Help Susan Shannon
This is Susan Shannon. She dared to name her rapist online. Now she is being sued for defamation in Virginia for $2,350,000 (yes, over $2 million!) This country allows free speech. Should any man, rich or poor, be permitted to rape and then use the court room to take revenge upon his victim for speaking out? My good friend, Susan, recently wrote about her rape while she was a third year Cadet at West Point Military Academy in 1986. She is a blogger dedicated to Christ's truth and was attempting to help women in the military by revealing her own humiliating story in 2013. Susan’s rapist has since sued Susan for defamation, claiming that her story is false and that she should pay him for writing about it. He has already gotten away with the crime; now he wants to silence her forever. Susan may run out of money before she ever makes it to trial next year. If she does, not only will she owe her rapist millions of dollars, but her rapist will crow that she lied about the rape. Worse than this, all women from that date forward will also be silenced through this case!Should women be allowed to discuss sexual assaults? Yes. But today, truth has a price. That price is about to become intolerable for all women. Reporting sexual assaults carries a heavy social stigma to begin with. The perpetrators often state that the victim made up the story or invited the assault. This tactic is designed to place the victim on the defensive, and to discourage others from coming forward. Susan’s case, however, is a landmark case as it now places an enormous financial burden on a woman for even speaking about her rape publically. Wealthy men can now rape at will and their victims can never speak of it again.
This case is unique, and will define the consequences for all rape victims who identify their assailants publically in the future. Just think of all the women who have come forward to tell their stories about powerful, rich men who raped or sexually assaulted them. Any man with enough money to hire a lawyer will be able to silence them by either threatening, or by filing a defamation case. If the victim dares to speak out in public, she risks being sued and must pay substantial sums to defend herself. If the victim reports a rape and the man is not proven guilty in the criminal courts, then the victim stands to be financially ruined if the assailant chooses to sue her. The rapist will own her ever after! What woman will ever take that chance? Please help Susan get to court and ensure that the First Amendment continues to protect all women's right to speak!
Women will not report sexual assault/harassment until they are protected from backlash and retaliation. That retaliation includes the cost of defense lawsuits like this. Those costs are staggering and include bringing in witnesses from across the country to tell Susan’s story. The legal rules do not allow Susan to recover her legal fees and costs, even if she wins. Susan and her family are at risk of losing everything, even if she wins. Indeed, she has already spent her entire retirement, all her family's savings (including her children's college funds), and has mortgaged her home to the fullest. Without your help, she simply can't finish the race. All because her rapist has more money than she does.
Susan gave up her career in the military and left West Point with only one year left. After she was raped, she became depressed, homeless, destitute and jobless for several years. Instead of giving up, Susan picked herself up and fought to complete her degree in 1989 on her own and made a new life for herself.
Many people ask why Susan didn’t press formal charges against her rapist in 1986. Her reasons were similar to those of many rape victims: fear of being blamed, and fear of not being believed. Susan has felt humiliated and embarrassed ever since – upset that she wasn’t able to fight back, or stand up for herself and all the women who have followed after her.
As long as sexual assault is tolerated, women will never be perceived as men’s equals. Susan intends to stand strong and tell her story. You can help assure that will happen. Susan is speaking for all raped women's first amendment rights to speak about their rapes and needs your help just to get to the finish line. Without sufficient funds, her wealthy rapist will simply outwait her and she will never get to present her evidence in court. Don't let that happen. Everyone deserves their day in court. Don't let this case set the precedent that will silence all raped women in America forever.
We are doing all we can to help raise money for Susan to fight this lawsuit. Susan and her husband have limited funds because she is a stay-at-home mom to their three children and Susan’s husband already works two jobs. Any money you can donate to this cause to fight against this vicious and unnecessary lawsuit would be much appreciated. Every little bit will help!
Thank you to all friends and family for your love, prayers and support.
You can read about Susan’s case in the Fairfax County Circuit Court, by searching for her case file: CL-2014-09220.
See original article at: https://shortlittlerebel.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/the-rape-of-a-female-cadet-at-west-point/
See ABC television interview at:
Once Inside Weekly airs their interview, it will be posted here as well.
Emotionally, I'm doing much better. I think I was trying to carry the world on my shoulders- I was trying to save all the raped women in America. I was trying to save every soul in America. It was just too big and I was getting tired, Friends. This forced departure has been a blessing in disguise. I have been forced to rest and it has been good. I didn't realize how tired I was emotionally. I have been reflecting on how good God is and how he is truly in charge of everything. I have been reflecting on how we can be joyful every day because we are not in the world. Even though we see the pain and suffering and evil in the world, we can still rejoice that we are not part of it. We have the joy of knowing that we are in the kingdom of heaven. I was carrying the sorrow of the world on my heart when I looked upon it! Only Jesus can do that and survive! We can't do that. It will break us! We can but take comfort that we aren't part of that world. And we must just love people as best we can. If they refuse Christ, we must give that sorrow in our hearts over to Christ to bear. Otherwise, we will break. We can't hate satan or those who follow him. We must hand it all over to Christ. It is all too much for our frail shoulders to bear. That is what Christ bore when he was nailed to the cross- all the disappointment, all the sorrow, all the rage, all the despair, all the depression, all the hopelessness, all the anger and all the sadness. Only he could look upon all of it and bear it- and not only that, but forgive it. We, we will break if we can't give it over to Christ. I'm a sensitive person and when I watched all the evil in the world, I was feeling all that sorrow. But it was not the right thing to do. I was meant to hand it over to Christ. I am meant to have life and joy abundantly. Joy that I am not dying, not despairing, not sorrowful, not hopeless, not evil. I am to be happy that I am free. That God loves me and is not angry with his Children. That I am Chosen. I am not meant to despair because of the world.
