Monday, June 6, 2016

Brock Turner

     I spent a good chunk of today wondering if I could add anything of value to the discourse around the Brock Turner rape case.  If you haven't read the victim's speech at the hearing, I understand it's a condensed version of her 12 page impact statement, here is a link (be warned, this is a difficult read with graphic details not suitable for any of my younger readers):

     By now, you've read that in his father's statement to the judge on requesting no jail time and probation only, that his son's "life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life."  You've probably also read that the judge decided to give Brock Turner, convicted on multiple charges of sexual assault by a jury, to six months in county jail.  It's expected that he'll probably serve three months.  Prosecutors had asked for six years in a state prison.  The maximum for the three felony charges would have been 14 years.
     As a woman, I've heard my entire life that I had to be careful of my surroundings, careful to not put myself in a bad situation, careful to not drink too much, careful to dress appropriately, careful to wear shoes I could run in (that was one of my mother's favorites), and the list goes on and on.  Many of these suggestions imply that it's my responsibility to keep myself safe, secure and not raped.  And to some extent, it is absolutely necessary to be mindful of my safety and my surroundings, but that does not mean that it's up to me to not get raped.  It's on rapists to not rape.
     From what I have read, his father didn't use the word rape, in his statement of remorse he doesn't refer to the events of that night as rape, a friend who wrote a statement to the judge of support for Brock doesn't think it was rape and in fact says Brock isn't a rapist, but one of "these idiot boys and girls having too much to drink and not being aware of their surroundings and having clouded judgement." She in fact goes on to say the whole thing is a problem with political correctness - there was no way he could be a rapist, because "he was always the sweetest to everyone," and "the whole thing (is) a huge misunderstanding."  If Brock didn't come from money, this would have been a very different outcome.  If Brock was a man of color, this would have been a very different outcome.  In all of this though, the victim's outcome remains the same.
     There is no such thing as consensual sex.  To use that term implies that there is non-consensual sex, which isn't the case.  If you aren't consenting, then you are being raped.  It's fairly simple; woman, man, married, single, gay, straight - if you didn't consent, if you couldn't consent, then you were raped.  Depending on your age, you've probably heard "she/he shouldn't have had that much to drink" ... nope, that doesn't give you permission; "she/he shouldn't have been dressed that way" ... nope, still no permission; "she/he shouldn't have gone back to that person's place" ... nope, no such thing as implied consent.
     In what I've read from Brock's friends and family, they want to focus your thinking around campus drinking and sexual promiscuity.  He's going to go on speaking tours after his jail time to help others understand the dangers of drinking too much.  (Meanwhile, his lawyers are appealing his convictions.)  This isn't about drinking too much, it's about rape.  It's not about sexual promiscuity ... whatever the hell that means.  She wasn't being promiscuous (that's another label to imply she deserved whatever she got); she was unconscious.  Rape is about power and control; it's not about sex.
     In all I've read, I don't see anything about Brock having a sister.  He has a mother, probably some aunts, maybe a couple grandmothers.  He clearly has at least one female friend.  I wonder how he or his father would feel if his mother or grandmother were found half naked, unconscious and raped in the dirt behind a dumpster - their rapist discovered mid act and tackled by two passing by college guys.  Would his father be quick to worry that the rapist's life had been "deeply and forever altered?"  Would they agree that his mother's drinking before the rape had led to her sexual promiscuity?
     Brock Turner is the stuff of nightmares.  He is that man waiting to pick off the weakest member at the party, hiding behind his all American smile and swim meet times.  A jury convicted him on three felony charges - assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object.  He is a convicted rapist who will now have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.  I don't care if he isn't "his happy go lucky self" anymore.  Neither is his victim.  She will spend the rest of her life with wounds far deeper than the bruises she got that night.  She'll probably forever be scared of the dark and the unknown around the next corner,  Her statement describes much more eloquently what she's been dealing with over the last year emotionally, financially and mentally. She is forever changed, forever altered by his evil.

     "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones" - Shakespeare

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