We don’t lie

Charlotte Abramson, Opinions Editor

Trigger warning: Contains references to sexual assault


I am so unbelievably angry with the recent news of the David Jubb conviction that it has taken me a few weeks to be able to write this piece. Few people speak about the anger survivors deal with, the pure rage that explodes randomly, or the suffocating anxiety that drags us back in the recesses of our memories where we scream and claw furrows in our skin. 

I wasn’t enrolled at Linfield when Jubb committed his assaults, and my heart breaks for the survivors who deserve justice they now will not receive. I had hoped a judge would see Jubb for the monster he is, but he’s an old white man who likes to drink and according to our justice system, assault is an acceptable side effect. 

Jubb pleaded no contest, he admitted no guilt, and most of the charges were dismissed. 

Alcohol is too often accepted as a valid reason in our society for putting one’s hands on another human being. It’s one of the biggest go-to excuses for perpetrators of assault. For those of you who ask why survivors don’t report, this is why. 

Probation does not fix the damage he did when he laid his hands on Linfield students. 

Community service doesn’t change the fact that he deliberately made the decision to assert his power as a man and forever alter their lives. Eighty hours of community service? Just over three full days of what, picking up trash? Shame on that judge. There aren’t enough empty Pringle cans to fix what Jubb did. 

I know it’s a different world from the one most people exist in, a world no one wants to admit exists or desires to be a part of. A world that mothers desperately try to shield their daughter’s from, where short skirts, cleavage and red Solo cups become the guise of potential pain and a perpetrator’s salvation. 

Maybe it’s not fair to ask you, reader, to try and understand. Anyone who has been affected by sexual assault knows they wouldn’t wish it on their worst enemy. The simple fact is you don’t know until it happens to you. Your imagination doesn’t even come close. 

But I’m going to ask you to imagine anyway. Imagine someone you trust, or perhaps someone you’re supposed to be able to trust puts their hands on you. 

A violation of trust and safety might be the first thing you feel, whether it’s a physical, emotional or psychological reaction. Maybe you scream, maybe you can’t. You’ll probably want to. 

Afterwards, you might be numb. You might still be numb, and that’s okay. It’s your mind’s way of protecting itself. Your innate sense of trust and safety has been violated. Someone stole something that wasn’t theirs, touched something they weren’t given permission to. 

Does it make your skin crawl? Are you uncomfortable? Are you angry? I hope so. My aim isn’t to upset you. I’m just trying to help you understand. 

Don’t worry though, it’s not your fault. Although society will tell you it is. People will ask if you were drinking, what you were wearing, if you smiled, if you asked for it. Did you say yes and then change your mind and say no? That is your right, although you will be told it’s not. 

A non-violent assault is still an assault. A drunk yes is not a yes. A drunk no is not a yes. But if you were drinking, none of that supposedly matters because you might have said yes. If they were drinking, it means they obviously aren’t at fault–they were drunk.

But wait, that doesn’t sound right. Most people who drink can stay in control, and those who know they can’t, usually refrain from reaching that point. However, as the recent Jubb scandal has proven, alcohol is an assaulter’s way to freedom in our justice system, or lack thereof. 

Some of you may think we’re done at this point but no, no wait, there’s more. You have to learn how to cope with your new reality. Post-traumatic stress is very real and very ostracizing. Hypersensitivity, hyperawareness, nightmares, anxiety, depression, triggers, flashbacks–the list goes on and on. Welcome to your world now. 

Your friends and family will probably believe you, your professors might too. The police? That’s a gamble, although my heart wishes I could tell you otherwise. Victim-blaming in law enforcement is very real. 

It took me over two years before I was able to walk past a certain looking type of man in a grocery store without wanting to curl up in a terrified, shaking ball of tears and silent hysteria. Three before the nightmares stopped–I used to wake up screaming, crying and throwing up until my throat bled. 

I have friends that still can’t handle being touched, and might not ever again. I have friends that woke up in an unfamiliar bed, next to a man they knew they’d never have slept with, but with no memory of what occurred the night before.

I know women who were brutally assaulted to the point where they can’t function physically or emotionally anymore. I know women who refuse to admit they were assaulted because they weren’t physically harmed and there’s always someone who has had it worse. 

This is what the aftermath of assault is like. It’s isolating, terrifying and violent. It’s full of fear, self-hatred and self-blame. It becomes more difficult to cope when fellow survivors are denied the justice they deserve.

I know I’m not the only one who is upset about this result. To Jubb’s victims, I am incredibly sorry. You have my full support. To those of you who also know what this feels like, I’m sorry. No matter where you are in your healing process, even if you’ve just begun, you can do this. I promise, it does get better.

To those of you who don’t have this experience, your voice is needed. Advocate for survivors, take a stand, put your foot down and demand change. You are the only way we can change this world. 

Instead of laughing at rape jokes, stop them in their tracks. Instead of immediately questioning whether or not someone was drunk enough to be considered a victim, ask what kind of person takes advantage of someone in that condition. Instead of only considering it someone else’s problem, consider it yours too. 

This isn’t an attack on all men. Most men aren’t rapists. Most men won’t lay their hands on a woman without consent. But it’s the few that do that make us women wary and cross the street when walking at night, that prevent us from setting our drink down for fear of getting drugged, and that make sure we go somewhere in pairs because a lone woman is a target. 

It’s the unwavering knowledge that monsters exist within kind faces. It cements these precautionary actions we take in our everyday lives, playing on a loop in our head every time we walk out the door.

As we begin to graduate and think about our lives beyond school, my friends have begun talking about having families, and I’ve realized I’m scared to bring a daughter into this world. I would want to teach her to be wild and fearless, to stand up for what she believes in and fight the injustice we see in the world on a daily basis. But the cold reality of the world right now is that she wouldn’t be safe. 

What if she smiled at the wrong man? 

What if you do?



If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual misconduct, harassment or assault, please reach out to someone for help. You are not alone.

RAINN resources

Hotline: 800-656-4673

Linfield University’s Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence Support Team

Susan Hopp-Title IX Coordinator 


[email protected]

Confidential Campus Advocate 


 [email protected]

 Student Health, Wellness & Counseling 


 [email protected]

 University Chaplain 


 [email protected]