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Dear Michigan 2L,

December 17, 2008

You don’t know me. Though I’ve spent a little time in Ann Arbor, I don’t know any current law students there.

But I read your letter today, and I can’t stop thinking about you. About the violence that was done to you – that is, the profound and numerous ways you were violated by that professor and by the police. About how hard it must be to speak out in the midst of all of this pain, risking your anonymity and knowing that every asshole on the internet is right there waiting to violate you some more. About how grateful I am for your survival, and for your bravery and selflessness in going to the police in the hopes of preventing Eliav from attacking another woman, even though you knew full well what you risked in going to the police.

I wish I knew you, so I could make you some tea, and wrap you in a warm blanket, and sit with you as you tried to make sense of what you now know firsthand about the worst humans are capable of.

I also wish I knew you so I could tell you this, a hundred times a day: It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t your fault.

No part of it was your fault. It’s not your fault that sex work is illegal. It’s not your fault that law school is prohibitively expensive, and that good jobs are harder and harder to find, and that women make 70 cents to every man’s dollar. It’s not your fault that capitalist greed pushed housing and credit beyond your reach. It’s not your fault that you decided to sell your sexual services to survive, even though it sounds like you really didn’t want to.

This violence wouldn’t be your fault even if you had sold your sexual services willingly or enthusiastically. It wouldn’t be your fault if you did have STDs. It wouldn’t be your fault if your “lifetime number” was over 20, or over 200, or over 2000. It wouldn’t be your fault if you were still an aetheist, or if you hated the gym, or if you were an antisocial loner, or if you loved to party and were known as a wild child.

NONE of this is your fault. There is NOTHING you could have done to deserve this.

Please believe that. Really. And I’ll be in Ann Arbor around New Years’ if you want to get that tea.

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