Typical Saturday nights on a college campus, even an Ivy League, include heading out to a frat house for a bit of fun with friends. On January 17, 2015 our victim intended to do just that, taking out her sister who came for a visit. Unlike any other person at that party, she drank. She drank a lot. But she was with her friends, her sister, her peers. She didn’t think twice that she was unsafe. Until she woke up in a hospital bed. Two bikers around one in the morning witnessed Brock Turner on top of an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. The bikers chased him and held him down until police arrived. Our victim was retrieved from behind the dumpster, pine needles everywhere, her dress no where near where she intended it to be, undergarments missing. This is what a sexual assault or rape case looks like. The victim went through the rape victim procedure at the hospital. Turner was tried with three felonies. But his punishment did not comply with the rest of the case.
The former Stanford athlete, Judge Aaron Perksy, was the final say on this case. He sentenced Turner to six months in jail and three years probation. He believed that “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on [Turner].” Not thinking about what kind of impact Turner’s actions had on the victim of this case would be. Turner’s father sent a letter to the judge, asking him to go easy on his son because he was very distraught and couldn’t eat his favorite food, steak, anymore. Turner was released three months into his sentence on good behavior. The response was dozens of people waiting outside the jail station to show their outrage with the decision. Although the law failed our victim, the public did not.
Journalist Jules Barrueco states, “The nation heard this woman scream into the night, and felt compelled to scream with her.” The national response to this Judge was swift and effective. A change.org pettition of 1.2 million people demanded the judge be benched. The public heard our victim’s voice as she stood up to tell Brock Turner, Judge Perksy and the jury how the night and Turner’s “20 minutes of action” affected her. Turner derailed her life. He made her body not her own anymore because he deemed it was his right to have her. That because of her level of intoxication or her unconsciousness or her dress, her right as a human being disappeared.
There is no more defending Turner’s actions. There is no place for saying how his world should be spared because he ‘made a mistake’. There will be no more ‘boys will be boys’ or ‘what was she wearing?’ As if your gender or an item of clothing is an automatic consent. The world that society has created
perpetuates this culture. It’s a society that tells girls ‘don’t get raped’ instead of telling boys ‘don’t rape’. The culture of defending the attackers and not the victims is one we must destroy. We must destroy the idea that anyone’s body is someone else’s to own or take or use. Consent needs to be embedded from the very beginning of children’s upbringing. The locker-room culture where boys talk about girls bodies in a way that expresses that bodies are all that girls have to offer. This culture, this defence of rapists needs to be stopped. No more screaming in the night for help. We must now scream together that this culture needs to stop.
Stand with the victims, stand with their families. Bring and end to the culture of those who harm others and those who defend them.