There has been much outrage and anguish given our current political and social climate, but we should spare attention for this groping case. The groping trial and, we hope, Swift’s personal trial have ended, but now what?
If you followed the Taylor Swift groping trial closely, you would have known that on Aug. 11, a judge threw out the former DJ David Mueller’s case against Swift, claiming that the singer’s groping accusation in 2013 led to his firing and tarnished career. The judge stated that the DJ could not prove that Swift was responsible for his firing. The jury sided in favor of Swift’s assault and battery countersuit for a symbolic one dollar – a stark contrast to the DJ’s $3 million suit.
Swift, after spending years explaining how a man shoved his hand up her skirt and grabbed her rear-end, used the symbolic one dollar as a statement that no kind of sexual assault should ever happen.
As a society, we are rethinking sexual assault and rape as the vile and volatile violation of human rights that it has always been. The 2015 documentary “The Hunting Ground” highlighted the national issue of rape and sexual assault on college campuses. Victims’ voices are silenced for the sake of protecting brands.
Baylor University has been synonymous with ‘sexual assault scandal’ in the media for recent years. The “It’s on Us” initiative at Baylor combats interpersonal violence and their past issues of failing to bring justice to sexual assault victims.
There have been many sexual assault cases that have championed significant media attention for the sheer horror of the crime. But Swift’s groping case is mild in comparison to the victims of human trafficking and rape that slip through the justice system. We are forced to remember the Brock Turner rape case.
The former Stanford swimmer raped an unconscious woman on Stanford’s campus in January 2015. Despite the scalding 12-page letter from the victim and prosecutors pushing for six years, Turner was sentenced to six months in prison, but was released after serving only three months.
The word ‘privilege’ comes to mind when we think of how Swift won her case. Swift is privileged to be a white woman in America, a popular, international singer and beyond financially stable. If Swift was a woman of ethnicity, of lower socioeconomic status or not as well known, the case could have gone in a different direction. Swift acknowledged her privilege in a statement.
“I acknowledge the privilege that I benefit from in life, in society and in my ability to shoulder the enormous cost of defending myself in a trial like this,” Swift said. “My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard. Therefore, I will be making donations in the near future to multiple organizations that help sexual assault victims defend themselves.”
We may not have the capital to donate money to sexual assault victims, but we can transform the way we think about sexual assault and rape.
We cannot allow thoughts of indifference or misdirected blame take control of how we see sexual assault, speak about sexual assault and react to sexual assault crimes. Taylor Swift was groped—a jury decided that. Swift was dragged into court and forced to defend herself on the stand after that DJ was fired from his job.
We cannot allow anyone to make sexual assault a norm, not even current President Donald Trump who bragged with vulgarity in a 2005 recording about kissing and grabbing women’s private parts because he is a “star.”
Swift has recently wiped all posts from her Instagram account for the announcement of her new album “Reputation” coming Nov. 10. She also announced a single that was released Thursday, “Look What You Made Me Do.” The album could recount Swift’s trial experience or speak to women living through experiences of assault. There is much to be revealed, and Swift may want to keep it that way.