|Odd Fagerjord spokesman for the Læstadian church in Norway. Photo: TERJE MORTENSEN, VG ,|
The Stanford victim's statement to her attacker has been shared widely online; if you haven't read it, I encourage you to do so. Given what we know, who among us would recommend a victim pursue justice through the courts?
I don't know what the court system is like in Norway, but in the village of Tysford (a largely-Firstborn Laestadian community), a series of articles on sexual abuse speaks to a similar desire to stop the insanity. The victims' stories are so familiar, and heartbreaking.
Will a public conversation help Tysford's Laestadian leaders reconsider their role in interviewing victims and reporting crimes?
Will the Stanford case help us consider how we ourselves contribute to rape culture?
Or will we shrug and say "it happens everywhere."
That sexual abuse is universal does not mean it is insoluble. That we are not abusers ourselves does not absolve us of a responsibility to prevent abuse.
We can take a clue from the two Swedish bicyclists, Peter and Carl-Fredrik, on the Stanford campus that day. They did not look the other way, they questioned what was going on, they prevented the attacker from escaping, they did not accept his explanation, they did not suggest he consult a spiritual authority. They didn't debate among themselves whether it was legal to force oneself on someone else. They called the police.