There are so many things wrong with the story that I’m posting about today that I can’t even fully articulate how I feel about it.
In case you haven’t seen it or don’t have time to read it, let me give you a précis.
A student went to a party, got very drunk (by her own admission) and then woke up in hospital having been sexually assaulted by a student behind a rubbish bin. She had no recollection of the assault, or the perpetrator, but luckily two passers by had seen the attack and dragged him off, keeping him pinned to the floor until the police arrived.
So far, so standard, right? I mean that not all flippantly. But unfortunately this is not an unusual story. Too many males of the species seem to think that a drunk woman is fair game for them to treat as they please. Thank god for the passers by, who not only reported it, but actually got physically involved to ensure the attacker was caught.
Here’s where the story gets nasty, and the victim of the attack gets assaulted all over again. Despite an overwhelming 100% guilty verdict by the jury, the attacker was sentenced to just 6 months in prison. To put that into context, the maximum sentence the judge could have passed for the crimes he was found guilty of was 14 years.
The reasoning the judge has given for his leniency is that this was the attacker’s first crime, and that a lengthy incarceration would have a sever impact on him.
Yes, that’s right, the judge is considering the feelings of the attacker over the victim.
At this point it’s probably worth noting that the attacker is a white male, a privately educated student with a promising swimming career ahead of him. He hopes to become an Olympian.
It’s also worth noting that the judge is an ex student of the same university.
I don’t necessarily believe white privilege is a thing, and I certainly believe it’s bandied about recklessly and inappropriately by those wishing to excuse their own behaviour, but in this case it seems a worthy explanation. If this was a black guy with previous convictions from the wrong side of the tracks, I have no doubt that the sentence would have been more severe. But the crime would have been the same. The effect on the victim would have been the same.
Incidentally, the victim has done everything she can not to be a victim. She stood up in court and faced the scumbag who tried to take away her dignity and privacy that night and she read a 7000 word statement detailing what she has been through and how it has made her feel. That statement has been released publicly and you can read it here. I implore you to do so. It’s lengthy and at times hard going, but it’s honesty and rawness should be read my men and women alike. A sexual assault isn’t just something a woman can get over, whether justice is served or not. It will remain with her, in one form or another, forever. It will shape her future, regardless of how she tries to not let it.
What we are seeing here is another example of the feelings and rights of women not being taken seriously. Instead, the attacker – who’s name is Brock Allen Turner – has the law on his side, despite he fact that he broke it. The judge said he doesn’t believe Turner is a future risk. Really? Because giving him the message that he can rape a woman with little recourse for his actions certainly raises a green flag for him to believe that his behaviour wasn’t “all that bad”. Further not helped by his deluded and arrogant father, who asked the judge not to throw away his son’s future on the basis of “20 minutes of action” during his 20 years of life. I kid you not. “20 minutes of action”. If that’s not a living breathing misogynistic pig then I don’t know what is. He points out that his son, who likes to cook, hardly eats anymore, and will never be his previous happy go lucky self. Really? That’s a defence?
He also believes his son can play a powerful role in spreading the message about excessive drinking and promiscuity.
Let’s be clear here. There was no promiscuity. This was a predatory and non consensual attack. Let’s also stop any suggestion that the victim “deserved it” because she has been drinking. She did not invite this attack. She did not want or choose to be violated. She shouldn’t have to apologise for being drunk. She shouldn’t have to apologise for anything.
There’s a petition in place to recall the Judge on account of his appallingly bad sentencing and inability to understand the severity of not only the case, but his leniency.
Thanks, as always, for reading. x