20 Minutes of Action: A College Rape Culture In Full Vile Flower
It's tough to choose the most odious part of the particularly egregious Stanford University rape case, wherein Brock Turner, 20, a "once-promising," "baby-faced" white boy, star swimmer and aspiring Olympian sexually assaulted an incapacitated 23-year-old woman behind a dumpster after a frat party last January, and then the rapist, his family, the courts and much of the media miraculously transformed him into the victim. After two men caught Turner mid-rape, he was convicted of three felonies - assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object, sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object –and faced up to 14 years in prison. Prosecutors had sought a six-year sentence, but Judge Aaron Persky, a Stanford alumnus and former athlete, sentenced him to just six months. Experts say the six will likely dwindle to three with credit for "good behavior."
Where to begin? Swimmer boy telling an entirely different, improbable story - the victim had given consent, despite being unconscious during the act and for hours afterward - despite what witnesses saw, fessing up only to drinking too much and blithely vowing to visit high schools to “speak out against the college campus drinking culture and the sexual promiscuity that goes along with that”? The judge's proverbial slap on the privileged wrist, after citing Turner’s age, personal references and lack of criminal history and arguing a real prison sentence commensurate with his real crime "would have a severe impact on him," (kinda like the impact on the victim)? The twisted media narrative so often lamenting the lost promise - and fast swim times - of the little rich boy (maybe why just three of 100 rapists ever do any time?)
Or, in line with that narrative, the chillingly tone-deaf defense of his son by Brock's father Dan? Not even addressing the crime, he complains his son's life “has been deeply altered forever,” that he will “never be his happy go lucky self” again, that the poor kid doesn't even enjoy the chips and steak he used to savor, that a few months in prison seems “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life,” and that his son is “not violent,” except for the three violent offenses he was just convicted of.
In truth, by far the most vital piece of this saga is not the perpetrator's lame excuses or family's oblivious arrogance or judge's two-faced back-peddling - just imagine if this kid was black - all of which have prompted widespread outrage and a petition for the judge's recall. It's the still-unidentified victim's stunning statement to her rapist of the impact on her life. It was read on CNN, for once a great news call, and it deserves to be read everywhere. Starting fiercely with, "You don't know me, but you've been inside me," she describes her ordeal in eloquent detail, cites his narcissistic pronouncement he wants to "show people that one night of drinking can ruin a life," and rightly tears into it: "Ruin a life, one life, yours. You forgot about mine."
"Let me rephrase for you, I want to show people that one night of drinking can ruin two lives. You and me. You are the cause, I am the effect. You have dragged me through this hell with you, dipped me back into that night again and again. You knocked down both our towers, I collapsed at the same time you did. Your damage was concrete; stripped of titles, degrees, enrollment. My damage was internal, unseen, I carry it with me. You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today....In newspapers, my name was 'unconscious intoxicated woman'. For a while, I believed that that was all I was. I had to force myself to relearn my real name, my identity. To relearn that this is not all that I am. That I am not just a drunk victim at a frat party found behind a dumpster, while you are the All-American swimmer at a top university, innocent until proven guilty, with so much at stake. I am a human being who has been irreversibly hurt..."
She ends by addressing other victims: "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.. To girls everywhere, I am with you. Thank you." No. Thank you.
Twitter fixed the dad's statement