There are many things people shouldn’t do when they are angry: write an angry ranting email to the person you are angry with. Call the person you are angry with and unload on them. Depending on who that person is the consequences will have a sliding scale effect. It’s probably not wise to operate heavy machinery, attempt to cook dinner over a fire stove and handle knives or drive a car when one is angry. We might need to add ‘do not write blog entry when one is angry’ to the list of things to not do when one is angry.
I’ve no idea where this post will take me. It could just be an ambling rambling series of thoughts, incoherent sentences strung together. But one thing is sure. I am angry, very angry at this miscarriage of justice and how a rich white boy Brock Turner got a slap on the wrist for assaulting a woman while she was unconscious.
Brock Turner, a 20 year old sophomore at Stanford University, has just been convicted of sexual assault. The woman he assaulted is a 23 year old woman accompanying her little sister to a college party, she drank too much, blacked out, ended up behind a dumpster outside of the building and was assaulted by Brock Turner. She had no idea how she got there, she could barely walk. She tried looking for her sister and couldn’t find her, she even called her boyfriend and left him a voicemail to say she lost her sister and that she had drunk too much. The voicemail was incoherent, slurring, her boyfriend tried to call her back and couldn’t reach her. She doesn’t remember doing any of these things. She was three times above the legal limit and couldn’t remember a thing. She was rescued by two Swede graduate students who was cycling by and saw Brock Turner on top of a woman who wasn’t moving. They went to yank Turner off of the victim and as Turner (who was also drunk – twice above the legal limit) tried to run away, one of the guys chased him down, beat him and waited there until the police got there so he could be apprehended. One of the Swedes got so upset at the scene that he started crying.
The DA’s office released the victim’s powerful 7000 word victim impact statement in its entirety, in which she describes in horrific detail of what had happened to her, what she had to go through not just with the actual assault itself, but what the criminal justice system put her through to collect evidence so that the DA can try their case, only then to be put on the stand herself and be asked personal, intrusive and invasive questions about her personal life. Please read it. It’s hard to get through but it is exactly what domestic violence and sexual assault victims go through when they report their crimes and choose to press charges. They are violated over and over again. So for those ignoramuses who blame or question victims for not following through or not reporting the crimes committed against them yet have the nerve to complain about rape culture, read this and read it carefully and you will know why.
What the perpetrator’s criminal defense lawyer put her through on the stand was in its own way, violating her all over again. She was asked about her life, her sex life, was she promiscuous (but in a matter of fact, non-judgmental way), what did she eat, what did she drink, what her general ‘habits’ were? Meaning is she prone to just dropping trou at every boy she meets. Never mind the fact that this woman is in a long term relationship. In short, she was legally slut-shamed for the purpose of the perpetrator getting his ‘day in court’ or what they call ‘due process’. The cherry on top is when Brock Turner testified in his own defense that it wasn’t some criminal sexual assault he carried out, they had ‘met’ that night, spoke, talked, danced, even flirted and he got consent for all of those things, never mind the fact that his victim couldn’t remember any of it. She could barely stand up, but he didn’t help her maintain upright and get her to a chair and get her a glass of water or find her sister, no he took her outside behind a dumpster and assaulted her. But it was all a big misunderstanding, he was drunk, she was drunk, he swears she consented. No one can really remember, so who cares?
The case also revealed a disgusting legal loophole, if the victim, as in this case can’t remember what happened to her, her account of events won’t count in court. Since she can only remember what happened before the assault and after assault (on a stretcher going to a local hospital to get herself examined) and not during; the official account of what happened during the assault can only come from the perpetrator, which in this case is Brock Turner. This means he can make up any story that will get him off. Since she can’t remember a thing, he can say she consented even though she wasn’t in a position to consent.
Brock Turner was convicted by a jury on three felony charges. His sentence should have been a maximum of 14 years in state prison, the prosecutor recommended 6-10 years in prison because he was a first time offender. The judge decided to give him a 6 month sentence, 3 years probation and to be registered as a sex offender for the rest of his life. With good behavior he could be out in three months. Brock Turner’s father Dan Turner wrote a disgusting defense of his son:
As it stands now, Brock’s life has been deeply altered forever by the events of Jan 17th and 18th. He will never be his happy go lucky self with that easy going personality and welcoming smile. His every waking minute is consumed with worry, anxiety, fear and depression. You can see this in his face, the way he walks, his weakened voice, his lack of appetite. Brock always enjoyed certain types of food and is a very good cook himself. I was always excited to buy him a big ribeye steak to grill or to get his favorite snack for him. I had to make sure to hide some of my favorite pretzels or chips because I knew they wouldn’t be around long after Brock walked in from a long swim practice. Now he barely consumes any food and eats only to exist. These verdicts have broken and shattered him and our family in so many ways. His life will never be the one 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. The fact that he now has to register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life forever alters where he can live, visit, work, and how he will be able to interact with people and organizations. What I know as his father is that incarceration is not the appropriate punishment for Brock. He has no prior criminal history and has never been violent to anyone including his actions on the night of Jan. 17th 2015. Brock can do so many positive things as a contributor to society and is totally committed to educating other college age students about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity. By having people like Brock educate others on college campuses is how society can begin to break the cycle of binge drinking and its unfortunate results. Probation is the best answer for Brock in this situation and allows him to give back to society in a net positive way.
