Did Red State Rape Culture Lead To This Young Woman’s Suicide? Her Parents Think So.
The Tragic Night
“When all is said and done, I wonder what I could’ve accomplished if one man didn’t completely rip everything away from me.”
– text message Megan Rondini sent a friend two days before committing suicide in February 2016
Megan Rondini was a 20-year-old woman whose life was turned upside down in July 2015. Megan was an honors student at the University of Alabama and was known for offering rides to drunk women who were walking alone after a night downtown. According to Katie Baker of Buzzfeed, Megan kept doing so even after someone threw up on her backseat. Yet that July, when Megan was intoxicated, she would be picked up by an individual, taken to his home, and by her reports raped by a powerful 34-year-old construction magnet. While charges were never brought up against her alleged attacker, Megan’s actions that night are of someone who did not consent to sex.
Baker further explains what happened that night:
That’s why they went to the hospital for a forensic exam, even though it was the middle of the night and Megan had just run away from Sweet T’s mansion by climbing out of his second-story window. Afterward, instead of going to sleep, she met with law enforcement for an interview.
Alabama’s Archaic Rape Laws
Under Alabama law, a victim must prove they earnestly fought their attacker in order for a rape charge to be filed. Which makes incidents where victims are drugged, drunk, and unconscious nearly impossible to prosecute. Megan spoke of the terrifying scenario in July 2015 while she was at the hospital after the mentally scarring events:
“I said, I really need to go, I have friends that are waiting,” she told police when they first interviewed her at the hospital. “He didn’t really take that.” Eventually, Megan said, she “felt like just letting him have sex with me was the only way he would let me go.
Megan would eventually escape from a second-story window after her attacker passed out. Unfortunately, the Tuscaloosa law enforcement made the incident even worse.
Megan Made To Be the Criminal
That night after escaping from her attacker’s room Megan searched his vehicle for keys where she would pick up a pistol for protection. Megan accidentally discharged the weapon before dropping it. Investigator Adam Jones discussed the gun for quite some time, before eventually returning to the rape allegations by claiming she did not refuse him because she did not strike him in any way.
However, Megan made it clear that she verbally told her attacker multiple times that she did not want to have sex with him. Late in July 2015, Megan and her family were told that her case did not meet the legal requirement for sexual assault and that it would be dropped.
After dealing with how well liked her victim was in the community, the unhelpfulness of the University of Alabama, and having criminal charges held over her head — Megan eventually left Alabama and returned home to Texas.
She was in the process of enrolling at Southern Methodist University, sadly she would never make it to SMU. On February 26, 2016, Megan killed herself. Her family has recently hired a lawyer for a wrong death lawsuit against the University of Alabama, the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, and her attacker. “The Rondini family is not in this for the money, they are only interested in shining a bright light on a tragic yet preventable situation,” their attorney Leroy Maxwell Jr told AL.com.
The original Buzzfeed article can be found here
Photo Credit: SMU
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Walter Yeates is a journalist who has covered Anonymous and was embedded with Veterans Stand For when they traveled to Standing Rock. He is also an advocate for the modern day gentleman. His work has been featured on Huffington Post, Elite Daily, GirlTalkHQ, and may other sites.