Yesterday, Melissa Harris-Perry and her team – including friends of the show producer Jamil Smith and MSNBC reporter Irin Carmon – did something remarkable. They had an honest, heartfelt, wrenching conversation about sexual violence, and about surviving sexual violence, that wasn’t sensationalized, but that fully conveyed the pain, outrage, and fear that so many survivors and their loved ones feel.
Courtney Andrews was raped three times by the same man. Earlier this month, an Alabama judge ruled that her rapist would serve no jail time, and sentenced him to just two years in a community correctional facility, and three years of probation. For raping a child. Repeatedly. The ruling has, understandably, sparked outrage.
There aren’t a lot of people who could have handled interviewing Andrews and her aunt with the compassion that Harris-Perry, who is herself a survivor of rape, displays in this segment. This is one of the conversations we need to be having about sexual violence – about the myth of the perfect victim and about the incredibly light punishments, institutional and otherwise, that we hand out for inflicting that violence, and about the remarkable courage of the people who come forward and say, in public, “this happened to me.”
Chloe Angyal came out of the womb opinionated.