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The outcome of the Brock Turner case terrifies me.

The outcome of the Brock Turner case terrifies me.

 

In March 2016, a former college student, Brock Turner, was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault that occurred against a woman in January 2015, yet sentenced to six months in county jail and probation. He got six months jail time for a crime that stripped a woman of her dignity, her value, and her safety. Brock was a champion swimmer though, a privileged student at a top university. He had a bright future ahead of him! So six months should do, right?

No. It will not do, it never could, and it never will. Six months is nothing, six months goes past in the blink of an eye. Not being able to sleep, not being able to go to work, fearing social gatherings, trying to remember who you are under the identity that the media has given you, and having to question your worth under a judicial system that prioritises a man who clearly wronged you, lasts longer than six months. Those difficulties take much more than six months to overcome. They take counselling sessions, doctors appointments, nights of no sleep, and worse: an immense amount of time and pain. Those difficulties may never even be overcome. Turner faced fourteen years for his crimes, and he walked away with six months. I fail to see how any decent, sane human being, let alone a trained judge, could think this ruling was remotely just.

Turner’s attack against the woman went much further than behind a dumpster at a party, but extended into the court room itself. With enough money and fabrication his attorney was able to work tirelessly to build a case against the young woman. In her open letter to Brock she states how she was ‘pummeled with narrowed, pointed questions that dissected’ her ‘personal life, love life, past life, family life.’ She goes on to describe how they accumulated ‘trivial details to try and find an excuse for this guy who had me half naked before even bothering to ask for my name.’ In her desperately sad but powerful letter she continues, listing the questions she had thrown at her, how they had asked ‘‘Did you drink with dinner? No, not even water? When did you drink? How much did you drink? What container did you drink out of? Who gave you the drink? How much do you usually drink? … Did you drink in college? You said you were a party animal? How many times did you black out? Did you party at frats? Are you serious with your boyfriend? Are you sexually active with him?”, in a perverse attempt to pick out enough information to get Brock Turner a reduced sentence. It worked.

The saddest thing is that this sort of outcome from a sexual abuse case, and handling of it, is not new. In 2012, a 16 year old girl from Ohio was publicly and repeatedly sexually assaulted by multiple peers, with her ordeal being documented on social media. One would think that the case would have been straight forward and that public opinion would be disgust and repulsion against the girl’s attackers, yet this was not so. Multiple CNN reporters were later criticised for instead showing sympathy for the rapists, given their ‘promising futures’ as football stars, and school officials themselves were charged in attempting to cover up the attack. The victim was linked to promiscuity, blamed for being too intoxicated and putting herself in a vulnerable position. Both of the two convicted walked free in early 2015, with Ma’lik Richmond serving just under a year in prison, and Trent Mays, two.

I feel it is therefore unsurprising that according to RAINN, for every 1,000 sexual assault cases, only 344 are reported to police, and for every 344 cases, 6 rapists are imprisoned. As a woman, I do not feel like my sexual and physical safety is at the top of the agenda. I do not feel that should I, my friends or loved ones, be put in such a harrowing position, the judicial system or public opinion, would be 100% on our side. That is terrifying, and it is a wider reflection of rape culture in general; of victim blaming and scapegoating.

It upsets me that I fear for the safety of my children, when my children are not even on this earth yet. I should not have to think that as a 20 year old woman. I should not have to worry this far ahead for the safety of my daughter at parties, or as she walks down dark roads at night.

From the moment I had the slightest degree of independence, I was taught to be wary of men. I was told not to talk to strange men in the street, not to take anything from a stranger, not to get in a man’s car. When I was old enough to go to parties I was told to watch what I drunk, to be careful of how much I drunk, asked who would be at the party, told to get a lift home with my girl friends, to not be in a taxi with a man alone.

Below I will insert some more of what Turner’s victim wrote and read aloud to him in the court, an incredibly moving depiction of an awful ordeal, because I respect and applaud her grace.

     ‘While you worry about your shattered reputation, I refrigerated spoons every night so when I woke up, and my eyes were puffy from crying, I would hold the spoons to my eyes to lessen the swelling so that I could see. I showed up an hour late to work every morning, excused myself to cry in the stairwells, I can tell you all the best places in that building to cry where no one can hear you.’

‘I have become a little barnacle always needing to be at someone’s side, to have my boyfriend standing next to me, sleeping beside me, protecting me. It is embarrassing how feeble I feel, how timidly I move through life.’

