After a few hours of this, they let me shower. I stood there examining my body beneath the stream of water and decided, I don’t want my body anymore. I was terrified of it, I didn’t know what had been in it, if it had been contaminated, who had touched it. I wanted to take off my body like a jacket and leave it at the hospital with everything else.
On that morning, all that I was told was that I had been found behind a dumpster, potentially penetrated by a stranger, and that I should get retested for HIV because results don’t always show up immediately. But for now, I should go home and get back to my normal life. Imagine stepping back into the world with only that information. They gave me huge hugs and I walked out of the hospital into the parking lot wearing the new sweatshirt and sweatpants they provided me, as they had only allowed me to keep my necklace and shoes.
My sister picked me up, face wet from tears and contorted in anguish. Instinctively and immediately, I wanted to take away her pain. I smiled at her, I told her to look at me, I’m right here, I’m okay, everything’s okay, I’m right here."
(full statement of the victim in link below)
I had a hard time falling asleep last night. Generally, I drift off fairly quickly while watching Sportscenter on the couch, wake up a few hours later and head to my bed. Last night I tossed and turned, the above statement of a rape victim playing over and over in my head and I couldn't shake it. I had read something on Twitter on Sunday night referencing the case but wasn't familiar with it and didn't look into it further. Monday, some articles popped up on Facebook, and I took the time to read them.
I'm sure many of you have read the story by now. On January 18th, 2015, a woman was raped by an All-American swimmer named Brock Turner at a fraternity party on the campus of Stanford University. The unnamed victim had originally planned to spend the night at home, but decided to go with her younger sister to the party. She was not a student at the university but decided to tag along since the party was ten minutes away. What she encountered that night (and in the following year) is written in detail in the above link, but she was raped while being unconscious due to the amount of alcohol she had, and if it weren't for two grad students biking by, the story may have ended in an even worse way. My goal isn't to tell you what happened that night. In fact, I don't really have a "goal." Selfishly, maybe I just wanted to write so I'd be able to fall asleep better tonight. But I want to focus on the "punishment" and what is called "rape culture" in our country. The maximum sentence for what Turner was charged with was 14 years in prison, prosecutors argued for at least 6 years, he received 6 months in jail and 3 months probation.
Although I have my views on many subjects, I generally keep them to myself, for several reasons. One, I don't think people often care about opinions other than their own (funny, coming from a blogger...); two, if someone disagrees, it generally turns into an online pillow fight where nobody wins and everyone looks immature; and three, I'm not very smart. Also, I'm not a good debater. If someone disagrees with me, I may try to maturely argue my point very briefly, but I don't have much faith in my ability to change someone's mind.
Some topics, however, I feel should be so common sense that it actually turns my stomach how anyone can see it another way. In just one day of reading articles about the case, I'm no expert on the case, by any means. I'm going to go with the facts (what's a "fact" in the news these days?) as much as I can. I'll list a few key points in this particular case to lay the foundation what I want to say.
- Brock Turner was a white, male, All-American swimmer at Stanford University, originally from Ohio.
- Retired federal prosecutor Margaret M. Quinn blamed the incident on alcohol, saying, "There is no doubt Brock made a mistake that night - he made a mistake in drinking excessively to the point where he could not fully appreciate that his female acquaintance was so intoxicated..." We're only two bullet points in, and I'm already enraged, will comment below.. http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_29988209/excerpts-from-stanford-sex-offender-brock-turners-court
- Turner's friend, Leslie Rasmussen, said "I don't think it's fair to base the fate of the next ten + years of his life on the decision of a girl who doesn't remember anything but the amount she drank to press charges against him. I'm not blaming her directly for this, because that isn't right. But where do we draw the line and stop worrying about being politically correct every second of the day and see that rape on campuses isn't always because people are rapists." Good grief..
- An excerpt from a letter Turner's father, Dan, wrote to Judge Aaron Persky (a former star athlete at Stanford University): "These verdicts have broken and shattered him and our family in so many ways. His 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... He has no prior criminal history and has never been violent to anyone including his actions on the night of January 17th, 2015."
- "Rape culture" is defined by Emilie Buchwald in the book Transforming a Rape Culture as "A complex set of beliefs that encourage mail sexual aggression and supports violence against women. It is a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent. In a rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself. A rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm.. In a rape culture both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable.. However, much of what we accept as inevitable is in fact the expression of values and attitudes that can change."
