Dear Associated Press

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“March 8th, 2012

Ms. Sally Buzbee

1100 13th St NW, Suite 700

Washington, DC 20005-4076

Dear Ms. Buzbee,

Last week, my life was in the headlines of news sources across the country.  No, my name was technically never printed but plenty of identifiers and intimate details were presented for the public to scrutinize.

I am Sandi Giver and I was the victim in the articles covering “Navy Sailor Acquitted of all Charges in Rape Case against Peace Corps Volunteer”.

I am not new to the reality of injustice.  Rape has no boundaries on location, perpetrator, or whom the violating act preys upon.  For years I have worked in the states as well as overseas with women who have lived through atrocities.  The last two years in Uganda were spent working with formerly abducted by the LRA, sex slaves, child mothers, former child soldiers, orphans and vulnerable children.  I have dedicated my life to serving others while progressing towards positive change.

I have advocated on behalf of others and now I am advocating for myself.

Please help me.

I am requesting that the following pages be published with Associated Press in an effort to provide some context to this case and to address a number of misleading statements that appeared in most of these articles.  I believe our society needs to become aware of the reality of what victims of rape and sexual assault live through with the legal justice system.

Thank you for your time and consideration.  I can be reached at 202.xxx.xxxx any time after 10am or through email for further discussion.

Sincerely,

Sandi Giver

https://latenighttraveler.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/navy-sailor-acquitted-of-all-charges-in-rape-case-against-peace-corps-volunteer-3/#comments

Cover page. 3 pages of response. Save. Print. Insert into envelope.

Holding my response to the Associate Press newspaper articles nationwide in my hand, I walked to their building here in DC.  When I reached the front desk, amazingly enough there was an AP employee about to go upstairs.

“What can I do for you?”

“I need to deliver this envelope to Ms. Buzbee.  Did you hear about the article last week about the Navy Sailor who was acquitted of all charges in a rape case against a Peace Corps Volunteer?”

“Yes,” said quietly.

“That was me.  I was that volunteer.  Could you please give this to Ms. Buzbee in response to the AP article?”

Sure, if you don’t hear back from us soon, here is my card to follow up.”

“Thank you!”

I left the Associated Press with high hopes on March 8th.

* * *

Only a few hours after I was re-victimized by the defense lawyer on stand, I read the first article written by Brock Vergakis, how it fed into societal myths and stereotypes of rape and sexual assault and read the comments from readers throughout the nation.

The few friends who I have confided in and who know the full expanse of my last 16 months weren’t able to finish the articles because they were so outraged.

Maybe I went that day in hopes that the public would see the truth and reality of that trial.  Maybe I hoped that Associated Press would release an article that didn’t glorify rape culture.

I kept in contact with the initial man who I met in the lobby.  When I told him how I hadn’t gotten a response, he said how he gave it to Sally and a fellow managing editor.  He also gave it to Brock.

I emailed Brock, no response.

I reached out to Sally.

“Hello Sandi,
I have passed the envelope along to the reporter at AP who covered the case _ Take care and all the best, Sally Buzbee”

I asked why she gave it to Brock and also how I could get a hold of his supervisor.  Nothing in Response.

Silence.

Associated Press may not be willing to write a follow up but I know there are others who are.

I believe that within our society there are individuals who believe in treating others with dignity and respect, who are passionate about bringing awareness to difficult issues.  Issues of adversity that are taking place on our own soil, in our own communities, and affect our families and loved ones.

There is a group of us in DC who are taking action.  We are brainstorming ways to move forward utilizing either my story or the issues surrounding it to bring about positive change.

I had hoped that Associated Press would use their known platform to bring about positive change, and they still could, but we are moving forward nonetheless.

If you are passionate about addressing issues surrounding rape and sexual assault, if you have a simple idea of action or a complex one that you can explain, if you know someone who can give wisdom and guidance, please leave a comment and your contact information.

For years, I have advocated on behalf of others.

Now, I am advocating for myself and all of my fellow survivors of rape and sexual assault.

Join us.

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4 thoughts on “Dear Associated Press

    • Thanks for your response Marta! After researching military defense lawyers websites and seeing what they pride themselves in getting their client acquitted of… and then the fact that 98% of rape and sexual assault cases in the military court system are acquitted and then there is the complication that I’m a civilian and don’t have the same rights as military victims… it was an uphill battle from the start to say the least. Most of the advocacy avenues we are pursuing deal with the military and also the media. I honestly am so thankful for the DC and Uganda Peace Corps Staff that supported me throughout the whole tedious process!

  1. I am so sorry to hear about what you have had to endure Sandi. First Response Action is a group dedicated to supporting Peace Corps Volunteers who are survivors of sexual assault and rape. We are happy to help do whatever we can. Casey

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