Rape Culture

My blood is boiling. Brock Turner, a young man with a promising future, assaults a young woman, is caught in the act, brought to trial, and is let off with a ridiculously lenient sentence because in the judge’s, Aaron Persky’s, assessment to render justice would have a “severe impact” on his future. This is Rape Culture giving a pass to wealth and privilege. This is Rape Culture conferring higher value on men’s lives than women’s.

The rapist’s father laments his son will rightly have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, no longer enjoys his favorite foods, and isn’t his “happy go lucky” self. He thinks it’s all a bit much for “twenty minutes of action”. Well boo-fucking-hoo. Suddenly, it becomes very clear to me why this young man didn’t grow up with a moral compass that would tell him an unconscious woman isn’t a consenting woman. This is Rape Culture saying, “boys will be boys”.

Make no mistake, Brock Turner’s lost bright future isn’t the result of something that happened to him. What happened was he threw it away with both hands the instant he chose to victimize another human being. He was the agent of change here, he was what happened to this young woman. This is Rape Culture blaming the victim for the consequences that rightly befall the perpetrator.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women will be raped in her lifetime and in eight out of ten cases, by someone she knows/an intimate partner rather than a stranger in drag lurking in a public restroom. But by all means, let’s carry on fuming about who uses which bathroom. This is Rape Culture disguised as morality.

If you haven’t read it, or heard it when Ashley Banfield  (Brava! Ms. Banfield) used twenty precious minutes of her airtime on CNN yesterday to read it aloud, here is the impact statement from the victim. This is what she will live with for the rest of her life. This is the product of Rape Culture.

If you haven’t watched it yet, please go immediately to Netflix or CNN and watch The Hunting Ground, especially if you have a daughter you’re sending to college. This is Rape Culture on campus, and our daughters need to be forewarned and forearmed.

What has my blood at boiling point is that we are still seeing this crap. For all the strides women have made, our society is still more concerned with the “impact” of the consequences upon men for their revolting and illegal actions than  the lifetime nightmare visited upon on their female victims by those actions, most especially if he is white, wealthy, and an athlete. Every time a case like this bubbles up through the muck it gives the lie of Equal Rights. Women are not equal. People of color are not equal (though athletes come close). This is Rape Culture and it sickens me.

When does it stop? When do we end Rape Culture? When will women be valued for their humanity, gifts, and accomplishments rather than objectified? When will we render justice to rapists and stop trying the victims? How long? How long O Lord?


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