What is Owed to Amber Wyatt?

Elizabeth Bruenig

Twelve years ago, a 16-year-old cheerleader named Amber Wyatt reported that she was raped during a high school party. Few people believed her. Her hometown turned against her, making her the object of hate, mockery, and exile.

Washington Post reporter Elizabeth Bruenig went to high school with Wyatt (though she never knew her) and the story has lingered on her conscience, “like an article of unfinished business.” This remarkable account offers a personal reckoning years in the making.

It is an important story. Sexual assaults are quickly politicized by either side of the political spectrum these days. This can prevent us from considering the particularities of each case and insulate us from dealing with an important question: What if, "lurking in all the complaints about our putative culture of victimhood, there is something uglier than generalized contempt: a disdain for the weak”? A necessary warning: it’s a graphic and unsettling story. If sexual abuse is a part of your past, please take caution before reading.

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