Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Let's Discuss Sex, Rape, and Brock Turner

K, guys. I'm having a bit of a hard day on the internet. I keep reading comments about convicted rapist Brock Turner, a Stanford university swimmer sentenced to six months in jail (when he could have gotten 14 years on the charges proved against him) and how sad it is, how tragic that this fine upstanding young rapist's life has been affected by his criminal actions.

His father wrote a touching letter to the judge about how his son shouldn't be punished for "20 minutes of action." That's an actual quote.

His friend wrote a touching letter to the judge about how having sex with unconscious women is WAY different than being a "real" rapist.

Comments on Stanford University's campus newspaper website include:
--that white men who rape deserve shorter prison sentences than black men, because they're less likely to do it again
--that the victim was dressed in "whorehouse" attire.
--that because the rapist was an Olympic-level swimmer, he was probably using steriods, which ABSOLVED him of responsibility because he was probably raping due to "roid-rage."
--that because the victim was unconscious she could not be traumatized (say what?) and that therefore having sex with unconscious women could not be considered rape. Right. Knock 'em out first, and dude, you're clear.
--that despite the fact that the man has been convicted of three felony charges, he was only "alleged" to have committed them, and that the victim is probably lying.
--that the fact that the victim's name has not been released to the press (as is standard in sexual assault cases) means that no one knows who she is and MAYBE SHE DOESN'T EVEN EXIST.

Maybe it's all a conspiracy against privileged white guys!

I kid you not.

I really think my head might explode.

Let's review.

There is NO SUCH THING as "consensual sex." Sex is by definition consensual. Non-consensual sexual activity is known as rape.

Consent requires consciousness. Unconscious people are incapable of consent. Anytime anyone anywhere has sex with an unconscious person, they are committing rape.

Drinking alcohol does not absolve you of rape. I've been drunk before. Never raped anyone.

Wearing short skirts does not mean you deserve to be raped.

Being white? Hey, you can still be a rapist! Athlete? Sure can! Frat boy? No excuse--I know plenty of frat boys that don't. rape. anyone.

Ima gonna be an activist about this. I'm sick of the culture that allows this shit to continue. I. Am. Done. Forget rants: I feel a whole damn book coming on.

Meanwhile, a moment of respect for the heroes of this pathetic story: the two men who saw the rape, pulled the rapist off the victim, chased him when he ran away and held him until the police arrived. And the victim herself, who read a long, strong letter to her rapist in court. It ends with these amazing words:

"...to girls everywhere, I am with you. On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought everyday for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you. As the author Anne Lamott once wrote, “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” Although I can’t save every boat, I hope that by speaking today, you absorbed a small amount of light, a small knowing that you can’t be silenced, a small satisfaction that justice was served, a small assurance that we are getting somewhere, and a big, big knowing that you are important, unquestionably, you are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you. To girls everywhere, I am with you. Thank you."