Neu! Post-Truth Poetics DAY SEVENTEEN – Arwen Webb

Let’s Make Misogyny Great Again

On 18th January 2015, a Stanford college student sexually assaulted an unconscious 22-year-old woman. Although he was convicted of rape, he pleaded not guilty and the two rape charges were dropped. His convictions for sexual assault could have carried a fourteen-year prison sentence yet the judge sentenced him to six-months confinement – which he served three-months – and three years’ probation.
Below are some of the questions the victim was asked during the trial, and other questions I found from defenders of rape.*

How old are you? How much do you weigh? What did you eat today?
What did you have for dinner? Who made it? Did you drink? Not even water?
When did you drink? How much did you drink? What container did you drink out of?

Who gave you the drink? How much do you usually drink? Did you drink in college?

You said you were a party animal.

Did you party at the college? Why were you going to this party in the first place?
Did you go out alone? Who dropped you off? At what time? Exactly. Where?

What did you do when you got there? Are you sure you did that? How can you be sure?

What time did you do that? Exactly.

What does this text mean? Who were you texting? Was your phone on silent when your sister called?
Do you remember silencing it?

Because on page 53 I’d like to point out that you said it was set to ring.

When did you urinate? Where did you urinate? With whom did you urinate outside?
How many times did you black out? Do you remember what time you woke up?

What were you wearing?
Were you wearing your cardigan?
What color was your cardigan?
Do you remember any more from that night?


Are you serious with your boyfriend? I mean, are you sexually active with him?
When did you start dating? Would you ever cheat? Do you have a history of cheating?
What do you mean when you said you wanted to reward him?
Was this just a date that got carried away?

Did you try to get away?
Did you try to close your legs?
Did you close your legs firmly?
Did you close all your female organs?


*The title is my own yet the main body of text has been taken verbatim from the victim’s statement, and also police officers views on rape not related to this case and closing statements made from other judges in rape trials.


Arwen Webb lives in Richmond, North Yorkshire where she regularly performs her poetry. Her poems have appeared in the New Boots blog and The Morning Star among other publications. She teaches Sociology at a sixth form college.


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