Unless you live under a rock, you might have heard about the Stanford swimmer who raped an unconscious girl behind a dumpster. The 20-year-old’s name is Brock Allen Turner.
If you know me personally, you know that I have a huge heart for sexual assault survivors. Sometimes when news stories break, I have to collect my thoughts before I decide to comment. At first I feel a bit of rage of some sort, but once I start indulging in information (or observing media), I tweak my opinion. In this case, however, I did not have to. I don’t even know where to begin on the way everything from the court to the media was handled.
Since media is my forte (I have my degree in Journalism), let’s start there…
Plastered all over social media and other news outlets was Turner’s yearbook photo -not his mugshot (which you would see often of other non-priveleged people). After much outcry on the web I started to notice that the news outlets changed it to the proper photo from jail. When you get a press release, you most definitely get the mugshot along with it, so why did we not see it until after the initial news broke?
Are we supposed to think that he’s some kid who made a mistake and that he’s actually not a bad guy? Since he’s a white male who attended a prestigious school, does he deserve a pass? When I see his yearbook photo, I don’t think any of that. I think he looks like a guy that is old enough to know that he shouldn’t rape another person (let alone an UNCONSCIOUS person). I mean the guy did get into an Ivy-League school, so he obviously has some brains up there.
When big stories like this happen, I try to read at least three different types of news sources to see what they all say. A trend I noticed was one where you got a whole background of how great the guy was at his sport and how he was on some Olympic team… yada yada yada. I don’t care about any of those things. Do not make tactics that try and make me feel sorry for the kid. Don’t take away what happened to the SURVIVOR to give our sympathy to the RAPIST.
Most rapists never spend a day in jail so I’m thankful that this one will, BUT for only 6 months? The worst part of it all was that the judge didn’t want to be too harsh on Turner.
I understand he had a future, but he originally had a CHOICE to HELP the unconscious girl and not think that her body belonged to him the moment he realized she couldn’t say no. I am well aware both parties were intoxicated, which is a huge red-flag to the situation. As much as you want to put blame on the girl you can’t. Her intention wasn’t to get raped that evening -it never is anyone’s intention. I’m sure it wasn’t Turner’s original plan to rape someone that night, but he definitely made the conscious decision to (because even if he’s drunk, that’s not a normal behavior to a situation).
Both will deal with a lifetime of consequences and the worst part of it all was the survivor didn’t have the option not to. He may have a hard time finding jobs and he now has a record. She has to suffer with emotional trauma and a constant reminder that she didn’t own her body in that moment. The added stress of being blacked out can still cause PTSD from the situation. All the what-ifs and wishes will constantly float around in her head. Now that her attacker is plastered all over the nation, she can never escape his face.
I feel it is appropriate to end with a excerpt from the letter she read out-loud to Turner because her voice deserves to be known…
“You have no idea how hard I have worked to rebuild parts of me that are still weak. It took me eight months to even talk about what happened. I could no longer connect with friends, with everyone around me. I would scream at my boyfriend, my own family whenever they brought this up. You never let me forget what happened to me. At the of end of the hearing, the trial, I was too tired to speak. I would leave drained, silent. I would go home turn off my phone and for days I would not speak. You bought me a ticket to a planet where I lived by myself. Every time a new article come out, I lived with the paranoia that my entire hometown would find out and know me as the girl who got assaulted. I didn’t want anyone’s pity and am still learning to accept victim as part of my identity. You made my own hometown an uncomfortable place to be.”