White Privilege & Rape Culture: Putting the victim on trial

Picture a young woman at a party with her sister. She’s had a few drinks and somehow or another, she finds herself separated from her sister at some point. Hours later, she would learn that after being separated from he sister, she was found being sexually assaulted behind a dumpster at a frat house by two good Samaritans who happened to be riding by. Luckily, they realized that it didn’t appear that the unconscious woman had consented to the sexual acts being performed on her, and they chased her would be rapist down. She would later learn all the details of her sexual assault at the hospital, while being administered a humiliating rape kit. As if all of this wasn’t bad enough, once it was all said and done, the rapist- a privileged white guy with rich parents who’s money would later allow him to only be sentenced to six months in prison, despite being found guilty of three felonies once the trial was over- would be the one feeling like the victim in all of this.

No, this isn’t an episode of Law & Order: SVU (although I suspect they will give us an episode based on these actual events) this happened in real life. And as with many other privileged white men who do despicable acts against innocent people, it took public outcry and outrage to even get Brock Turner’s mug shot released; because you know, they don’t want to tarnish the image of a white boy who was a great swimmer and who had dreams of competing in the Olympics one day. The fact that the media has been so focused on his promising future (which is surely shot to hell now) and less on his crime- raping an unconscious woman- speaks volumes loud enough to bust your eardrums.

You’d probably think this story can’t get any worse. Oh, but it can…and it does. You see, Brock’s daddy, Dan Turner (who is the reason why his son thought he could rape a woman and go on with his life as easily as if he’d taken her to prom and dropped her off safely at home by midnight) had the audacity to write a letter stating: ‘His son deserves probation, not jail and basically says that Brock-not his rape victim- is the real victim in all of this.’ In his letter, he  whines that “Brock’s life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve, and that the recommended sentence was a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life. He will never be his happy go lucky self with that easy going personality and welcoming smile,” the letter says, noting that the former Olympic hopeful is now a registered sex offender.

Dan Turner’s letter is equally as disgusting as the acts his son committed against his victim. He seems to imply that if the girl was stupid enough to allow herself to be raped by his son, it’s her fault, not his. Unfortunately, we live in a society where if a woman is raped or nearly raped, it’s automatically her fault. In the letter Brock’s victim read in court, she states what so many rape victims who chose to speak out about what happened to them have all found out- that people seem to care more about the person committing the crime than the person who was on the receiving end of the crime. She talked about how she learned what happened to her while reading the news story on her phone:

And then, at the bottom of the article, after I learned about the graphic details of my own sexual assault, the article listed his swimming times. 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.

Forget the fact that she’d been raped…let’s talk about what a great athlete he was. Sickening. She went on to say:

...he hired a powerful attorney, expert witnesses, private investigators who were going to try and find details about my personal life to use against me, find loopholes in my story to invalidate me and my sister, in order to show that this sexual assault was in fact a misunderstanding. That he was going to go to any length to convince the world he had simply been confused.

So sad..and so typical. This is rape culture and it sucks. I don’t care how much money a person has and how much they offer to pay me if I defend a rapist in court and did what I had to do in order to get him the lightest sentence possible, I couldn’t do it. All money ain’t good money, and if anyone on the defense has a daughter, mom, sister, or wife, I wonder how they can sleep at night, knowing they help this pimply-faced boy get a slap on the wrist for ruining this woman’s life. Let Dan Turner tell it, this is just a blemish on his son’s perfect record, and after he does his six months in jail, he can go back to his perfect life…where he likes to eat ribeye steaks and prey on more innocent young women. Meanwhile, his victim won’t have the same luxury. She mentions that ‘she’s plagued by nightmares, unable to rest her mind or body.’ She’ll have to endure the stares and whispers from strangers who will look at her and wonder if she didn’t somehow deserve it. She doesn’t get to move on from this.

The media and their doubles standards irk my soul. I seem to remember that back in 2012, and unarmed, 17 year old boy walked to the corner store one Sunday night to get snacks to eat on while watching a basketball game. That 17 year old boy- Trayvon Martin- would never go home again. Instead, he was murdered before he could make it there, by a man who preyed on him, stalked him in the rain and under the cover of darkness, provoked a fight with him, then shot and killed him when he started losing that fight. When police found Trayvon, he didn’t have stolen property on his person. He didn’t have a weapon. He had candy, a can of tea, and his cell phone. That’s it. Yet, the media and racist public didn’t waste a moment digging into Trayvon’s past- learning that he’d been suspended from school for having a fight (something most kids do) He didn’t have a perfect, squeaky clean background, so like Brock’s attorney, Trayvon’s killer’s lawyers used any and every piece of information they could, putting the deceased teenager on trial instead of the piece of shit who murdered him. His killer would later walk free, not even getting the slap on the wrist that Brock was given. Instead, he was given a free pass to go out there and hurt another innocent person, and brag about it to any and everybody who will listen. Just like Brock will do. With his father in his corner, he’ll never be forced to suffer the consequences of his actions- he’s privileged enough to not have to do that.

I can only hope that during the six months that Brock will have to serve in prison, he’s treated to the harsh reality of what happens when you go to prison. You see, his fathers money can’t protect him behind those prison walls. He won’t be treated to steaks and all the good snacks he wants, when he wants. He won’t be his happy-go-lucky self in there, and that’s the only good thing to come out of this story.

 

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