‘You bought me a ticket to a planet where I lived by myself.’

Rape and sexual assault will continue to happen and to pretend that it will not is like saying that in the future bad people will not exist and bad things will not happen, but we can significantly bring down the numbers of sexual assault through education. What we can and must do is work tirelessly to alter men’s perception of women and (some) men’s idea of entitlement to a woman’s body. Collectively, we must raise our children to have respect and compassion, to know a woman or a man’s boundaries, to understand the meaning of consent. Consent must become one of the most important words of our time. I hope that by the time that my children enter this world that at least the culture around rape has changed. I am sad that as a young woman I am constantly on guard, that I see a young girl out at a bar or a club, not entirely with it after countless shots, and want to protect her instantly from any wandering hands. That is life, however, and that is the society that we must now collectively work to change, for the benefit of everyone.

Like Turner’s victim puts it, ever so well, ‘the seriousness of rape has to be communicated clearly, we should not create a culture that suggests we learn that rape is wrong through trial and error.’

Love always, Kirstie x

 



36 thoughts on “The outcome of the Brock Turner case terrifies me.”

  • The worst thing about this case is how the media portrays him as being an athlete having a bad day like that provides an excuse for his behaviour. He gets to just walk free after a few months like he didn’t just ruin someone’s life and that breaks my heart.

  • Oh my kirstie, I agree with everything you say, as a young women I understand where you come from and I also agree that the outcomes are never just!

    I love how you are an opinionated person who is not afraid to speak your mind, never stop doing these posts, they’re amazing to read! Lots of love 💙

  • I can’t believe that out of 1000 sexual assaults only 344 of them cases only get reported!! As a young girl myself it scares me to think about being older and getting invited to parties with boys there, but with a lot of these kind of situations happening now a days at least girls can be more aware.
    I really love this blog post though, it’s really informative about the event which I didn’t even know about! Well done for yet another amazing post Kirstie xxx

    • I’m sure you will be surrounded by boys who respect you my love, and I’m sorry that you have to feel on edge about that already. You shouldn’t need to be on guard but right or wrong, its smart that you are! thanks for reading 😘 x

  • I agree with every single word of this! People who thieve get more time than some rapists get, it is ridiculous!
    Looking forward to your next blog xx

  • I love how you use your blog, you are an amazing person and i will continue to respect and follow your work. I wish there were many many more educated people like yourself to respect and understand these views. Lots of love xx

  • Completely agree with you. No way was 6 months long enough for what he did to that poor young lady. It’s sad to think that out of every 1000 sexual assaults only 344 get reported with only 6 rapists getting imprisoned. Being a young lady myself I totally understand where you are coming from when you say that you where taught to be wary of men and to never to get into a man’s car because I’ve always been taught that, especially when walking home from school because I have to walk down a lot of quiet lanes where no one really live. I honestly hate walking around somewhere quiet on my own because I always have that feeling in the back of my mind that someone is following me and going to somehow hurt me, even though I know that is very unlikely to happen. (sorry for rambling on!) Thank you for always writing such amazing blog posts. Lots of love Xx

    • It’s sickening and angers me beyond belief! I totally relate. It’s hard to not feel on edge in those situations, which is a shame. Thanks love, thank you for reading too 💗 x

  • A very important topic. I definitely think that there is a lower awareness of rape culture in comparison to other issues. Although it is something that is talked about frequently on tv and in the media in general, it isn’t something that is taught or explained. I know that sex education where I go/went to school is pretty much man + woman = baby. Which is not entirely helpful for a number of reasons. I see and hear a lot of things about men having the right to a woman’s body from both genders. And that simply stems from lack of education as you said. Obviously education is not the priority for our government at the moment however at some point, hopefully pretty soon, that will change. I know for sure that bettering the education systems won’t solve all the world’s problems but it would definitely help a lot with so many things! As a young feminist teenager, it’s difficult to hear about these things, women being objectified etc and the thing is, nobody else that I know cares, simply because we are not educated enough to understand.

