Let’s talk about Brock Turner.
TW: The video below this warning contains verbal descriptions of sexual assault, and the text below contains my outrage about the Brock Turners of the world, which includes writing about sexual assault survivors and rape culture. Sorry this is so long–but every time his smiling, boy-next-door face pops up on my Facebook feed instead of his glassy-eyed rapist mugshot, I just want to punch him. I’ve never wanted to punch a person before, so writing is how I’m going to get out my Brock Turner aggression.
Here’s the video:
Brock Turner, as you may know, was recently released after serving three months of a six-month sentence… after being convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. Read that sentence again and ask yourself “Six months for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman? Only six months? … And served half?” Now, to continue: The judge said that he wasn’t giving him a longer sentence because Brock, basically, was too ~precious to survive in prison, and it would have a ~severe impact on him. Because, apparently, prison isn’t supposed to be a punishment for your crimes? And… it can’t have a severe impact on a person?
Forget it, I can’t go into that right now.
Instead, let’s talk about the women in this video, and how Brock Turner impacts their lives. These are women who were sexually assaulted by men who were, notably, not Brock Turner. But what do they have in common with his victim?
What they have in common is that they are continually revictimized by men like Brock Turner, even after the horrors of their own assault have long gone.
They’re revictimized by men who walk free after committing their crimes because the women had been drinking that night and “she didn’t say no” because she didn’t say anything.
They’re revictimized by men who are never even questioned by police because of what she was wearing when arrived at the hospital for a rape kit, or what she was wearing when they took her report.
They’re revictimized by men who are protected by their coaches and parents and the people who shelter them from the consequences of their actions.
They’re revictimized by a justice system that convicts a man of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, of giving that woman PTSD that she could suffer from for the rest of her life, and then saying that more than six months in prison could be too severe for him to survive.
They’re revictimized every. time. a man like Brock Turner walks free because the very prosecution of rape and other forms of sexual assault is based on he-said-she-said in a culture that favors the accused due to a fear of statistically improbable false reports.
They’re revictimized because there are women who will never report their assault because they see how women who do are treated not only by the courts, but by the unending media circus.
They’re revictimized by the comments section of every. single. Brock Turner article. that says the girl should have been more responsible with her outfit/drinking/dating/breathing/being a goddamn person with a vagina.
But do you know what? If Brock Turner’s prey–because that’s what she was; he singled her out because she was barely drunk enough to stand–hadn’t been drunk that night, another girl would’ve been behind that dumpster, and we’d be right here anyway. Because the problem with teaching your daughters How Not to Get Raped just means you’re teaching your daughters How to Make Sure He Rapes Someone Else.
So (pardon my French) fuck the Brock Turners of the world and their daddies and affluent white judges who see themselves in the privileged white rapists who stand in front of them as the accused.
The girls in this video–and other survivors who were forced to encounter all the Brock Turners out there–they’re the ones who are dealing with something that will have a “severe impact” on their lives. And unlike the Brock Turners of the world, they didn’t have a choice in the matter.
This has been my spiel.