I had another post scheduled for today, but this is more pressing.
I actually wrote this post last night, and decided to sleep on it in an effort to determine whether or not it was something I actually wanted to speak to. I can still feel my blood boiling as I sit here pressing publish, but when bullshit happens out in the world, and it hits close to home, and you have a platform, you react. You speak up. You contribute. You hope that somebody, somewhere, is (rather unfortunately) feeling what you’re feeling. So if you’re here, and you’ve read the title of this post, I can only assume you are as furious as I am.
In case you missed it, on Thursday, after originally facing 14 years in prison, Brock Turner was sentenced to a pitiful six months in county jail for viciously assaulting a young woman and for deserting her banged up body behind a dumpster like a piece of fucking street litter. She was left alone, half-naked, privates exposed, incapacitated, and didn’t find out what had happened until she came to in a hospital gurney, covered in dried blood and bruises, while being asked to sign her own rape victim paperwork. She read about the details of her assault for the first time in a news article shortly after, which savagely listed the perpetrator’s swimming times alongside the details of the crime as if they were supposed to somehow soften the blow of his malicious acts. As if being a fast swimmer doesn’t make him a sex offender. As if holding a state record negates that he was also caught grinding his hands and genitals on and inside of an unconscious woman without her consent.
And that’s not all.
Clearly, enough salt hadn’t been rubbed into the victim’s literal wounds, because Brock Turner’s father wrote a remarkably offensive, tone-deaf plea to Judge Persky prior to the sentencing, which was released to the public yesterday. In this egregious letter, we see Dan Turner beg Judge Persky to go easy on his son, because the THREE FELONIES he committed had taken a toll on Brock.
He states (in such a dense manner that it feels like a sick joke), that a promising young man with an otherwise spotless criminal record shouldn’t be penalized for 20 minutes of action. He then (and this is where my eyes begin to cross) explains what a tragedy it is that his son can’t enjoy his favorite rib eye steaks anymore…(along with his favorite accouterments…like pretzels and chips.) He blubbers that his son now has to register as a sex offender for life, while ignoring the painful inflictions and violations the victim must also carry for life. He whines that his poor Brock is broken and shattered, while failing to mention that his son is responsible for breaking and shattering another person’s perceptions of safety and security. He continues that poor Brock is now afraid to go out in public while completely disregarding that that the young woman his son assaulted is now afraid to be inside her own body.
Actions have consequences, and having clean criminal record doesn’t mean you can’t become a criminal. What we have done in the past, what we are capable of doing, and what we actually choose to do in life are not all the same thing.
What this ruling symbolizes is terrifying. That as women in a court of law, we are STILL not considered equals. We are actually barely considered human beings. That all of the evidence, DNA, and eye witnesses in the world still don’t measure up against a collegiate swimming career. That if you’re a young, rich, white male athlete at a prestigious school, and you can throw enough dollars at decent lawyer, you’ll get away with assault. And if not assault, rape. And if not rape, murder. Slippery slopes become landslides. A ruling was made to blatantly salvage the future of a young man who couldn’t control his own libido. Our bodies do not belong to us if we are not awake to speak for them. Being sober and dressed appropriately is a prerequisite to whether or not consent matters. We are the problem.
Women drinking are not the problem.
Women are not the problem.
Women are not a problem.
Are we clear?
Yet, in the wake of this grotesque occurrence, somehow, I am proud.
I am proud that we are holding Brock accountable for his actions even if his father and the courtroom will not. I am proud that Dan Turner’s letter sparked nationwide outrage, and poured kerosene on an already blazing fire. I am proud that the victim refuses to be victimized by Brock Turner, his family, their lawyers, and Judge Persky. I am proud to be one of many standing behind this brave young college student, stomping my feet, shaking the cages, speaking my mind, and raising a little hell with the rest of the Internet. I am proud to link arms with the men and women around the country who have called, written, signed petitions, shared articles, and who refuse to accept that in America, being a white, wealthy, male athlete at a reputable university absolves you of consequence.
This cannot continue to be the standard. This is NOT fucking good enough.
To the victim (who remains anonymous): I am proud of you. We are all proud of you. Thank you for being a lighthouse and fearlessly shining your light on this story. Thank you for shining brightly for every woman. For all of us. From all of us. Please know, you will never be lost again.
We are shining back at you. We hope that you see us.
**I have signed what has felt like countless petitions in the last 48 hours, but if you’d like to sign as well, I’ve listed a few below for easy access.**