Sexual assault survivors and otherwise sensitive readers may be disturbed by the themes in this post.
Yesterday my only tasks were to clean the flat, do the shopping and prepare a special supper for a party of eight. It's a miracle I managed them all, for once again I was glued to the internet reaction to the Brock Turner sentencing. Now I'm surprised that I never stumbled across the case when the trial started. Honestly, I had never heard of it until the Victim (as she is called in the police report) read her brilliantly written, heartbreaking testimony to the court and it was published online.
If your first acquaintance with the Brock Turner Story is the Victim's testimony, the story in your head will differ from the story in the heads of those who read about it from the witness statements the police recorded. No wonder the woman was so traumatized by what she read online. I read the police reports yesterday, and they were metaphorically soaked in urine and booze. Cheap and nasty booze.
The party the Victim went to was in a frat house, named in the official report, and having read this report I now understand why Turner and Turner's dad emphasized the college culture of booze and promiscuity. That said, the fact that Turner was drunk and promiscuous is not an excuse. It does suggest, however, an explanation. It provides the answer to Why did a 19 year old a dozen people swear was gentle and sweet rape an unconscious woman?
To understand the story, you need to read two documents: the Victim's testimony and the police reports. Maybe you need to read Leslie Rasmussen's letter, but only if you want to know what Brock Turner was like (or was perceived to be like) before he went to Stanford University. The police reports contain statements about what he was like on the night of the rape: aggressive and wanting to "hook up" with a girl. (Any girl.)
To understand Leslie Rasmussen's remarks to the judge, one needs to have read the police reports and her subsequent statement. In my opinion, having read the police reports, she gets the alcohol stuff right, but she glosses over Brock's promiscuity. She attempts to answer "Why did a sweet and gentle 19 year old I've known most of my life rape an unconscious woman?" Clearly unable to grapple with the idea that even habitually sweet and gentle people can be incredibly and even criminally selfish about their sexual wants, she blamed the booze. Hoping to save a boy she believed was sweet and gentle from a long stretch in an American prison, where he would most definitely not be okay, she hung onto a "shades of grey" notion about drunken sex. For this--or rather, because "a source" slipped a New York journalist her letter-- she has attracted the ire of the American public, which I think really is political correctness gone mad.
The villain of the story, after Turner, who not only raped a woman, he put her through the humiliation of his trial, is the media, and I include anyone who puts fingers to keyboard about this trial and writes untruths. I have read outright lies about the Turner family and outrageous speculation.
One big issue is class, which in the USA means money and privilege. I have read that Brock Turner had a free ride at Stanford. He didn't. His scholarship covered only 60% of his Stanford education/swimming servitude. I have read that the Turners are rich. They aren't. Brock's grandparents wrote to the judge that they are on a "fixed income" and can't help Brock's parents, who, though hard-working, are only middle-income. Brock Turner is guilty of rape, but he is not guilty of wealth. Nevertheless, there are journos and keyboard warriors whipping themselves up into hatred of the rich boy. Meanwhile, the actual victim doesn't hate Brock Turner. I wouldn't have been surprised if she did, but she doesn't.
I've read that although Brock's mother hasn't said anything, she must have approved her husband's letter to the judge. Really? We need to hate his mother, too? We are going to make up stories about a silent woman? We're going to substitute our voices for hers? What we think she wants is more important than what she really wants? Gee, what does that remind me of?
Anyway, I hope this is my last rant about the Rasmussen---I mean, the Brock Turner Trial. I have great admiration for the Victim not only because she stood up for herself but because she is such a talented writer she moved millions of people.
I have great sympathy for Leslie Rasmussen, who expressed her thoughts badly and is unfairly being crucified for it. Gone are the days when rock musicians sported swastikas or bit the heads off chickens and their fans yelled "Cool." Political correctness shows no mercy even to young people who express loyalty to their friends (in my youth a supreme value) and try to get them out of trouble with Johnny Law (another old-fashioned value).
Incidentally, as I expected, I was called "an apologist for rape" for defending Good English. I shall put it among my trophies, i.e. names I have been called while exercising my freedom of speech.
I have also great hatred for the stupidity and debauchery of campus parties that feature so much consumption of alcohol (cheap and nasty alcohol that you wouldn't drink for the taste) that even girls end up going outside to pee on trees, and boys and girls make out with multiple people on the same night. What the hell is that? If parties are so boring that you need to drink to blackout, kids, don't go.
I feel very sorry for the Victim's sister. Know why she wasn't with the Victim? She was seeing a dangerously intoxicated female friend home. The poor girl was running around trying to take care of all the drunk women she cared about and, unsurprisingly, she failed. This was not her fault, this was not her fault, this was not her fault.
My disgust with men, however drunk, who do what they want with the bodies of women without the woman's say-so should go without saying. Every time I see Brock Turner's goofy face, I want to slap it. However, as a Christian, I recognize that it's the act we need to condemn, even though justice demands that we punish the wrong-doer. The Victim's statement was not about Brock Turner being a bad guy. It was about the Victim being a human being who deserves to be treated with dignity.
Update: Online media knows the public is angry, and online media acknowledges that the public enjoys and wants to be angry. Take this question from boingboing.net, for example, "Want to get even more pissed off?" My answer is another question: "Are you profiting from my anger?"
Update 2: The various people writing in comboxes that they hope Brock Turner is raped in prison are not even just "rape apologists." They're rape promoters, and they should be ashamed of themselves.