If you’ve been on social media today, you will have seen Stanford University trending. It should be a good thing. But it wasn’t.
Because, once again, a University rape has hit the headlines. The survivor of this heinous and hateful crime addressed her attacker in court. He deserves nothing but our contempt for his disgusting behaviour, for which he will only serve 6 months out of the possible 14 year sentence he faced for raping an unconscious 23 year-old woman.
Read her powerful statement here.
I, like lots of other young women, have had issues with my body. But I know that it is my own. It is mine to give to whomever I want. It is mine to bare. And it is mine to share with the person I choose. I don’t know how, in 2016, we can still live in a society where this is somehow a grey area. If I am drunk, it is my choice to be drunk. No, I’m not asking to be raped. No I’m not asking for anyone to put their hands on me. If I say no. I mean no. If I can’t say yes because I don’t know what I’m doing or where I am, do not put your hands on me. If I am unconscious. Do not put your hands on me. Do not touch me in any way. I am not, I repeat, not offering my body to you. For anything.
I don’t understand how a fully grown man in his twenties, can rape an unconscious young woman and then claim it was consensual sex. I really don’t. Because he is a liar. A liar and a rapist. Because at what point does an unconscious woman consent to any physical contact whatsoever? A jury convicted him of this crime, of 3 felonies, and yet, a cowardly and unfeeling Judge, sentenced this man to 6 months in jail so as to avoid any “severe impact on him.”
Are you kidding me?
Being raped is a gross violation on every single level because it doesn’t just stop there. There is the rape examination, the endless questions you have to answer over and over and over again from the police, your parents, your family, lawyers. Your entire life has changed forever, your body no longer feels like it belongs to you and then you have a defence lawyer and his client rewrite your very Self until you have no sense of who you are anymore. And then to top it all off the Judge himself puts your rapist’s life before your own. What about the “severe impact” on the woman this man raped? Why can Judge Persky sympathise with this rapist instead of his victim?
Is it really any wonder people are reluctant to report rapes? What is the point if the system fails? What is the point?
Brock Turner’s father should be ashamed of himself. Ashamed to have raised a rapist for a son. His life has apparently been turned upside down because of “20 minutes of action”. And the punishment, according to him, is too steep. He will serve 3 of the 6 months he has been sentenced to. How much more lenient can you get for 3 felonies? I wonder if he would be saying the same thing had his son been the one who had been raped that night. I am truly appalled by this man. This man, whose stupidity goes beyond anything I can fathom. If he had been my son I would have had to hold back on ending him myself. He would no longer be my son. I would implore the judge to lock him up and throw away the damn key.
Turner committed an abhorrent crime. A crime. And he is not paying for it. He is not taking any responsibility for it. He has shown no remorse for what he has done by upending the lives of a young woman and her entire family. And his father is excusing his disgusting behaviour. If we have father’s raising their children to be like this, things will never change.
Brock Turner deserves to spend the maximum time the crime he committed allows. Because there are endless cases of young men thinking that they can commit rape at Universities and get away with it. Nothing has changed. Ever year there is another story. Every year the rapist(s) get away with it. There is something so deeply wrong with the way the US and the UK handle rape. And yet, both countries have the gall to be outraged when other countries (India comes to mind) fail to improve the rape culture in their countries. So what if we have laws here? It all counts for nothing if rapists are continually allowed to get away with their crimes. What’s the point in having laws if they’re not enforced? How many more times is the system going to fail? How many more times is it going to protect the criminals?
To the beautiful and brave woman who survived this attack, I can only say that I have been thinking of you since I read your amazing statement. I think you’re strong. And I admire your bravery, your fire, your strength and your heart. And on the days you feel like you can’t be strong, you should know that there are so very many people out in this world who will be strong for you. There are so many people who have been inspired by you. Your words will help another survivor. Your words will inspire change. You have a voice and it is being heard all over the world. We are in awe of you.
And we are all praying that you can live a happy life and that Brock Turner, his parents and Judge Persky will one day fade into the background of your life and can never, ever hurt you again.
If you should ever feel alone. Remember one thing: you can’t see us but we are here.
We are here.