I lost my joy. This forced break has helped me to see this. And it was badly needed. It's going to be awhile before I'm back. I hope I have more to say on these things when I return. I hope my spirit is greatly refreshed when I return. No matter what happens in this case, God is with me. Everything is in his hands and I trust him completely. I miss you all, Susan
1) Do you remember that I said Bill Cosby could sue all those women who are accusing him of rape if I lose this lawsuit? Well, I think his legal team has gotten wind of my case because just last month, Cosby has done just that. They are waiting breathlessly to see what happens in this case. IF I lose, all raped women in America lose. Just saying the name of your rapist will put you in terrible legal jeopardy. I have seen brave young women coming forth on social media with their silent flip cards, telling everyone their incredible stories of survival. Well, IF I lose, every loser that raped them will also be able to sue them for millions as well. I am NOT fighting for myself anymore. I have no money for Riggins to take. I reported Riggins because the Army asked me to do my duty for this country. I am now fighting this lawsuit for the same reason: I am doing my duty for my country. IF I fail to fight, it will be an automatic loss.
Also, I am fighting for the very principle of the matter. I am fighting because everyone in this nation has FREE SPEECH. Rapists fear free speech. That is why they so often murder their victims. Jesus said, " 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God."
Those who do good things don't fear the First Amendment, do they? I LOVE the first amendment and look forward to my day in court. But Riggins and his lawyer are putting up every obstacle they can because they know that every time my lawyer must appear before the judge, I have to pay for every hour spent. Every time my lawyer must prepare documents, I must pay for every hour spent. It is about making me quit before I can get to that courtroom.
I am fighting for every raped woman's right to continue speaking the TRUTH about who raped them. That is the VERY MINIMUM of justice they deserve. I have heard some men complain that we live in a 'guilty until proven innocent' culture where rape is concerned. I almost want to blurt milk out of my nose! What? There can be nothing farther from the truth. In the military, the percentage of rapes reported versus those that actually lead to jail time is a joke. Why else do you think Congress has felt the immense pressure to 'do something about it?' In the civilian world, only 1/4 of the rapes are even reported, let alone prosecuted successfully. The vast majority of rapists go FREE while their victims are left devastated. This new sense of victimhood in the male community is laughable if it weren't so dangerous to women. For me, I play a very tiny violin for them, indeed.
People of America. IF you don't help us and we lose this case, then you will play a hand in allowing a rapist to punish his rape victim. But even worse, far worse, you will be allowing a new legal precedent to get a powerful toe hold in America: you will be putting an iron mask on the faces of your daughters, your wives, your sisters, your mothers, your nieces, your cousins and your neighbors. When they are viciously raped by that smiling neighbor or co-worker, you will be responsible for the fact that she will be even more terrified to report him for rape. You will be responsible for making her feel like even more of a prisoner in her own country. I want you to think about that.
Cal and I have put everything on the line to fight this terrible new future that this case represents. Please HELP us to fight against it too. We need your help. America needs your help too. Thank you ahead of time, Susan and Cal Shannon- Bouma
When you choose to live a Christ filled life, you don't even realize that you begin to shed the material things and begin to hoard treasures that 'no moth can destroy,' that your life has already begun to look like the 'heaven in your midst' that Jesus so mysteriously spoke of.
We have discovered that if you have lived a long time with Christ, when earthly disaster comes, it can pass through your life and when it is done, nothing will be burned! and you laugh! all is gleaming and sparkling as if it were brand new. This is because all your possessions are 'stored up in heaven' and can't be touched by evil. They are stored in heaven yet reside even here on earth. 'Heaven in our midst.' No one can take what we most value.
God has blessed Cal's and my life beyond all measure. This Christmas, I looked at Cal and asked him, "Do you feel poor? Are you afraid?" He smiled and said, "Nope and No." I asked him, "Do you think that is because it's just too big for us to consider or do you think that God has given us a miracle of strength?" He thinks it is a miracle of strength. Me too. We understand what is happening. But we simply aren't afraid. We are like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego- we are standing in the middle of the fire- and are unafraid. It's not a normal human reaction- it's a gift of God. In fact, we are downright joyful these days- and we know why. It's because we know that God is with us.
We want to send out our heartfelt thankfulness to all that have given to our campaign. We are still a long way off from our target amount but slowly and surely we are getting there! This is a marathon, not a race. We thank God also for our fantastic law team. Their incredible work ethic, flexibility and generosity has allowed Cal and I to be sure that we can not only make our payments, but to get to court with a winning strategy. We could not do this without them. May God bless them all.
We ask that all of you continue to pray for us throughout this next year as this legal process plays itself out. We will be taking official depositions in the next month (his and mine) which will be very expensive. For this, we are asking for your generous donations. Please consider us when thinking about your tithes to church or when considering your giving to charities. We truly believe we are doing God's work by preventing a very evil legal precedent from being created that will destroy so many raped women in the future should my rapist win this case. We know you will be directly serving your nation and your God by helping us defeat this man and this horrible legal precedent. Please pray for us and if you can, please help us with your donations. Thank you and God bless you, Susan & Cal Shannon-Bouma
Cal and I would be so grateful if each of you would think about setting some of your Christmas money aside and bless us with it. We are sorely hurting. It hurts to ask this of you when we know that many of you have needs of your own. We can only say that we would do likewise if the situation were reversed. Thank you in advance, Susan & Cal Shannon Bouma