Letter – Don’t blame the victim

Published 5:47 pm Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

As the mother of a young daughter, I’d like to address the disturbing letter titled “How to tell a man ‘no.’ ” (Jan. 10). 

The author starts out by saying that she is 80 years old, and that one day in her past, a man called her “tough,” which somehow, to her, meant attractive? That’s not what “tough” means, but I digress. She goes on to compare her own personal experience of having plenty of unwanted attention over the years to Wayne Hall, a former Smithfield town councilman’s recent arrest and subsequent resignation for allegedly groping a victim. 

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I can’t believe someone would compare unwanted attention and flattery to assault, but that’s the world we’re living in today. Ms. Kessler provides a key list of phrases with the word “no” for victims to tell their assailants during the process of being assaulted. Have you tried kicking them yet? Yes, and it still didn’t work? OK, well, then and only then is the right time to tell the police. 

I didn’t realize there was another person in the room during the assault and that person was Ms. Kessler! She continues to state that she can hold her own and that she’s a God-fearing woman on the straight and narrow path to heaven. She says life is so much better under God’s love and protection. Sorry, victim. That love and protection doesn’t apply to you, apparently. 

Ladies, please know that her letter is an utter disgrace and that you have every right to tell the police when you are assaulted. Women have been victim blamed by society and religion for too long. It’s past time to stand up and hold assailants accountable. Place the blame where it belongs.


Caitlin McNiece