Read the Stanford sex assault victim impact statement? You probably didn’t need to
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If there’s anything that the reaction to the sentencing of Brock Turner proves, it’s that sexual assault is not a real thing when it’s a man you know who is responsible for it. Let’s look at the evidence. We have Turner’s father, bemoaning the loss of his “happy-go-lucky” son and worried about him seeming quite sad and losing his appetite after stripping and fingering an unconscious human woman behind a dumpster then running away. (His son has also never been violent towards anyone, including on the night in question, despite him assaulting someone being unanimously agreed upon by a jury.) We have Turner’s female friend, Leslie Rasmussen, who claims that Turner is “not a real rapist” and that stripping and fingering an unconscious human woman behind a dumpster then running away is “completely different from a woman getting kidnapped and raped as she is walking to her car in a parking lot.” (You might want to read up on the definition of sexual assault before you make that kind of public comment in the future, Leslie.) Finally we have the sentencing judge, Aaron Persky, declaring that a long sentence for stripping and fingering an unconscious human woman behind a dumpster then running away would have a “severe impact” on Turner (because middle class white boys who rape might have a hard time in prison, presumably.) If you feel like banging your head against a wall after reading these statements, you’re probably not alone. Of course, the main slap in the face for women the world over is the paltry six months that Brock Turner will spend behind bars for his crime. After he’s released, he’ll be on probation until he’s all of 23 years old. That’s how old his victim was when he decided to sexually assault her, just for context. The message of this sentence for women is clear: the impact his actions have on you is less important than the impact they have on him. Your self worth, fragile as it is likely to be, is less important than his. Deal with it. Oh, you can’t? Had to leave work because you can’t get through the day without falling apart? Rinsing your savings in order to stay alive? Think about poor Brock – he sacrificed a career on the Olympic swim team when he attacked you behind a dumpster! He’s having a really hard time; that’s what people need to realise. His life has been deeply altered forever. The fact that he now has to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life forever alters where he can live, visit, work, and how he will be able to interact with others. (Direct quote from Dan A. Turner, in case you hadn’t picked that up.) All of the above, added to the huge denial that Turner is now in – believing that he can prove himself as a valuable member of society by lecturing others on the “dangers of binge drinking and promiscuity” – rather than admitting his own guilt as a sexual offender, unanimously agreed on by a jury, adds to the infuriating conclusion of this case.
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