The 21st century has seen a lot of growth and evolution when it comes to societal norms, everyday trends, and new controversies. In the last decade, popular technology and social media platforms that we have access to have exploited topics such as rape and sexual assault, female stereotypes, and the toxicity that is evident in our way of life. This awareness has sparked debates all around the world regarding our government system’s decisions as well as the media outlets unnecessary humanization of criminals. It is obvious that both are falling behind society’s expectations.
Rape and sexual assault is becoming a common news story in today’s media as 1 in 5 women will face this terror in their life. Workplaces and college campuses are hotspots for these crimes, as the superiority that men have over women is supported. Some of these cases are never reported or taken to trial, and that is because the fear women have due to stories like that of Donna Doe and Jacob Walter.
A news story went viral last week as former Baylor student, Jacob Walter Anderson, was given his plea agreement after being accused of raping a woman outside of a 2016 fraternity party. Determined by Judge Strothers, a Baylor University alumni, the charge of ‘unlawful restraint’ allows Anderson to avoid jail time as well as being listed as a sex offender. His only punishment was 3 years of probation and a $400 fine.
This report sparked outrage as the sentence was beyond the bare minimum of a rapist, specifically one who nearly killed his victim. The apparent lack of conscious by the court is a prime example of the hypocritical and unfair justice system instilled in America. It was reported by CNN that the victim, known by the anonymous name “Donna Doe”, had plenty of evidence to convict Anderson, both medical proof and suspicions of other circumstances. Her letter to Judge Strothers explained the multiple plea deals that were denied, before revealing that Prosecutor Hilary Laborde came to the decision not to pursue charges. An email sent to the victim stated, “Our jurors aren’t ready to blame rapists when their isn’t concrete proof of more than one victim.” But why does it take multiple people going through this trauma to punish someone for their felony’s? The evidence was strong enough to pursue charges on Anderson, but Judge Strothers and Hilary Laborde’s bias lead to this unlawful justice, a circumstance that should have never occured in modern day America.
Under another circumstance of rape and sexual assault, the media’s reporting caught the brunt of the hatred. After being being arrested and charged with 3 felonies, news station WCPO tweeted, “Boone County deputies say Jake Walter, a one-time Covington Catholic basketball standout, held a woman down this weekend and repeatedly raped her until she bled.” This description infuriated many Twitter users, as multiple news networks were referencing Walter’s high school basketball career, when in reality he is a rapist and criminal. While WCPO claimed that the add in was to help people know why the name may sound familiar, readers were not happy with the humanization aspect of the report.
These are only two small examples of the unfair and bias in our government and media. While both have brought many positive contributions to our society, circumstances like these prove that certain areas of these field are still many steps behind today’s norm. To show your support to these unjust treatments, click the link below to sign the petition in support of Donna Doe, as well as visiting @WCPO on Twitter in order to share your thoughts on their coverage of a rapist.