Kathryn Lindsay
June 09, 2016 11:59 am
Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

This week has seen an enormous amount of attention to the Stanford sexual assault survivor, who read an incredible open letter to her attacker in court. The world has been in an uproar over justice denied for this  anonymous young woman. How could this have happened? Why is the justice system still so lenient towards rapists? And what can we do to move forward? Joe Biden, who is heavily involved in the White House’s “It’s On Us” campaign to end sexual assault on college campuses, has some ideas — starting with penning a letter of his own to the survivor, published today for us all to read on Buzzfeed.

“I do not know your name—but your words are forever seared on my soul. Words that should be required reading for men and women of all ages,” the letter begins. The Vice President goes on the express his anger with what happened, and with the culture that has made a system so treacherous to navigate.

You are a warrior—with a solid steel spine,” he continues. “I do not know your name—but I know that a lot of people failed you that terrible January night and in the months that followed.”

The Vice President listed the many things that could have — should have — happened differently. Someone at the party could have intervened. People could have reacted with compassion instead of blaming the rapist’s crime on her. The whole culture surrounding rape could have been reversed.

You were failed by anyone who dared to question this one clear and simple truth: Sex without consent is rape. Period,” he writes. “It is a crime.

Biden went to commend the two men who intervened in the assault, and to assure the survivor that she is stronger than the obstacles she is up against.

I join your global chorus of supporters, because we can never say enough to survivors: I believe you. It is not your fault . . . And that is why we will continue to speak out.”

Joe Biden’s support is so important in this national conversation, and it’s comforting to know that the Stanford survivor, and survivors of sexual assault everywhere, have one of the most powerful people in the world behind them.

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