Illustration: Melissa Martin

Julia Marquand’s story was unavoidable in October: The 28-year-old Seattle woman was groped downtown, took a picture of the man who did it, and then, when the police didn’t want the photo, tweeted about it until SPD assigned the case to a detective. (Her alleged assailant, who was eventually arrested, is a repeat sex offender.) 

The media’s coverage was so intense and so widespread that it was easy to get burned out. But if you think it’s exhausting hearing about sexual assault, imagine how much more exhausting it is to live in constant fear of it. 

There’s a line that a lot of women I know use: “Here comes the rape,” shorthand for the feeling that we not only fear sexual assault, but we anticipate it. Which isn’t that surprising when you consider that close to one in five women will be sexually assaulted in her life. What’s scarier: Fear and shame prevent 60 percent of those women from reporting anything. Even Marquand was “mentally kicking” herself at the time for “not making more of a scene.”

But Marquand did the hard thing: She said something. And she got attention for doing it. And she inspired other women to come forward with their own stories of assault by the same man. So maybe you’re tired of it, but she proved that being tired of hearing about sexual assault is the worst reason to stop talking about it.

 

This article appeared in the December 2014 issue of Seattle Met magazine.

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