Taylor Swift's Sexual Assault Trial Is Important — Whether Or Not You Like Her

Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images.
On Monday night, Taylor Swift won a lawsuit against an ex-radio host who she says sexually assaulted her in 2013. The ex-host, David Mueller, was ordered to pay only a "symbolic" single dollar, but many are celebrating Swift's win as a victory for sexual assault survivors everywhere.
Her trial, of course, has bolstered support from her sizable fanbase, but as Buzzfeed reports, a quote from a New York Times article has gone viral amongst her fans on Tumblr, and speaks to just how impactful her battle has been.
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The piece referenced Ed Lee, a father who brought his 10-year-old daughter to the trial, which he felt "demonstrates lesson he tries to teach her."
"I’ve had many conversations with her as I walk her to school," Lee told the Times. "I tell her: ‘You’re an alpha. I want you to know how to pull the claws out when you need them. Because you’re going to need them.'"
While the onus is never on survivors to prevent assault (rather, perpetrators need to learn not to assault anyone), Lee's lesson to his daughter acknowledges that there may be times when she'll have to fight, even when she shouldn't have to. Either way, his comment has resonated amongst Swift's fans as well as the singer herself, who BuzzFeed points out "liked" a post about the quote on her own Tumblr account. His quote is also indicative of why this trial matters.
Swift's trial has created somewhat of a dichotomy amongst the internet. After all, it's been pretty uncool to like Taylor Swift for quite some time now — and most criticisms against her brand of feminism are valid, as are questions of her shadiness.
However, as someone who was personally living for the drama of the Kim Kardashian Snapchat bomb of 2016, I can tell you that it's possible to dislike her (or her music) and still support Taylor Swift as a survivor of sexual assault. Likability is a particularly loaded subject when it comes to women in the public eye, but you can think that Swift is a snake and also believe that she has a right to decide who can and can't grab her butt. In the same way, you can be critical of her feminism and still cheer for her after this particular win, without it having to be a controversial opinion.
After all, given that most sexual assaults go unreported and most perpetrators go unpunished, her decision to fight back publicly (as well as her subsequent victory) feels particularly satisfying in a society where even powerful women are shamed for coming forward about assault. It's important for survivors, and everyone else for that matter, to see Swift take a stand against assault and win — whether or not you like her.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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