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Publisher and Editor - Judith Martin-Straw

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Just a Thought – Dear Ari Noonan

005-Gone-with-the-Wind-1939-Scarlett-Will-Never-Be-Hungry-AgainSo, now you’re sorry? Now you’re sorry?
I can’t help but notice there’s a lovely slice of Culver City history that fits perfectly. A short bit of dialogue from Gone With the Wind -“You’re like the thief who isn’t the least bit sorry he stole, but is terribly, terribly sorry he’s going to jail.”

For those who missed the last few episodes of this particular soap opera, Ari Noonan’s blog, TheFrontPageOnline, which ostensibly covers local news, ran a post deriding the Brock Turner rape case, calling the woman who was attacked some pretty terrible things. The community has reacted with phone calls to his advertisers offering boycotts, and comments at both the city council and the school board meetings asking elected officials to forgo communicating with him.

So, to Ari – I know you ‘re sorry to lose your advertisers. I’m certain you are sorry that people have realized your hate speech isn’t a hiccup, it’s a habit. And I’ll bet you are very sorry to lose all those contacts in the political community, the men who care about their wives, their mothers, their sisters, and their daughters. Men who care about civility and respect.

It’s my practice to ignore your hateful commentary unless someone sends it to me, and insists it’s important that I read your painfully bad prose. And lots of people thought I should know about this one. You want to express your contempt for rape victims? What’s next, sneering at orphans? Spitting on cancer patients?

The official statistics on rape say one out of four women. A friend of mine noted the other day that in a group of four women, they were four out of four.  These are all the crimes that go unreported, because we won’t be believed, or we can’t prove it beyond a doubt or we just don’t want to raped again by a legal system that puts women through a second hell if and when they dare to ask for justice.

The role model you poured your contempt over? She’s my hero.

I am a rape survivor.

No, in fact, I wasn’t drinking, wasn’t using drugs, wasn’t wearing anything particularly girly (and I only add this only for those people who think those factors have anything to do with rape; they don’t) Someone I thought I knew well disagreed with a decision I had made. We might have argued about it, but instead, he decided to rape me for 5 or 6 hours, torture me, beat me into unconsciousness, and then, just for sport, force me to walk several miles. I ended up in a state of profound shock, and I still have only fragmented memories of the following weeks.

I wasn’t lucky enough to have someone rescue me, or call the cops, or wake up in a hospital. But I don’t say that to take anything away from the survivor of Brock Turner’s attack. My hero, she had the guts to write a letter, to get it out to the media, and be clear and clean and honest about her trauma and her pain.

Alice Sebold wrote a book called “Lucky.” It’s the true story of her rape.  When she reported the crime to the police, she was told this was a serial rapist who usually murdered his victims, so all in all, she was lucky. Lucky, she observed, is not what it feels like.

I know trauma survivors who flinch at the sound of helicopters, and others for whom the sound of glass shattering or tires squealing means breaking into a sudden sweat. We live in a world where many of us fight with our traumas daily. Winning is not assured.

Long before I was raped, I connected with the philosophy of Viktor Frankl. In short, it’s never about the hand you are dealt. It is always about how you choose to play that hand. He created this philosophy during the time he spent at Auschwitz. You might want to read his work.

My rapist? Yes, he was sorry too. He was always a very religious person, and for almost a decade he would make a ritual of sending a letter of apology, written on the official day of atonement. Never saying what he was sorry for, or why, just that he was very sorry.

Apologies are a bankrupt currency.

Mocking a woman for suffering is heartless.

You are sorry?  Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.

Editor’s Note – If reading this letter moves you, please pay it forward. There are thousands of organizations that help rape survivors both domestically and internationally. Donations are always needed, and women are raped in every country on this planet every day. Educate the men and boys in your life that there is never any justification for rape. 

 

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12 Responses to “Just a Thought – Dear Ari Noonan”

  1. Amy Brunell says:

    It took me awhile to find the op-ed piece by Mr. Noonan. He’s removed it and I found it somewhere else, since I hadn’t read it yet. Perhaps you should also post a link for others to read it as well? Why should he be able to remove the post as if he didn’t post it? He did. And therefore…

    Ugliness in America will get worse not better.

    Thanks for writing such a vulnerable beautiful post.

  2. Shelly blaisdell says:

    Hey Ari, I know you are reading this. How does it feel to say all those things to someone who you know? Could you look Judith in the face, you black and blue one, and say all those same things you wrote? You’d be surprised at how many women’s faces you look into every day here in Culver City who are “stupid sluts” whom you think deserve to be injured. I wonder what it would be like if we all introduced ourselves to him like Judith has done here. Say . . . When he’s surrounded by people at the coffee shop or council meetings, not protected behind is computer. We weren’t protected. Why should he get to be?

    Judith, thanks for saying the words that represent something that can never be accurately described. All I can say is I am so sorry for the injuries you sustained . . The physical ones and the spiritual ones. And I’m sorry for the continual injury inflicted by people like ari who have such tiny reptilian brains they can only screech and jab their broken little beaks into any thing they think they can eat. But happily for us, these people, like the dinosaurs, are dying out.

  3. Crystal C. Alexander says:

    It take courage to draft an article like this, Judith. Thank you for finding the strength to do so.

    There is a reason why the sisterhood has your back on this one. It’s that old but true phrase, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

  4. Marina Tidwell says:

    Thank you, Judith.

  5. Suzy Mesmer says:

    Dear Judith,
    Thank You for your words and your work.
    I hope that this piece can be republished
    soon, in national and international publications.

  6. Jeannine Wisnosky Stehlin says:

    Thank you, Judith, and thank you for having the courage to tell your story. Thank you.

  7. Laura Stuart says:

    Your article brought me to tears. I had an email conversation the other day with the similar results. Culver City ladies can’t be the unusual statistic, but in fact are the real statistics. Three out of the 4 I was speaking with never reported their assaults to the Police because of the shaming and chaos society heaps on survivors. Yet, we are mothers, wives, executives, workers and volunteers, and we keep going no matter the rage and ignorance faced every day. There is no apology that rights the wrongs against any woman who has been abused.

  8. Katherine Paspalis says:

    All I can say is thank you for writing that. I hope you heard my comments at the Board meeting last night regarding this.

  9. Judy Scott says:

    Thank you brave and powerful woman, thank you Judith!

  10. Susy Porter says:

    Thank you Judith, for giving words to the feelings and reality that women experience. Thank you for your openness and vulnerability. Thank you also for giving Ari Noonan the truth he needed to hear.

  11. Liz says:

    Judith,
    I second all of the comments made thus far.
    THANK YOU for your courage and eloquence.

  12. Timothy McDonald says:

    1. Ari make a huge mistake by implying that the victim shared guilt.
    2. Ari is a real man to apologize for his mistakes (maybe Trump should take a leaf out of his book)
    3. He has a point that would have been better taken if written as tip of the day:
    “Tip of the day: Bad things happen at college parties with lots of alcohol. Protect yourself: Teach your kids to stay away from bars where thugs hang out and not to drink to the point that they lose control”

    She was 100% victim and he was 100% predator, but she was also 100% stupid for hanging out in the wrong places with the wrong people.

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