Usually I save this space for lighter topics, but this one really stuck a nerve.
When I was in college, it was standard that if a young lady drank too much, she was protected. The gentlemen or female Friends around her would make sure that she got home or at the very least, some place safe to sleep it off. My house was usually the place everyone crashed, so there were often friends in the couch, or on the floor even, safe and sound. I didn’t drink in college, so I was usually the designated driver, or the person who poured the coffee the next morning and handed them an aspirin.
Never, ever was it considered OK to take a woman to bed if she could not stand, much less if she were unconscious. So I am wondering when, in the space of 20 or years, did it become OK for someone like Brock Turner to rape an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, or anywhere for that matter? When did drinking too much alcohol become a free pass to take advantage of a woman, or anyone, in a sexual manner? When did the presence of alcohol become confused with consent and when did rape become condoned as “2o minutes of action” that was basically the fault of the defendant?
It is easy to boil this story down to a bunch of privileged, narcissistic egomaniacs thinking they are beyond reproach, and yes I do believe that is part of it. But I do think that there is more. Look at the person who did this to the woman, then read his father’s reasoning in his letter to the court. We all understand loving and standing by your children no matter what, but to say that young Brock is the victim over the young woman is beyond outrageous. It it reprehensible. And the apple does not fall far from the tree.
But the sad fact is that no matter how disgusting Brock and his father are, that the judge agreed is even worse. And no matter how outraged we are that this happened, unless or until law enforcement changes their attitude toward female victims, nothing will change.
And I have harsh words for the current situation and those who believe it is acceptable.
It has long been the habit of law enforcement to blame the female victim when it comes to violent crimes. If a women says someone beat her, attacked her or even raped her, she is immediately put in a place where she is guilty until proven innocent. A fact I found out the hard way five years ago when I was brutally attacked. Despite twenty witnesses, police photos of my injuries and my attacker’s prior criminal record of domestic violence, the case was dismissed for lack of evidence. Police blamed me for the attack and did not believe I did nothing to “provoke him”. Bottom line is there is nothing any woman could do to deserve being beaten and strangled within a few seconds of her life.
And, despite the comments of Brock’s father and the judge in the case, no amount of alcohol makes it acceptable to blame the woman for being sexually assaulted. And if you are of the mentality that it is, then you are part of the problem. It doesn’t matter if she was naked at that party and completely drunk, no means no, and being unconscious means, beyond a shadow of a doubt, NO. The fact that young men, older men, and even some of Brock’s female friends do not understand this is repulsive. It is basic human decency to not attack or assault someone when they are unconscious – how she became unconscious doesn’t even matter. Whether she had a medical condition, drank to much or was in a permanent vegetative state, she was not able to say yes or no.
Meanwhile, women are also often criticized for being feisty, for not giving men a chance, for being bitchy independent or too picky when it comes to men. As a single woman I can tell you that it is rough out there, and women have to be feisty in order to survive. And the fact that any women may be expected to lesson her spirit, her fire, her independence, her feisty, to make it easier for men, is unacceptable.
I have a wonderful man who loves me, but that does not lesson the fact that while most men are wonderful, women must always be on guard for the ones who are not.
A man will never know what it feels like to be a woman walking in a dark parking lot, or on a deserted street to her car. A man will never understand how it feels to have to be aware of your surroundings all the time when out, even when with friends. How protective we have to be in bars, even when out with friends, what kind of lines we are fed in those bars, in grocery stores, in the gym, at the bank, at work, and pretty much everywhere.
When I have a daughter, I will not only teach her how to be discerning with the friends she has in her life, but also the men she has in her life as well. I will teach her to be smart, and feisty, and confident. I will teach her to be fierce enough to make any man who mistreats her cower in the corner because he should know better than to mistreat or raise a hand to any woman. In short, I will teach her to breath fire, and be proud of it.
But I will also teach my son how to be a gentleman. That no means no, and that basic human decency is the very least he should do, and he better do more than that. It isn’t enough to just treat others with the most basic excuse of minimum treatment. He should rise and lead by example to not only be a champion of women, but to all those who are weaker than he. Because the bottom line is that if you want to know what is wrong with the young men in the world, look to their parents.
And, one of the most important things to teach, one of the most obvious absent values in Brock’s life, is accountability for one’s actions. It is not enough that his father thinks what was done is acceptable. Or that the attorney attacked this young woman on the stand, splaying her guts wide open for everyone to see, dissecting her life as wide as possible to humiliate her.
Brock is of legal age, he is a man. If he can get into that nice and expensive of a college, he has the power of deductive reasoning, and he can tell right from wrong. In that moment, behind the dumpster, he made a decision that forever changed her life. And the fact that he doesn’t like the consequences shouldn’t even be taken into consideration. If we freed or suspended the sentencing of every criminal who didn’t like being caught and paying the price, this world would truly be a terrible place.
If Brock Turner didn’t want to go to prison, if he didn’t want to be a registered sex offender, if he didn’t want to be known as a rapist, then maybe he shouldn’t have raped an unconscious women behind a dumpster. And if his father didn’t want to be embarrassed by having his son in the news for such a terrible act, maybe he should have taught him better morals and character. NOT raping an unconscious woman should never be the exception, it should be the rule.
The one good thing that might have come from this terrible situation, is that it is causing a tremendous amount of dialog, and people are becoming aware. It has brought attention to the fact that rape on college campuses is rampant (something that was true even when I attended). That many times, maybe even most times, law enforcement blames victims and makes it so hard for them, that many don’t even bother to come forward and report the crime. And that there is a subset of men out there, who are successful. good looking, accomplished…and completely devoid of conscious or remorse in how they treat member of the opposite sex.
Promiscuity and alcohol have nothing to do with rape. It doesn’t and should not matter how much a woman has had to drink, what she is wearing or what she was doing up to the point she says no. And to say that any of those things means a women is asking to be raped is unacceptable. We don’t say kid who talks to a child molester is asking for it.
No means no and alcohol is not, and never will be consent.