“Has anyone else noticed that it has only been men commenting on the merits and intentions of Sabrina Brennan’s actions (Review editorial, June 5, and resulting online comments)? That only men are making accusations and assumptions of what happened to the survivor of the assault? Men who are judging whether the assault was mere misunderstanding, just an unwanted advance or more serious? Men judging the actions of the woman who spoke out against the assault and the actions of the woman assaulted? Where are the women’s voices?

“Maybe we have remained silent because we know the feeling of the unwanted advances, unwanted grabs and gropes and worse. Maybe we have remained silent because we know how society will judge us and diminish the actions of the attacker. With that one unwanted kiss comes fear of what might follow, comes a sense of such profound humiliation, powerlessness and helplessness. Men, do you not understand yet that what may seem to you as just exuberant maleness can be a lot more to the woman/man/child it is directed at? So, please, as a woman who has been on the receiving end of such unwanted advances, I am asking all of you to please stop. Stop judging, stop trying to defend or destroy the people involved. Your words may be making it harder for a victim of assault to come forward if this is what she/he/they can expect from the public. The victim just might be your daughter, wife, son or husband.”

— Mary Larenas

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