"I write to you in order to put onto paper the gravity of what you did." This is the gist of the letter Sara Roebuck posted to Medium last week, although she doesn't know when her intended recipient will ever read it. It's meant for the man she says tried to rape her a year ago, and she wrote it right after spending an afternoon in the courtroom with him. "Your eyes were black and you looked straight into my soul," she writes, describing the day of the assault. She scoffs at the suspect's attempts in court to claim he didn't speak English and therefore didn't understand when she yelled "no," "stop," and "help"—she notes she said those words in French (his language) as she tried to fight him off. She refutes other details of his "pathetic account," too, from the torturous amount of time that passed during the attack to his elaboration on the physical contact they had.
He said at one point he touched her just "one or two times" and stopped when he realized she had on a tampon, but Roebuck squashes that defense. "Everyone in that room knew that it is not true," she writes. "Because it was not you that decided to stop. It was me who fought back." She details the excruciating aftermath, her rights as a human being, and her need to speak "for every woman in the world who has suffered at the hands of men like you." She lists the different situations women often find themselves in, "every woman who has been groped, harassed, attacked, raped, filmed, photographed, followed, touched against her consent, suffered verbal vulgarities, obscene regards, disgusting gestures"—all "within a society that allows it." "I hope you are empowered," she tells those who've had similar experiences. "Because I did this for you. … My life has not been destroyed, and yours has not either." (Read her powerful piece at Medium.)