Brock Turner is a swimmer. He's a Stanford student. He's got 39 people vouching for his character. He's someone we can trust--specifically a judge. Specifically the judge of the case in which Turner was a convicted rapist. Trusted enough to be taken at his word. He's sorry. He feels really bad. Luckily, the judge understands.
This is the order we see Brock Turner's case in: first, swimmer and Stanford. Then, all of the people who can vouch for him. Then, he's sorry. He just feels so bad. And somewhere in there, like a Wheat Thin in a bag of Cheez-Its, is the word "rapist."
Why is it that Turner is getting excused for his actions? Why is Turner the swimmer, the student, the kid who did the darnedest thing? Why did the judge feel comfortable with "taking him at his word"? Why is his family making excuses for him? Why are his friends going on about what a great guy he is? Most importantly, why is his victim known only as unconscious intoxicated woman? Why is she being questioned for how much she drank, how she was behaving, what kind of "signals" she was giving him? Why was she forced to face her attacker in court only to find out that he will be serving a measly 6 months in jail?
According to the chilling letter the woman wrote to Turner and read aloud to him in court, "she was found breathing, unresponsive with her underwear six inches away from her bare stomach curled in fetal position. By the way, he’s really good at swimming...the end is where you list your extracurriculars to cancel out all the sickening things that’ve happened." After waking up in a hospital and finding out what happened to her through news articles, she became aware that she had been raped. She had no recollection of the event--only bruises, cuts, and an excruciating pain between her legs.
The rapist is the swimmer; the victim of rape is the intoxicated woman. How fucked up is that? We need to stop pardoning criminals because they "made a mistake," because they're good students or athletes or friends. Because as exalted as these actions are, they simply don't cancel out the offense of rape. In fact, I don't see anything that does. A young man walks into a courtroom expected to serve 14 years in jail for his crime and comes out with a slap on the wrist. A young woman's entire life is ruined; she is traumatized, physically and emotionally scarred, and diminished to "intoxicated woman." Something is wrong with this picture. Why is nothing being done to fix it?
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