Rapist sentenced to do community service at a rape crisis center

dallas county rape crisis center

Seriously? Who actually thought that would be a good idea? Well, apparently Dallas County District Judge Jeanine Howard did:

A Texas judge who ordered a rapist to serve community service at a rape crisis center has been forced to reconsider the sentence.

[...] According to The Dallas Observer, Young could have served 20 years in jail, but Dallas County District Judge Jeanine Howard showed him leniency during last week’s sentencing.

Howard ruled that Young would only have to spend 45 days in jail, but it was the “250 hours of community service at a rape crisis center” that shocked victim advocates.

“I’m sure she probably thought that it was his way of giving back perhaps,” Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center Executive Director Bobbie Villareal told WFAA. “But it’s just not an appropriate place for him to do his community supervision,”

“There’s just so many problems with that,” she pointed out. “First of all, we would worry about our client safety and well-being, the appropriateness of them having any kind of contact with survivors — even if it was a past victimization. Just having a criminal defendant in the office could be a triggering effect for many of our clients.”

Look, in theory, I’m in favor of a justice system that offers some hope of rehabilitation, and being forced to face and understand the effect of your actions on others seems far more likely to be transformative than being locked up in jail for a long time (or, ya know, not that long, as the case may be — sadly, the short jail time is so typical, it’s hardly even newsworthy.)

But you know who shouldn’t be asked to play teacher in a rapist’s potential learning experience? Unsuspecting survivors who never signed up for the job. Ever, but especially when they are currently in crisis and seeking a safe space to do their own healing. For fuck’s sake.

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

Atlanta, GA

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. Maya has previously worked at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health and was a fellow at Mother Jones magazine. She graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she currently lives, writes, edits, and bakes bread in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

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