We Need To Keep Talking About Why Brock Turner Essentially Got Away With Rape
We really need to keep talking about Brock Turner, because this is a landmark case. In years to come, this situation and this legal decision will be as important to the rights of women and victims in the United States as any in recent memory.
We need to keep talking about, writing about and conversing about the fact that Brock Turner raped a woman. Physical evidence was collected. Pictures were taken. A traumatized victim spoke out. Witnesses - and subsequently heroes - ran Turner down, called the police and made statements. Turner was convicted by a jury of his peers.
We need to remind ourselves that these are all elements to a criminal rape case that are almost never present. The inherent nature of rape often means that victims have removed or washed away the physical evidence. Most of the time, there are no witnesses. It's one person's word against another's. Usually the victim is left alone and afraid when the wake up or when they escape an attacker. Almost never do the police arrive to see for themselves an unconscious woman stripped half-naked with abrasions all over her body. At least not a woman that's alive.
We need to harp on the fact that this case was the rare, open-and-shut rape case. A rape case will never be more clear cut than this one was. Never. Do not lose sight of just how incredibly egregious that is. Because when judge Aaron Persky stated that Turner's positive character references and lack of a criminal record had persuaded him to be more lenient - and determined that anything more than six months in prison would have a “severe impact on him" - he did so as a full participant in rape culture, misogyny and white-male privilege.
We need to stay mad about the fact that a young, white, male athlete at one of the country's most prestigious colleges was told by a United States judge that he didn't deserve to have his life ruined after being being convicted of a violent rape. While a young woman has had her world turned upside down, her body abused and violated, her privacy invaded, her character questioned and her intentions challenged, Turner's father is blaming the entire incident on the drinking culture of college campuses.
We need to help everyone to realize that the judicial system isn't just allowing Turner to essentially get away with it; they are endorsing him as a good person who deserves redemption. It's enough to make me physically ill as I sit here.
We need to keep drilling it into the male skull that women don't just get drunk and cry rape, and that those accusations cannot continue to thrive. According to the court system of Santa Clara County, no matter how battered or bruised a woman may be physically and/or mentally, they are to blame if they can't remember being raped. I'd be truly interested to see how that logic applies in other facets of life.
"That homeless crackhead stabbed you as you stumbled drunkenly out of the bar? Well do you remember it? Or do you just think you were stabbed because you woke up in the hospital with a stab wound and a bunch of people saw the crackhead stab you and the police showed up and there was the crackhead with a bloody knife?"
"Oh, you bought that lottery ticket when you were drunk and don't remember picking the numbers or where you bought it? THEN IT DIDN'T HAPPEN!"
We need to recognize the horrifying reality that Turner's father believes that prison would be a "steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action" and that probation is the best option to allow Brock to "give back to society in a net positive way." Yes, it's always important when someone is violently assaulted that we look for a way to turn the situation into a net positive for the attacker.
We need to stop writing articles that describe a woman enduring a brutal physical assault and then list the swim meet times for the athlete that is accused of perpetrating that assault.
Screw the Turners and screw "Judge" Persky and the people in this country who continue to perpetuate the incredibly dangerous stereotype that financially secure, well-educated white men - and athletes - are owed some outstanding benefit of the doubt. Brock Turner is a rapist. He is violent, spoiled and delusional, and he was just empowered by the justice system to continue being all of those things while his victim answers questions like "are you a party animal" and "would you ever cheat?"
Fuck that. We need to keep this conversation going. We need for the country to start punishing successful white men and athletes who rape, because this blatant disregard for the rights of a victim can never happen again. Men of means and standing in this country are some of the most dangerous men you will ever interact with, and this is why. If the backlash to this is strong enough, maybe the law will finally stop enabling them to rape us.
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