‘I Don’t Care if You Looked Sexy. If You Wore a Skirt That Day. It’s Not Your Fault.’

Damon Winter/The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “I Am Breaking My Silence About the Baseball Player Who Raped Me,” by Kat O’Brien (Opinion guest essay, nytimes.com, June 20):

Ms. O’Brien’s essay broke my heart. Why should she have to suffer for 18 years because a professional athlete raped her and she (probably completely accurately) believed that she had no recourse?

How many more stories like this must we read before managers, executives, owners and players take seriously the fact that they create the culture that allows such behavior to happen? Were their wives, sisters or daughters working in professional sports, would they want them to be vulnerable to such a traumatizing experience?

Professional sports, like the military, needs to take a hard look at what their indifference and even encouragement (showing porn films in the clubhouse!) are doing to women, maybe even the women they love.

Edie Lycke
San Luis Obispo, Calif.

To the Editor:

Because Kat O’Brien opened up about her rape and the many ways it has constricted her life over the years, I feel finally able to include myself in the statistic that one in five women experience rape or attempted rape.

I was lucky enough to escape the rape because of the intervention of another person. It was terrifying at the time, and I quit my summer job because I no longer felt safe coming home alone from work late at night. I lost weeks of income because of it. But, because I escaped with just a punch, a kick and broken glasses, I never thought of myself in terms of the rape statistics.

I am sure that all women at various times in their lives fear for their physical safety when out in public or working at their job. What do we women have to do to get men, who seldom fear for their physical safety, to empathize with what it is like to live with that constant fear?

Hazel Lutz

To the Editor:

Kat O’Brien’s piece on her rape and how it affected her entire life was incredibly powerful and brought me to tears. As a woman who came up in the advertising and publishing world in the ’80s and ’90s, I have my own stories and #MeToo moments that happened over and over again, and I applaud her for finally speaking her truth.

I hope that coming out publicly about this horrible, life-changing experience will allow her to continue down the path of recovery.

Lauren Michaels
Vero Beach, Fla.

To the Editor:

Kat O’Brien’s disturbing account of being raped by a professional baseball player reminded me of an attempted rape when I was 15. I was tricked into being separated from the group at an after-dark beach party, and once out of sight, a schoolmate began to forcibly remove my clothes. I assured him that if he was trying to prove he was bigger and stronger than me, there was no contest, but he should keep in mind that my dad was the best shot in our county and “he knows where you live.”

That jerk couldn’t wait to get back to the group, and I learned that the human brain responds faster to fear than anything else. I hope that other women will learn from my experience and conjure up an uncle in the police force or any other story that would instill fear in their attacker.

Margaret Curtis

To the Editor:

Kat O’Brien describes an all-too-familiar story of violence against women followed by self-blame, shame and symptoms of PTSD. Oftentimes it is hard to seek psychological treatment, fearing that talking about what happened will only exacerbate the emotional pain. I hope that Ms. O’Brien’s courage in making public her victimization will help others reach out to friends and family and, if necessary, to seek psychological support.

Larry S. Sandberg
New York
The writer is a psychoanalyst.

To the Editor:

How many stories of rape or sexual harassment and their lifelong effects on the victims do we need to hear before we all say “it’s not your fault”? I don’t care if you were friendly. If you smiled. I don’t care if you had a few drinks. I don’t care if you looked sexy. If you wore a skirt that day. It’s not your fault.

Joan Solotar
New York

To the Editor:

The Republicans’ voter suppression, gerrymandering, reduction of voting places in urban minority areas, and baseless audits and challenges to the 2020 election results in Republican-led states are the greatest threat to our democracy since our country’s founding. And not a word of objection from most Republican leaders.

I am reminded of a brief conversation recently with an immigrant repairman from Ukraine who has lived in the United States for many years and has his family here and relatives still in Ukraine. When asked if he fears for Ukraine these days, his response was swift: “No, I fear more for this country.”

Ken Goldman
Beverly Hills, Calif.

Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “How ‘Hamilton’ Brought a Bookstore Back to Life” (Arts pages, June 7):

The laudable actions of Lin-Manuel Miranda, the director Thomas Kail, the producer Jeffrey Seller and the theater owner James Nederlander in saving the Drama Book Shop in Manhattan for future generations of theater lovers, professional and amateur, serves as an affirmation of the immutable fact that being in a room surrounded by physical books is a powerful experience that sometimes magically leads to creative inspiration.

So long as humans remain a material species and not a digital one, no number of downloaded texts invisibly stored in a hard drive can ever do the same.

M.C. Lang
Chevy Chase, Md.