DA Williams, Don't Let Alcohol Be A Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free Card for Sexual Violence

District Attorney Seth Williams

District Attorney Williams,

Around 2:30 am, July 27th, 2016, during the Democratic National Convention, a fellow Pennsylvania delegate to the DNC committed an act of sexual violence against me in a crowded bar. He thrust his face into my chest and forced his tongue just above my nipple. I yelled and pushed him away. I was humiliated; I went to my room and cried. When I pulled myself together enough to speak, I came back down to the lobby to report what happened to other members of my delegation.

Later that morning, I reported what happened to the police.

Since then, I have answered every question the police have asked. I've spent 90 minutes locked in the back of a squad car without air conditioning in order to get to SVU to give my statement. I've supplied the name and contact information of my attacker, and those of witnesses. I have done everything in my power to be a "good" victim and get justice. This past Friday, however, the detective on my case told me that your office had declined to prosecute my case.

Today I spoke with representatives at your office to ask why you weren't prosecuting. I was told that although "it was clear" that I had not given consent, one of the main reasons your office had decided not to prosecute was because my attacker had been drinking to excess. I was told that your office believed that because he was drunk, prosecutors might not be able to "prove beyond a reasonable doubt" to a jury that "he knew [I] hadn't given consent."

District Attorney Williams, this is unacceptable. Alcohol cannot be a get-out-of jail-free card for sexual assault. No prosecutor would let someone get away with speeding because he was too drunk to notice the speed limit; the idea that consent should be handled any differently is ludicrous.

The undersigned and I call on you to apologize for your office's choice to use alcohol consumption by a perpetrator as a factor in deciding whether or not to prosecute cases of sexual violence, and we demand that you prosecute my case to the full extent of the law.

Petition by
Gwen Snyder
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania
Sponsored by
Logo_header_dark
Philadelphia, PA

To: District Attorney Seth Williams
From: [Your Name]

Sexual violence is illegal and wrong, no matter how drunk the perpetrator is. Don't let alcohol be a get-out-of-jail-free card; prosecute the DNC assault case to the full extent of the law.