45 Days per Rape

The best thing about living in Montana is all the rapes. See, for example, Jon Krakauer’s book, “Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town.”

A district judge in Gallatin County wants to make sure rape doesn’t go anywhere. It’s one of our most prized natural resources, after all, like enormous skies or clustered mountain ranges. To keep rape alive and well, Judge Mike Salvagni has sentenced a Belgrade man to just 3 months in jail for raping two women (human beings).

Ninety days in jail seems like the perfect sentence. It averages just 45 days per rape. I certainly wouldn’t want a man who admitted to raping at least two women (human beings) to serve any longer than that! Since this man’s victims allegedly didn’t want to see him go to prison, what could the judge do? (*wrings hands*) The punishment must reflect cultural and religiously-mandated notions of premature forgiveness and “closure” fit the crime.

Salvagni is not alone in his efforts to preserve and protect rapes. According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle (5/17/16), the rapist’s friend testified, “From what I know about the case, I don’t feel like this was a full-on rape.” A full-on rape! Outstanding! Maybe these were half-on rapes! Quarter-rapes! Just a little bit of rape. No big deal!

The phrase “From what I know about the case” reveals another beautiful detail about rape culture and an embrace of ignorance. This friend to the rapist bears no burden of knowledge. With impunity, he or she can support his or her rapist friend because his/her admittedly-limited personal knowledge of the incident tells him/her it wasn’t that serious. To hell with the women (human beings) who deeply understand the assaults and for whom the incidents were serious. To hell with the women (human beings) this rapist will rape when he leaves jail. To hell with justice, in short.

This rapist’s rape victims didn’t want him to go to prison, and this rapist’s rape-supporting friend says it wasn’t a full-on rape. Salvagni’s never faced such an easy case! It’s an early Memorial Day present for the judge, wrapped in flag paper and decorated with bits of torn vaginal wall and dried seminal fluid.

Besides the rapist’s freedom to rape again in just 90 days, one of the greatest benefits of gifting the rapist with a feather-light sentence is the message it conveys to victims of rape. “Your bodily integrity and your right to avoid forced sex are less important than giving a ‘young man’ more chances!” I can think of no other message so crucial to send as this. ”Tired of being raped and watching your rapist wither away in prison where he belongs? Introducing ‘Forty-five Days per Rape,’ a comprehensive, totally-not-new judicial response to sex crimes!”

Gallatin County should feel great pride in its management of rape. If we’ve learned anything from tourists placing bison calves in their cars or hunters poaching grizzlies or watersheds being polluted, it’s that natural resources aren’t going to manage themselves!

High-fiving Salvagni so hard.


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