In the latest gruesome dispatch from rape culture, an Ohio man stands accused of raping and taking nude photos of a teen girl whose bed he’d been living under for three weeks.
Before slithering under her bed, prosecutors say that Jaret Wright, 20, first met the underage girl on Instagram. Authorities didn’t disclose the girl’s name or exact age, but she’s between 13 and 18 years old, the Akron Beacon Journal reported, citing the local prosecutor’s office.
The teen knew he was under her bed; he allegedly held her down and forced her into sexual activity. But her mother, who ultimately discovered Wright, had no idea, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. It’s unclear if Wright even left the house during the three weeks he spent hiding under the bed.
Now, Wright is facing three counts of rape and one count of producing child pornography. His bond was set at $50,000.
The Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office didn’t immediately respond to a VICE News request for comment. Court records did not list any attorney for Wright.
These details are nightmarish, but alleged attacks like these aren’t isolated events. They’re emblematic of a society that regularly, violently discriminates against women and that is rotten with rape.
This isn’t even the first time that cops have caught an alleged assailant hiding in someone’s bedroom recently. In 2020, a man was arrested in Washington state for repeatedly sexually abusing a 12-year-old. He’d kept himself hidden under her bed and in her closet. That same year, a 36-year-old man in Florida was arrested for hiding in an underage girl’s bedroom for more than a month.
The U.S. is shot through with sexual assault. More specifically: Every year, nearly half a million people aged 12 and up are sexually assaulted, according to RAINN, the preeminent organization fighting sexual violence in the U.S. One in every six American women will confront an attempted or completed rape at some point in her lifetime. One in every 33 men will experience the same. Trans and nonbinary people face particularly high risks of sexual violence; almost half of all trans people have been sexually assaulted, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
These statistics are all a function of what’s known as “rape culture”: a society where sexual violence is treated as normal and acceptable, where the onus to prevent it is placed on the shoulders of victims, and where assailants are rarely held accountable. For every 1,000 sexual assaults, RAINN estimates that 995 of attackers will evade imprisonment.
“Men learn to regard rape as a moment in time; a discreet episode with a beginning, middle, and end,” activist Soraya Chemaly wrote in her 2018 book Rage Becomes Her. “But for women, rape is thousands of moments that we fold into ourselves over a lifetime.”
Rape culture teaches us to expect men to become real-life monsters under our beds. It teaches victims that they should defend themselves, rather than asking perpetrators to, say, not lurk under beds. And it blinds us from asking why, exactly, stories like this are so common—and what we can do about them.