Letter to the editor: Fix the system
To the editor:
I am writing in support of the students who protested authorities’ not doing enough to hold male students accountable for sexually assaulting their female classmates, and the Olympic gymnasts who told how authorities had covered up their team doctor’s sexual abuse.
I hope their concerns will expand to include the women at Topeka Correctional Facility who killed the men they accused of raping them. Their stories, too, have been covered up.
My daughter, Sarah Gonzales-McLinn, in 2014 killed the Lawrence man she says abused her; she was 19, he was 52. A jury found her guilty of first-degree murder; the Kansas Supreme Court upheld her Hard 50 sentence. The sentence was later reduced to Hard 25-to-life in exchange for her forfeiting her right to further appeals.
Should my daughter spend another 18 years in prison for killing the man she says was raping her two to three times a week for almost a year? I think not.
Did the “system” get to the bottom of what was going on behind closed doors between my daughter and that man? It did not.
Did the Kansas Supreme Court’s 66-page ruling include the word “rape”? It did not.
At the women’s prison, my daughter’s story is not unique. The systems that are slow to investigate sexual assault and cover up a doctor’s pedophilia are the same as those that dismiss the inmates’ experiences with the centuries-old disclaimer: “If it was so bad, she would have left.”
Is that acceptable? It is not.