This post is not about the current sexual assault news story.
But while people are saying, “Why didn’t she report it? Come on, she should have reported it!” there was this news item about a woman who did report it.
In August of 2017, 34-year-old Alaska man Justin Schneider offered a stranded woman a ride. Rather than taking her where he said he would, he went off in another direction, saying he needed to get something from another car. When they reached that destination, he asked her to get out while he loaded things into his truck. It was at that point he told her he was going to kill her and then strangled her until she was unconscious. He then proceeded to masturbate on her, and when she woke up, he offered her a tissue.
Based on overwhelming evidence, a grand jury indicted him on four felony counts, including kidnapping and assault, as well as a misdemeanor charge for “offensive contact with fluids.”
And yet. And yet. He will serve zero days in jail.
At the end of the story there are additional examples, lest anyone kid themselves that this is an isolated thing.
We don’t get to criticize women who don’t report sexual assaults while tolerating a criminal justice system that doesn’t take sexual assault seriously. It is absolutely reasonable for a woman to assume that there is no benefit to reporting an assault: no punishment for the attacker even if he’s caught, no jail time even if he’s convicted, and quite likely a defense that includes “yeah, but look what she did, which totally justifies rape!”
You want to be able to question why someone didn’t report? Make sure the system works.