A year ago, in Seattle, a man living in a city-funded homeless encampment raped a woman in the bathroom of a Volkswagen dealership in the city’s Ballard neighborhood. Christopher Teel had arrived from Texas as a transient and was evading multiple warrants, but the city-sanctioned encampment welcomed him without conducting a criminal-background check.The story caused a sensation, with wide media coverage and public demands for increased security measures, but the crime victim remained silent and her identity was kept secret. Nearly a year later, the victim, Lindsey, contacted me. After being raped, she had approached city leaders and met with the sitting councilman for nearly an hour but was received, she says, with dismissiveness. Teel’s crime against her did not fit the preferred narrative of compassion for the homeless, so the political class downplayed it. By the time Lindsey reached out to me, she was ready to speak out.Lindsey asked me to create a short documentary so that she could tell her story in her own words….* * *Then came the backlash. Progressive activists launched a counterattack against Lindsey on social media. Local journalist Erica Barnett claimed that the story drew attention because Lindsey is an “attractive blonde woman” and dismissed the victim’s “many tears” as theatrics serving a false narrative that the homeless represent a danger to the community. She demanded that the media temper its reporting and be mindful that “graphic descriptions of violent rape may be triggering for survivors.” Barnett’s message was amplified on left-wing Twitter; Councilwoman Lorena Gonzalez claimed that Lindsey’s story would create fear and cause harm to communities “that may already be triggered.”
At one time, it was common to attack victims of sexual assault with comments like “she was asking for it.” We’ve come a long way since then. Or have we?
It depends in part on whether the true story of the crime fits the narrative that influential people want told.
Christopher Rufo has this article in the City Journal, titled The Wrong Narrative: Seattle elites show little sympathy for a woman raped by a homeless man.