    Apologies for the long, almost a bit of a rant, comment.
    Brilliant post as always! Maybe you could consider doing a post on your understanding, views and experiences on feminism and what it means to you? I think I and hopefully a lot of others would benefit a lot.
    Thank you : ) <3
    Annie
    xXx

    • Hi Annie! First, I’m glad you agree! I truly do think education is the route of a lot of our problems, not even necessarily sat in a class room reading a book type education, but discussion, exposure, etc. we are making progress in a lot of those areas but I guess stigmas and attitudes take a while to change sadly. Secondly, I’d love to write a post on that! hopefully I will get around to it soon, have a few others planned first however. Lots of love 😘 x

  • Well written article! If you haven’t, you should definitely check out the documentary “The Hunting Ground”. It is on Netflix (at least in America), and is such a powerful documentary about sexual assault/rape on college campuses in the US. You will experience so many different kinds of emotions; I had to pause it a few times because I couldn’t believe the statistics and facts they were saying- HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

  • This is amazing Kirstie, I agree with everything you are saying! I appreciate you so much for writing such interesting and brilliant blogs keep them going, lots of love xxxxxx

  • I totally agree with you. It’s hard to think that 1 in 5 women will be victim of sexual assault. It’s scary to walk alone at night. It’s unbelievable that in 1000 cases of sexual assault only 344 get reported. I don’t want to live in a world where I can’t go to a party because boys don’t know how to respect women!
    Thank you for always writing amazing posts😘

  • I love your blog!
    this topic is so important and I totally agree with you
    well done on this post, lots of love <3

  • This is horrifying. I used to go for walks every Sunday on a forestry lane a few minutes a way from my house. A few months ago I was at a family event and I didn’t go for my walk but my neighbour did she is a women and is late 30s but she was sexually assaulted and the man that committed the crime wasn’t caught. This horrifies me as it could have been me and I am extremely lucky it wasn’t. My neighbour is still horrified and has been attending counciling for the past few months. All my life I have just assumed that something like this would never happen to me but now I realise it could have been me. I’m sorry that this isn’t really about YOUR blog post but I feel it is relevant to the topic of such unfair treatment. Eva xx

    • Ah no your comment is relevant bub. That really is beyond horrible and I’m so sorry for her and for you too that these sorts of people and the court system have the ability to make us feel so on edge in our own homes x

  • wow I was really moved reading this! another amazing post kirstie!! yes as women we shouldn’t be scared of men but we are! They need to get punish for taking the girls virtual away and safety. I mean we all have guys in our life that we trust and would protect us! The men shouldn’t get a jail out of free card and walk the streets again! I’m not a party person but I only go to things when I know everyone there and watch what I drink also don’t leave your drink unattended! I work with young kids and I also fear the safety of my young girls and when they get older and all my cousins who are girls! As a young woman I do fear when I’m on campus or somewhere new but wish we all didn’t have to feel that! I do think he should get life in prison and not a free pass because that isn’t right! and yes hopefully one day it will get better and we won’t have to worry or feel unsafe! you such a amazing writer! xxx

    • Thank you love, and thank you for the comment! I agree, it’s so messed up and all we can do is hope and persistently push for attitudes to be changed and courts to take these sorts of cases far far more seriously. thanks again 😘 x

  • This is so true. I agree 100%. No woman should be afraid of walking home alone or anything incase some guy takes advantage.
    Love your blog Kirstie, you’re using it so wisely. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

  • You’ve spoken on the behalf of millions of woman/girls round this world and everybody must read your blog as it aspires us of our strength and what we can do. The media, who are supposed to be educated frame the criminal as an innocent young man who was drawn to the woman which caused this mishap to happen, shouldn’t they for once look through our eyes, read through minds and sense the fear we have constantly on our mind when we step out of the house is whether we will come back safe or not. And you’ve mentioned it all in this blog. Loved it, keep writing and inspiring us all. Love, Fizza xx

    • thanks for this comment Fizza 💗 you’re totally right – the media carry a great deal of guilt in terms of why rape culture is continued and strengthened and there needs to be fundamental changes in reporting and the framing of events if peoples perceptions are going to change! thanks again 😘 x

  • Happy that you chose this topic! The judge that sentenced him should be disbarred! The victim only asked for one year because she didn’t want him to rot in jail and let this ruin his life. That shows incredible character on her part to ask for such a minimal sentence for him. Then for the judge to only give him 6 months?! It is just preposterous. Blows my mind. Ugh, seriously I am at a loss for words. Well written piece Kirstie!

    • totally totally agree, some of these cases seem so ludicrous that its difficult to know what to even say about them. I’d hope that the sentence would be revised but that might be too optimistic! Thank you x

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