So much about this case makes me angry. But nothing makes me see red more than a rich middle-aged white man, making excuses for his spoiled entitled son after committing one of the most heinous crimes in the world. Dan Turner reduced the crimes of his son into “20 minutes of action” which will tar him for the rest of his life. Are we supposed to feel sorry for him? What about his victim? What about her life?
And this: “He has no prior criminal history and has never been violent to anyone including his actions on the night of Jan. 17th 2015.” So sticking a foreign object into another woman while she’s unconscious is not an act of violence? Then what exactly do you call that?
And the final salvo – “Brock can do so many positive things as a contributor to society and is totally committed to educating other college age students about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity.” So the problem is sexual promiscuity not that his son is a rapist. One more time, Brock Turner took an incapacitated victim outside of the building, took her behind a dumpster, she was unconscious, he undressed her, inserted foreign objects in her body; she woke up on a stretcher on the way to a hospital. She was confused on how she got pinecones and pine needles and other foreign objects on her and inside of her. Her underwear was missing. The next day, she got to read about herself in the news. An intoxicated unconscious woman was assaulted by a college freshman. She was found half naked from the waist down, curled up in a fetal position, blacked out. If those 2 Swede graduate students didn’t find her, there’s no telling what else could have happened to her. The fact that Brock Turner ran away from the scene because he was being chased by intimidating ‘big’ guys doesn’t point to his guilt according to Turner’s attorney. Turner was being randomly assaulted by big men while having sex and he was running away from that, not that he was raping an unconscious woman.
This is what rape culture looks like. It’s being kept alive by shaming and silencing the victims. It’s a grand conspiracy starting with the institutions which are supposed to protect the victim. In this case, the police, prosecutors and investigators did their jobs and according to the victim, they all treated her with dignity and respect, or as much dignity as the situation would allow. She was still subjected to microscopic scrutiny of her body and personal life. And if the perpetrator is a rich white boy on a swimming scholarship to Stanford University, and the judge in this case, Aaron Persky also went to Stanford University and was the captain of the lacrosse team, to the judge, this type of behavior from student athletes is normal — the perpetrator gets a 6 month sentence plus probation. And boo hoo he needs to registered as a sex offender for the rest of his life which according to his father is unfair.
Like all white privileged misogynist pigs, the fact that the victim drank too much became a point of focus. If she drank too much to remember, how can she be so sure she was assaulted? Because 2 other men on bicycles found Turner raping her, called the police, ambulance and it was confirmed she was raped. The defense spent an extraordinary amount of time analyzing just when she became too drunk to remember anything because only then does the criminal culpability of the defendant count. Even if she was semi-upright, slurring her words, making silly faces and was saying “yes” to everything that was being asked of her, she consented and the defendant isn’t responsible.
One of the most often repeated phrases by legal scholars is “the law is dispassionate and colorblind” (the color being green), because of its dispassionate nature, it’s how justice is won in courts. Cases are won by holding dispassionate trials, the facts or evidence presented to the jury and they will determine the outcome and based upon the outcome, the judge will determine the sentence. Except it’s all bullshit. The law isn’t dispassionate, it certainly isn’t color blind. In rape cases and even murder cases, the victim is often put on trial. For rape cases, the victim may be too traumatized to speak out. For murder cases, the victim is dead and cannot defend itself. OJ Simpson got off murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend because she was put on trial. She was a slut, Ron Goldman just happened to be there, she dared to move on to other relationships after her divorce. The fact that she was a victim of domestic abuse during her marriage and that OJ Simpson continued to stalk her after their divorce, and maybe that’s the reason for her divorce hardly made any difference – OJ was never convicted of domestic abuse and even if he were, most half decent defense attorneys can get prior convictions thrown out and OJ had the best defense team in the country. In the Brock Turner case, it was the victim’s fault too. She drank too much, she can’t handle herself and ‘miscommunicated’ her desires to the opposite sex so she got assaulted. She shouldn’t drink so much if she can’t handle herself. Never mind that Brock Turner admitted that he wanted to “hook up” with someone that night and he admitted to having an erection but it was because it was cold not because he had other nefarious ideas in mind.
Brock Turner and his father Dan Turner epitomizes male white privilege. Brock Turner is attending an elite university on an athlete’s scholarship, he was a star swimmer so says every single news report on this case. His father immediately hired a high dollar defense attorney to defend his son, when it would have been better to plead it out, since the evidence and facts in this case is irrefutable. But it’s also his right to put on a dog and pony show to get his charges and sentence reduced or acquitted, except in this case the jury returned the right verdict they were not persuaded or intimidated by a powerful expensive defense attorney. It was the judge that was dirty.
It does not stray far from people’s minds if the defendant in this case wasn’t a rich white boy but a middle class or even rich black or brown boy, how the results would have been different. A black or brown defendant would get the book thrown at him, as it should be for all rape convicts. That the worst thing which will happen to Brock Turner is being registered as a sex offender for the rest of his life, which is really a minor inconvenience, his parents will find him a job, he’ll finish his degree, if he can’t find anyone to rent an apartment to him, mommy and daddy will step in, but his victim is scarred for life.
Currently, the judge in this case Aaron Persky is facing a recall campaign led Aaron Persky is facing a recall campaign led by a law professor at Stanford University. Now if there’s only a national database where we can put the names of corrupt judges and lawyers on there so that no one will hire them and that their reputations will tarred for life – will there any be real justice for the victims. The judge in this case had the opportunity to carry out justice for the victim, all the other branches of the criminal justice system did their part, but he chose the fraternity instead.