In regards to the comment by Mrs. Quinn, the only mistake she mentions that Turner made was drinking excessively. He didn't make a mistake by raping an unconscious woman next to a dumpster. He was too drunk to notice his "acquaintance" (pretty friendly term for rape victim, in this case) was "so intoxicated." So he was too drunk to notice that she was unconscious. Now, I haven't blogged in quite a while. But if any of you have read my posts in the past, I'm not exactly a ladies man. I never got into the "get with as many girls as possible." That's fine if guys do that, just not my thing. Of the nine or so times I've had sex, give or take, my absolute main concern was whether or not I was allowed to be doing it, especially the first time with a respective woman. Now, I know there's a happy medium there. It's obviously not the sexiest thing in the world to be all "Are you sure?" "Are you sure?" but that's what I was concerned with. I didn't want to overstep any boundaries, and very few times with me involved any alcohol at all. Obviously, once you're in a relationship, there doesn't always necessarily need to be a verbal consent. It's the ol' "one thing leads to another and everyone is okay with it" sort of attitude, which there's nothing wrong with, if both people understand it. But if one of the parties involved is UNCONSCIOUS, there is absolutely no way to give consent. It's not, "she didn't say no," it's, "she couldn't say yes." Many people think it's always strangers that are the rapists. The graph below shows otherwise. A husband can rape his wife, a boyfriend can rape his girlfriend..
Ms. Rasmussen won't blame her directly, because that "isn't right." Oh, it's not right to place the blame of a sexual assault on the unconscious victim? Did the victim make all the right choices that night? Clearly not. But getting drunk doesn't deserve a punishment of rape. It doesn't deserve waking up in a hospital, signing papers that say "Rape Victim." It doesn't deserve having a doctor recommend you get re-tested for HIV because you were potentially penetrated by a stranger. And being drunk doesn't excuse Turner either, not by a long shot. I've been drunk hundreds of times in my life (sorry Mom) and I've maybe rattled off a dozen or so flirty texts that I've regretted in the morning. In nearly 33 years. Am I saying that's all that's allowed? No. If you're drunk and flirty and feeling it and everyone involved wants to take it that far, then go for it! But the second anyone says "no" (or is unconscious, unbelievable that not everyone knows this), the deal is off. We can all agree that sex is fun, right? Isn't a large part of that fun being able to see the enjoyment and excitement that your partner is experiencing? Trust me, I like an attractive woman as much as the next guy. But sex with a woman that has either said "no" or couldn't say "yes" has absolutely zero attraction to me, and hopefully a large majority of the male species agree. It's sad that it's not 100%.
I don't even want to dignify a response to Dan Turner's "20 minutes of action" comment. That's dumb enough without any commentary. But the only person Dan Turner seems to be worried about is his son. "Broken and shattered HIM." "HIS life will never be the same." What about the woman who learned the details of her assault the same way I did, through an article online? Who can't go on walks alone anymore? Who has to sleep with a nightlight? Who for three months went to sleep at 6AM because she didn't feel safe enough until the sun was up? What about the victims' sister, who placed so much blame and guilt on herself that she couldn't keep up in school? What about the victims' boyfriend, who has lost a large part of who his girlfriend was through no fault of her? The victims parents, who had to experience what many parents would describe as their worst fear, their child being hurt with no way to help. But Brock has trouble sleeping and can't eat steak anymore because his appetite has suffered..?
I'm not saying Brock's life is going to be unicorns and rainbows. But it is his actions that caused the result.
I've read a few comments and articles that enforce the rape culture definition. I'm not a feminist, where the "rape culture" term gets traced back to. I really don't even know what a feminist is. I want women to be as successful as men. I want them to have the same opportunities as men, to a logical extent (they shouldn't be in the NFL, because they would get destroyed, but a women's football league? Perfect.) It's not a rape victims fault that they were raped. I'm so tired of society trying to find things to blame other than the person who committed the crime. If you get your car stolen because your door was unlocked, it's not your fault, it's the person who stole your car. If you get robbed because your window was open, it's not your fault, it's the person who robbed your house. If you get your identity stolen, it's not your fault, it's the person who stole your identity. There are things you can do to lessen your chances, and you should do them if it's within your capabilities. But if you do not, it's not open season on your stuff. And that includes your vagina. If it's "not manly" to have this view, you can add it to all the other "not manly" views I have and things I do. I'll call it "common sense", "respect" and "not being a disgusting piece of shit." To each their own.
What should Turner's punishment be? No idea. If a jury of 12 people finds you guilty for attempted rape, sexual penetration of an intoxicated woman, and sexual penetration of an unconscious woman, I tend to think it should be longer than 6 months in jail and 3 months probation. If it was your daughter, sister, aunt, niece, girlfriend, wife who was the victim, would you "go easy on him?" The judge said that positive character references written on Turner's behalf, such as the one given by Dan Turner, had factored into his decision. His age, lack of criminal history and the role alcohol played were also factors. So essentially, you get one free rape as long as you're "young" and "drunk" and your dad thought "20 minutes of action" wasn't enough.
God help us.
Only 8-37% of rapes result in prosecution, according to the Center for Research on Violence Against Women. National estimates suggest for every 100 rapes, 5 assailants go to prison.
A friend of mine's mother was recently diagnosed with a large brain tumor, please click the below link if you have the ability to help financially. Her father recently survived a major cardiac arrest where he was given a 3% chance to live, but survived (thanks God!). They need $5,000 to help with medical bills and to add things to their home to assist with her needs. So far they are at $1,480 in donations, any amount will help. It takes 2 minutes, just need a credit card or a bank account. If you're unable to donate money, prayers help if you're a person of prayer. Good, positive thoughts if you are not. Thank you.