Author’s note: This article discusses sexual assault.
There’s a saying that you’re not a real New Yorker until you cry on the subway. Well folks, after this week’s episode of This American Life, I am officially a real New Yorker.
If you don’t know what This American Life is (do you live under a rock?) it is a weekly podcast/radio show hosted by the illustrious Ira Glass that tells a story about something happening somewhere in this country. This week’s episode, entitled “Anatomy of Doubt,” follows two investigations of sexual assault cases, one that goes wrong and one that goes right, and how doubt plays a large role in this country’s judicial system.
What struck me the most about this episode was how unrefined, unproductive, and unregulated the procedure is in cases of sexual assault. The episode begins with the story of Marie, a woman who was raped by a stranger in the middle of the night. Not only was her rape case thrown out and all evidence destroyed, but she was then also accused of false reporting and ended up with a hefty fine and a year of probation. Years later, her rapist was found and convicted after raping at least three more women in a similar manner.
I believe the only way we can make change is to fully understand the systems in place and why they are failing victims. This episode of This American Life is a great place to start. You can listen to it, for free, here.