Rape is Rape
Brock Turner was caught in the act, sexually assaulting an unconsious woman outside of a frat party at Stanford University. Two grad students spotted Turner on top of the unnamed woman; they lay next to a dumpster and she was clearly not awake or aware. Turner ran when the men approached, and one was able to chase and tackle him while the other called the police. For his crime, which the victim suffered from immensely, he received six months in jail and 3 years probation. The judge, Aaron Persky, says that the extremely lenient sentence was because he believed Turner when he stated that this woman, who was so drunk that she could not fend off this man, gave consent for sex. He also stated that Turner was remorseful, even though he only admitted remorse about drinking too much and the “dangers of alcohol.”
I’m going to get more personal than I normally do and share a bit of something that makes me uncomfortable. There was a sad moment in my life where I had to live in boarding house. During that time, I was assaulted by a crackhead who thought her boyfriend had looked at my housemate and I in a sexual way. She flipped out and my housemate, her baby and I locked ourselves in my room and called the police. She ended up trying to run from the police and got hog-tied. I had to go to the hospital for blood tests because she was using needles, she caused me to bleed when she attacked me, and I had no idea if she had hepatitis or AIDS or what. Thankfully, I was fine.
My housemate was married, and lived right across the hall from me with her husband and baby daughter. We were all friendly and would sometimes share a drink together. We were also friends with a couple who lived down the hall in a larger, more apartment-style unit. One day, my housemate was away with her baby, and the husband was home hanging out with the couple. I was by myself, just finishing a shift waiting tables. I showered and went over to the couple’s place to hang out for a bit. Once they started smoking weed, I decided to go back to my place. The husband followed. I didn’t realize he was following me.
I unlocked my door and as I started to step inside, he hit me from behind and knocked me directly into my bed, which was right inside the door. My cats ran for it and hid in the closet. Thanks, cats. I got up immediately in a panic and asked what the fuck he was doing. He was acting strange; he’d always been respectful and almost reserved, but I had also never encountered him without his wife before. He didn’t answer me, slammed my door behind him and was in my face in breakneck speed. One hand went around my throat and the other started trying to take off my clothes. He was bigger than me, taller and stronger. I screamed as loud as I could possibly scream for him to get his fucking hands off of me, punched him repeatedly in the ribs, and started kicking at his legs. I got in a solid groin shot, which finally got him to release his grip on my throat. He told me that he knows I want him because he saw the way I looked at him. I don’t remember what I grabbed, but I grabbed something off of my nightstand, swung at him, and told him that if he didn’t get the fuck out, I would kill him. He left.
I didn’t get raped by this idiot, but I could have. He didn’t come close to accomplishing his goal, and I still felt incredibly violated. I had a friend come stay with me every day for weeks until I moved out. I started carrying a knife. I couldn’t sleep. I started to question myself; was it my fault? Was I too nice? That was my reaction and I DIDN’T EVEN GET RAPED. So, imagine Brock Turner’s victim, who was raped and then sent to the hospital with debris in her vagina and then told by the legal system that she couldn’t be trusted, that maybe she was flirtacious and asked for it, that it was her fault in part that it happened. She is the victim, and the court system (and many of Turner’s supporters) have instead turned her rapist into the victim and her as the instigator.
Rape isn’t something we should take lightly. “I couldn’t help myself” is not an excuse for violating another person against their will. No means no. If a person cannot give consent, they cannot agree to a sexual act. If I’m passed out drunk and my husband tries to get it on with me while I’m muttering no during my brief moments of clarity, that is rape. It doesn’t matter who, doesn’t matter the situation. Rape is rape and we need to make these people responsible. We need to stop blaming the victim. When we tell women what to do/how to dress/how to act to avoid rape, what we are really saying is “this is what to do to ensure he rapes the other girl and not you.”
My experience is still something I can recall in detail, and it happened back in 2004. Turner’s victim will recall what happened to her for the rest of her life, made worse because it went to court and she had to see her attacker and deal with intrusive question after question about the incident. Brock Turner is not the victim. Brock Turner was 100% in the wrong. Stop shaming rape victims and trying to find the bright side of the rapists. They chose to cross the line, and they should have to live with that choice for the rest of their lives, just as their victim has to. I leave you with the disgusting letter that Turner’s father wrote to the judge.