I want to use this opportunity to speak up about the injustice of the Stanford rape case.
I've been sick to my stomach over it the last couple days. We live in a society where misogyny, victim blaming, slut shaming, and rape culture run rampant. In a nutshell: The Stanford victim was unconscious and raped next to a dumpster, and two witnesses who saw what was happening had to chase and tackle Brock Turner to the ground, holding him there until police arrived.
All this should have been the perfect recipe for a strong conviction and due sentence, right? Brock Turner faced up to 14 years in state prison when he was convicted of three felonies: assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object, and sexually penetrating an unconscious woman with a foreign object. Prosecutors asked for six years. But Judge Aaron Persky's final ruling was to give him only six months, saying that any longer would have a "severe impact" on the rapist. Isn't that the point of serving time??
To add insult upon injury, we see Brock Turner's father has issued a heinous letter on Brock's behalf, saying that poor Brock has anxiety and will never enjoy steak the same way again (what even...?). He says the consequences of Brock's own actions are "a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action".
(Fixed it, though. Thanks, internet.)
I beg of you to read the victim's statement. The way this entire case was handled just goes to show how incredibly difficult it is for rape victims to not only come forward, but find justice. This is why so many women choose to stay silent about their rapes. Victims are constantly blamed for rapes (Are you sexually promiscuous? Were you wearing revealing clothing? Were you drunk?) as if any factors other than clear consent nullify accusations of rape. A woman can be naked and you still do not have permission to touch her if she did not give it. And on the flip side, we see men painted as fallen stars--The Washington Post titled their article with "All-American swimmer found guilty of sexually assaulting unconscious woman on Stanford campus". OK. We don't care that he's white. Or that he's an athlete. HE'S A RAPIST. And in that article, they wax poetic on Brock Turner's upbringing and achievements, trying to make the audience empathize with the poor privileged white kid who "fell from grace". According to them, it appears he's the REAL victim here because of the loss of his bright future. The amount of victim shaming in that article (and in society!) is absurd. Take, for instance, their comparing how much drunker she was than he was. Alcohol consumption doesn't somehow negate the severity of this crime.
I read a very poignant comment regarding this case. Someone noted, "I don't claim this to be a fact, but I see a pattern emerging in rape culture that suggests women have a past, while men have a potential. When women are violated, we're asked, 'What did you do to deserve this?' and often our past is looked at for clues. When men violate women, they're asked, 'What do you have to lose?' and their future is looked at for clues."
I would be wasting my "influence" and reach if I didn't use them for good. It's jarring that we women all have a Brock-like story. Let's band together and fight for what's right. Today, I'm calling on you, my wonderful, woke, good-hearted kindred spirits, men and women and gender nonbinary people alike, to take a stand with the Stanford rape victim. We need to send a message that rape is wrong, this sentence was not enough, and justice was not served. Sign the petition to unseat Aaron Persky and fill out this form. The information you will need is as follows:
Name of Judge: Aaron Persky
Court: State Bar
County: Santa Clara
Name and case number: State of California vs. Brock Allen Turner Case #B1577162
Please specify: Appearance of bias toward a particular class: Persky sentenced fellow alumni and athlete of Stanford university to an unusually lenient sentence of 6 months for a unanimously guilty verdict on three counts of sexual assault, despite Mr. Turner showing no remorse and being caught in the act. Inappropriate comments on the bench: "A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him (Brock Turner)" in relation to why this convicted rapist would serve such a short sentence.
Present parties include Brock Turner/Aaron Persky/Jeff Rosen/Mike Armstrong/Emily Doe/others
I am also involved in a nonprofit event happening on June 15 in NYC, where partygoers can get together and fill out stamped, addressed forms aiming to unseat Judge Aaron Persky. We need all the help we can get. If anyone has any connections to paper supplies (paper, envelopes), stamps, pens, and *the biggie* an alcohol sponsor, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to donate supplies, please email katie@KLLERCOLLECTION.com. And if you want to volunteer, please email email@example.com! I'll have more info on the event in the coming days, and hopefully we can celebrate in the name of feminism and justice!
Let's pave the way for a better future for women, together.
Cover photo courtesy of BuzzFeed News.