Can’t Stop Thinking About Her

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Credit: Jeanine Hoff Quote: Sheri Landry

Talk about trigger. I can’t recall being this emotionally affected in a really long time. I can many of you can relate.  Hearing about the Stanford Rape case, specifically the sentencing of the perpetrator has sent me into overdrive.

While I’ve never experienced a sexual assault, that doesn’t remove me from having compassion and empathy. For days my mind has been focused on the current and future mental health of the victim.  Admittedly, when I first heard about the case and ensuing sentence, I felt it was unjust but quickly moved on.  However, a Facebook post shared by a friend in which the victim detailed her experience following the incident that left me utterly speechless.

After being unable to sleep that night as my mind kept reliving her horror, I then read the response to the court from the perpetrator’s father.  It lit a fire inside me.  The moment I read that his son no longer enjoys grilled ribeye steaks and pretzels because he’s too “depressed” I felt compelled to speak up. I shared my thoughts on my Facebook page regarding the failings of the court and followed that up with numerous Twitter discussions, but I, like so many, am still not resolved.

This case has triggered many people who are in recovery or struggling with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and more.  I know I’m not the only one who can’t keep the victim’s mental wellbeing far from the mind.  Her life will never be the same.  She was thrown into a situation that will plague her mental state if not for life, then a very long time.

Yes, it’s true.  The perpetrator will also undoubtedly suffer from one or more mental health disorders.  He may find himself depressed in prison or suffer panic attacks due to the overwhelming social media response.  But he made a choice and has to live with it.  She didn’t.

Her physical scars will heal.  The bruises will fade.  The abrasions will close.  But her mental state, that will take longer than anyone can imagine.  My heart hurts for her.  Her mental health was tossed into a tornado of pain and suffering that anyone with experience can tell you wouldn’t wish on their worst enemy.  All of this because of one person’s selfish and cruel intentions and a judge who thought more of the mental health of the rapist than his victim.  Any judge who feels that jail would do more damage to the criminal than criminal did to the victim, seriously needs mental health training.

If my mental health can be affected by two people I have never met and probably will never meet, a victim who remains nameless and faceless, and a story that takes places hundreds of miles away, imagine what it’s done to the victim.  I have heard many stories on Twitter who have been impacted and triggered than I could’ve ever imagined.  This story has inflicted pain on so many; the victim and her family, the two heroes who had to witness something so horrible, the Stamford University community, and thousands upon thousands of individuals who are good, kind, compassionate people.  We all want Emily Doe to be healthy and live the life she planned.  While this may now be a challenge, she now has a support system of millions!

Spread some sunshine!

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