I am responding to Mara Evans’ letter (Back Talk, June 7), in which she perpetuates the cycle of blaming the victim of the alleged Duke rape. Evans’ letter is a perfect example of why many women fail to report their rapes: They fear people will ultimately blame them for their own victimization. From the beginning of this fiasco, this victim’s story has been under the microscope. Her family, reputation, and all aspects of her personal, private life have been a matter of public scrutiny. She has nothing to be ashamed about. She did nothing wrong. She’s the victim. She went to a party, for which she had been hired, and was brutally assaulted.

Does Evans, an avowed feminist, believe that sex workers are not entitled to safety and bodily protection due to the nature of their jobs? Does she believe that sex workers are as deserving of respect and dignity as any other working individual? The “behavior” at which Evans wags her puritanical finger was not what “caused” this rape to occur. What caused this rape were a group of men who have no respect for women, no respect for the word “no,” and no respect for those outside their racial or economic bracket.

I, too, am a politically progressive feminist and I am dedicated to ending sexual violence. We cannot continue to place the blame with victims. We must place the blame squarely where it belongs: with the people who perpetrate these violent, disgusting crimes–and only them.

While many may not approve of this woman’s job, the fact remains that no one is responsible for their own rape; no matter what their profession, what area of town they were in, what they were wearing or whether or not they were alone. Distrust any “feminist” who tells you otherwise.

Courtney Barbour