By Greg Price
Perhaps at this point, it is simply piling on when it comes to the outrage North America has felt over the laughable sentence handed out to convicted rapist Brock Turner, but for myself, my blood is still boiling.
Doing more and more research into the Stanford swimming standout who was sentenced to six months in county jail for a January 2015 sexual assault of a 23-year-old victim who was half-naked and unconscious, dragged behind a dumpster on Stanford’s campus the night of the attack, I simply continue to shake my head that through all common sense and rationality, it has come to this.
Come to this in that if Turner shows good behaviour, he will be out of jail barely past his 21st birthday, you know that pesky age limit where people are legally allowed to drink alcohol in the United States — that evil thing in alcohol Turner blamed his actions on as part of the ‘party culture.’
Funny thing is, I was part of that party culture back in the late ‘90’s when I was taking my journalism training in college. I was the entertainment editor for the college newspaper, went to lots of concerts, house parties, pub crawls, all with plenty of booze in my hand and I don’t ever recall an uncontrollable desire to pull an unconscious woman behind a dumpster and have my way with her.
As I’m sure basically every reader who is reading this right now is having the exact same thought going through their head as the above paragraph in recollecting their past college experience.
The crime had a maximum of 14 years and a MINIMUM of two years, but Judge Aaron Persky thought Turner’s case had special circumstances and that “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him. I think he will not be a danger to others.” He is an elite-level swimmer don’t you know, from a well-to-do white family, a lengthy prison sentence would have a much more severe impact on him than, say, your common college student working two jobs just so they can earn a four-year degree to be a contributing, tax paying member of society. Apparently jocks have to stick together, with Persky having been captain of Stanford’s lacrosse team back in his athletic prime. Just look at those swim times he posted as shown in an article that was supposed to be about a rape victim. How is he going to train for the Olympics if he’s in jail?
All around you, you see people making up excuses for an act that actually had one of the two Swedish Stanford students who saved the 23-year-old victim from the rape continuing, weeping repeatedly in his testimony in recalling what he saw. Brock says he was just an innocent guy who had never really drank before and was shattered by the party culture, despite texts from his phone from previous years that perhaps he was not an innocent newbie when it came to alcohol and drugs. Women have come forward according to published reports saying the Stanford swimmer made numerous unwanted advances towards them in the weeks leading up to the rape.
Brock’s childhood friend Leslie Rasmussen talked of how everyone is jumping on the hatred of Brock Turner because of ‘political correctness,’ as how can you equate drunken college party sex to some perv snatching people off the street or from their cars? “Where do we draw the line and stop worrying about being politically correct every second of the day and see that rape on campuses isn’t always because people are rapists. This is completely different from a woman getting kidnapped and raped as she is walking to her car in a parking lot. That is a rapist. These are not rapists. These are idiot boys and girls having too much to drink and not being aware of their surroundings and having clouded judgment.”
Not aware of their surroundings? Apparently Rasmussen missed the memo of how Turner fled the scene when those two Stanford students approached him. I guess at that exact moment, Turner sobered up enough to realize his surroundings and knew he was doing something wrong. If it was just your run- of-the-mill college sex, why would he flee?
Then of course, there is the clueless father saying Brock has suffered enough. His love of steak has lessened due to an impaired appetite from the stress and after all, why should a promising young man suffer for the rest of his life for ‘20 minutes of action.’
“Incarceration is not the appropriate punishment for Brock. (Brock) is totally committed to educating other college-age students about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity,” said his father.
Still trying to compute how scraps and bruises all over the victim’s body, pine needles in her vagina and eye-witness testimony from her saviors how she was not moving ‘the entire time’ is the same as college ‘sexual promiscuity’ and ‘20 minutes of action.’
But alas, this is the North American culture when it comes to sex that we have helped nurture. I myself in my younger years have put a pillow under a woman’s head and thrown a blanket over her on a couch or tucked her into bed in a spare bedroom and made sure she was safe (puke bucket detail, getting her a glass of water, making sure she doesn’t fall) at a house party. Nevertheless, people have wondered why I didn’t seal the deal, even making jokes about my sexuality. Perhaps the people who were making fun of me didn’t know of the level of intoxication at the time of the woman, but I was thinking to myself, ‘No, I’m not a prude or homosexual, I’m a friend who is simply not a rapist.’
You enjoy sex? That makes you a stud if you’re a man and a slut if you’re a woman. And with jokes of a sentence like Turner got where there was no grey area to the crime, why would a woman come forward and be victimized all over again during the trial? What were you wearing at the time? How much did you have to drink? How many sexual partners have you had in your past? So wearing a revealing dress and having double-digit sexual partners from your past somehow implies consent while you are unconscious?
You see movies all the time of two people in bed where there they can’t remember what happened the night before and there’s a sly wink to the audience with an accompanying laugh track. It’s glamourized in movies, so it must make it OK.
According to sexassualt.ca, out of every 100 incidents of sexual assault, only six are reported to police in Canada.
One in four North American women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime.
Until we in North America take a firm stance with how serious sex crimes actually are with its prosecution, by focusing on the perpetrator instead of the victim in our legal system, teach our youth (and adults) what healthy, consensual sex is all about and the respect that is inherent in that, and stop uses excuse after excuse to deflect personal responsibility over ones actions, cases like that of Turner will be commonplace — both reported and unreported.