In Open Letter To Rape Victim, Vainieri Huttle Says Judge Should Resign

Dear “Mary”,

I, like so many, read a recent New York Times article detailing the two separate ways in which you have been brutalized: once by a rapist and once by a misogynistic judge.

In 2016 Brock Turner was given a meager sentence for the rape of a young, unconscious woman behind a dumpster. The Judge expressed regret that the trial could impede his successful career as a Division 1 swimmer. That same year, an Ocean County judge informed a rape victim that she should have attempted to “close her legs” during her attack.

Unfortunately, you alone are not the only woman to face an injustice of this magnitude at the hands of the criminal justice system. Unfortunately, you are one of the many whose suffering was deepened due to the misogyny, insensitivity and disregard of our justice system.

Judge Troiano, who so ignorantly discounted your trauma, clearly governs without a fundamental understanding of the realities of sexual violence. For decades, research has shown us that a majority of rape cases do not happen in the shadows of alley-ways, they are committed at the hands of people we know, in environments where we may feel safe, such as a party with friends. Judge Troiano, like so many judges, needs a crash course on rape culture. I say without hesitation, they should resign immediately.

No one should need to endure what you have. I am sorry that the character of your perpetrator’s family and the caliber of his academic performance has been held to a higher standard than your trauma. You deserve better, we all do.

I speak not only for myself but for the women of New Jersey when I say: we see you, we hear you, we believe you, we stand in solidarity with you.

I grieve for you. I demand justice for you and I wish you healing.

With Love & Support,

Valerie Vainieri Huttle

Assemblywoman, District 37