John P. Enochs, a former student at Indiana University, just used his youth and Caucasian looks to evade two charges of rape, both perpetrated against severely intoxicated and possibly drugged women. When it appeared that prosecutors could not secure felony rape charges due to the inability of his victims to recall the events of the night, they pursued a felony charge of battery with moderate bodily injury on the basis of medically demonstrable genital injuries suffered by a victim. However, when Enochs accepted a plea deal, the judge reduced his charges to misdemeanors and let him walk free after a single night in jail, with one year of probation. We are left with yet another story of a young, privileged, white man callously committing atrocious acts of violence against women and getting away with it.
On April 11, 2015, a woman reported to the police that she had been at a party where she found herself in a room with an unknown man who had sex with her, despite repeated protestations; not only was she too intoxicated to give consent, she was actively pleading with her rapist to stop and desperately trying to push him away. She went to the hospital where a nurse noted that she had a laceration on her genitals. Signs of violence on a purported victim’s genitals are used by forensic pathologists as evidence to support charges of rape [link contains graphic images].
Since then, DNA evidence has conclusively proven that the woman and Enochs had sex, and video evidence has established that Enochs followed her into a room at the party and then shut the door. No one else entered the room during the duration of the assault, leaving the woman helpless as she was brutally assaulted to the point of injury.
A second woman has come forward to press charges against Enochs for raping her while she was unconscious, which her sorority sisters told her about after the fact. She suffered from pelvic pain for several days after the incident which led her to seek treatment at a hospital. Fortunately neither woman has suffered long term physical injuries, but there is no denying the extreme damages from the emotional and psychological trauma that Enochs caused these women.
Survivors of sexual assault face serious psychological consequences, which are a direct extension of the harm the perpetrator commits against them. Survivors are at an increased risk for depression, PTSD, sleep disorders, eating disorders, dissociation, self harm, substance abuse, and suicide. We must see that the assaults Enochs committed go beyond a single night of terror for his victims and reach far into their futures, with repercussions that touch the most vital pieces of a woman’s identity, empowerment, and mental health.
Enochs, however, does not have to face the repercussions of his savage attacks thanks to an overly lenient judge who cared more about helping a young white man than ensuring the proper carriage of justice in his courtroom. The judge cited Enochs age as a reason for letting him plead guilty to a misdemeanor instead of a felony, despite clear evidence that his actions were more than misdemeanor offense. Pre-trial, Enochs only spent a single night in jail before using his financially privileged situation to immediately post his $20,000 bail.
Only three in a hundred rapists in America will ever see justice for their crimes – and it’s clear that the justice system is heavily biased against the survivors of these heinous assaults and designed to let white men walk free for their crimes. Enochs is yet another disgusting, barbaric young man, with no regard for the devastating consequences of his actions. Spread his shame, and spread the word of the massive miscarriages of justice that are inflicted on American women every day. Rape culture is very real, and unless we open our eyes and see each case like this as evidence of its reality, these crimes will continue to occur as often as they do – every two minutes, in fact.
What do you think?
Marisa completed her undergraduate degree in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin with a double major in creative writing and media studies. She is an advocate of progressive policies and focuses her interests on gender equality and preventing sexual and domestic violence.