The Value of Six

Leonard Pitts, columnist for the Miami Herald, has written a sobering column this morning entitled “Trust me, you know someone who has been raped.”

“The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network says that one woman in every six has been the victim of an attempted or completed sexual assault. It’s an awesome, awful number. Think about it in terms of women you know. Think about Bonnie, Kadijah, Heather, Consuela, Sarah and Kim. One, two, three, four, five …


Maybe she’s never told you, so maybe you think it didn’t — couldn’t — have happened, not to one of your six. But the numbers are what the numbers are. Maryum, Stephanie, Yumiko, Keshia, Laurie … and Pam. One, two, three, four, five …

And six.

It’s not a big number. You were counting past it in kindergarten.”

Of course he’s right.  We all know someone who has been the victim of sexual assault. And we all know people – from work, social circles, extended family, really anywhere – who have been raped and never talk about it.

Pitts begins his column writing about the case of Brock Turner, the Stanford University swimmer who sexually assaulted an unconscious woman, had his father plead for leniency in court because he didn’t want a steep penalty for “20 minutes of action,” and a judge – Aaron Persky – who granted that leniency in giving him six.  Months.  The final six from the column:  according to RAINN, only six in a thousand sexual perpetrators end up in jail.

“If you are a woman, or a man who cares about women, you ought to seethe, and then you ought to do whatever you can to fix a culture that makes possible a Brock Turner — and an Aaron Persky.

Because, either way you look at it, the value of six is small — too small for safety, too small for solace.

And way too small for justice.”

More to come…


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