by Shayna Lopez-Rivas
Clash Daily Guest Contributor
As someone who was raped once on campus, I’m convinced that women should have the legal right to carry firearms to defend themselves from violent attack. I won’t go into the horrific details of what happened to me. If you want to know more, my experience is plastered all over the internet if you search my name. What I want to discuss now is how the State of Florida disagrees with my belief that I should carry a gun for self-defense wherever I go, including on my campus. I know from experience that criminals ignore laws. Rape is illegal and yet I’m sure my rapist didn’t care about the law. I don’t want to be raped again because I was forced by law to leave my gun, the best tool I have for self-defense, in my car. No one should. Unfortunately, politicians are making more victims as elected officials trade favors.
That sounds harsh, but you don’t know the half of it. I have expressed my opinion publicly and have been shocked by the response of gun rights opponents. Let me give a big shout out to the opponents of civilian self-defense and campus carry. They are the ones who gave me a real public education this year.
Thank you to those who tweeted me and Facebooked me advocating that I be murdered for my beliefs. Thank you to everyone who has said I should be killed in a drone strike. Thank you to the people who called me a liar, called me a daytime soap opera writer, and called me a mouthpiece for the gun lobby.
Here is a BIG THANK YOU to those who believe I should be raped again because I advocate self-defense!
Thank you for sending me these vile messages to me each week: you have taught me so much about you, as individuals, and about the anti-gun movement as a whole.
Opponents of gun rights bring up their own fears of immature behavior as a reason for restricting gun ownership by honest citizens. This year I watched as a prominent student gun opponent was arrested for buying cocaine from an undercover cop. That sounds pretty immature to me.
Gun opponents say they want less violence. Yet these same opponents simultaneously advocate that gun owners be murdered and rape survivors be viciously attacked. I would not have believed it if I hadn’t lived it.
I am not alone. I’ve done the research to find out how other people act in similar circumstances. Those statistics showed me that campus carry isn’t dangerous, except to criminals. I’ve written other articles with these statistics that you can look up. Concealed carry license holders are extremely law abiding. That should convince politicians to act, but they don’t.
I don’t understand why Florida State Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla is blocking a vote for campus carry in his senate committee. Portilla effectively killed this legislation for another year. I would love to ask him why, but he’s refuses to meet with me.
I first sent an email to Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla and his legislative assistant Patricia Gosney over a hundred days ago. I asked to meet with the Senator. Each time I contacted his office, I explained that I am a rape survivor. I asked for a few minutes to explain why campus carry is important to me.
I was ignored. I was told the Senator is busy. The senator’s assistant told me to stop making “threats”, though I never threatened anyone. It’s been more than 100 days and 17 emails sent to his assistant. I received nine responses. Every response from the Senator’s office told me the Senator was too busy to see me while claiming that he “NEVER” refuses to meet with ANYONE.
We’re not avoiding you, we’re just too busy. We will always be too busy.
I have made all my email correspondence with the Senator and his aide available for public inspection on my Facebook page. You can find it here and investigate for yourself.
Obviously, I do not know the Senator personally, as I have never met him. I think that a grown man of power and stature who refuses to meet with a twenty-something rape survivor is a pathetic coward. If we met then he might change my opinion. Until then, my assumption remains that he would rather I be raped again than schedule campus carry for a vote. If passed, campus carry legislation would restore my RIGHT to self-defense on campus.
If you live in Florida district 43 do yourselves a favor: don’t allow this politician to be elected again! Don’t allow me to be raped again; vote in a Senator who will actually do their job, who actually cares about survivors enough to meet with them for five minutes.