Friday, June 10, 2016
The outrage this week over the sentencing of Brock Turner for the three counts of sexual assault he was convicted of in the recent Stanford rape case highlights the disconnect between what the public views as appropriate punishment for various crimes and how the legal system sentences. I will admit to sharing that outrage.
I don’t enjoy an online lynching, but I don’t feel sorry for this kid. At all. No matter what hook-up culture exists on college campuses today, no matter how much alcohol flows at parties or how sex is viewed by young people these days, choosing to rape an unconscious women behind a dumpster is the action of a predator. Brock Turner saw someone vulnerable and instead of choosing to help or even just pass on by, like the proverbial priest and Levite, he stripped her, took photographs of her breasts and texted them to his friends, then sexually assaulted her until he was stopped by two Swedish men who happened upon them.
I’ve previously written about the importance of girls staying safe and sober in order to avoid sexual assault. I stand by that opinion. Some people are dangerous. It’s a sad fact, but it’s true. No one else will be responsible for your safety, girls, so you have to be. It’s fine to have a designated driver or a responsible friend, but the only person who will prioritize your safety in these situations is yourself or people who genuinely care about your welfare like your family.
This isn’t, by the way, advice solely directed at women. I would also tell my son not to get blackout drunk at parties or put himself in close proximity to people who might hurt him. People do stupid things when they’re drunk that get them into trouble. They gamble large sums of money, they drive and have accidents, and they get into fights. Rape is not the only negative outcome of binge drinking. There are any number of them, and they can seriously derail your life.
In this case, I went further and I talked to my son about predatory behavior. I wanted to use Brock Turner as an example of someone I do not want him to ever emulate - not because Brock’s life has taken a sharp turn for the worse, not because he was caught and found guilty and will go to jail, but because it’s his responsibility, no matter how drunk, how sexually frustrated he is, or what is going on around him, to be a decent human being.
It’s harder these days, I know. We’ve got a real Lord of the Flies society thing going on. It’s not impossible, though. Brock is not an isolated case. He’s not representative of all or even the majority of people, men, or college students, but he’s not a token. He’s one of many predators who will hurt people when they get a chance and will fight being held accountable for it until the people who care about him go bankrupt. In other words, he’s a waste of oxygen. The world is not a better place because he exists.
I didn’t change all of those diapers and cook all of those meals so that my son can do the same. I expect him to earn his oxygen and not do stupid, selfish things when he’s a man, just as I would any daughter of mine.