have to wonder why your body didn’t fight for you. Every woman who’s experienced the freezing fear of being attacked will ask themselves a thousand times why their body couldn’t fight back, they sure as hell don’t need to be asked that by a judge in a courtroom.

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