When is enough, enough? How many women have to be sexually assaulted before the law finally sees that every rapist has ruined and destroyed a life is behind bars? How many people have to express their outrage before people finally take a stand and stop blaming the woman for having too much to drink, or for being too flirty? How many men need to get away with rape before the world wakes up?
Look at the way the Stanford rape case has unfolded. The rapist Brock Turner, is described as a 20-year-old Stanford University student, a white male, a collegiate athlete, no past criminal history. He is sorry.
The 23-year-old victim is described as unconscious, unresponsive, intoxicated, blacked out, defenseless.
The rape culture of blame the victim has another win, as the California judge sentenced Turner to six short months in jail and the punishment of registering as a sex offender. With good behavior, he might only serve three months. This man, this rapist has a future, he has potential, and he is sorry for the pain he has caused. This woman was drunk, she was by herself and intoxicated. She was the wounded animal that the prey could easily attack.
In reality, she is strong, she is smart, she is courageous and she is a leader. She has given a voice to all the violated, traumatized victims. She stood before the court and put the blame on the rapist. She relived her worst day and told the judge how Turner being inside of her has profoundly changed her. There is no normal for her anymore, she barely recognizes her own body.
The Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge, Aaron Persky, said that a prison sentence would have a severe impact on Turner. What about the severe impact this attack had and will have on this young woman? Why is her suffering not as important as his future? When will people become accountable for their actions?
A woman is left broken, scarred, emotionally changed because not only was she violated that night in 2015 but she will be continuously violated over and over again because the law tolerated sexual violence and there are people who believe she should have drank less, worn less makeup, been more aware and taken the right steps to protect herself. That alcohol and her bad decisions are the reasons to blame that she was found exposed behind a dumpster instead of the man that undressed her before assaulting her.
It is a shame that as a woman in 2016 you have to be scared to walk to your car at night, that a chill will run up your spine when you see a shadow move and that you will press the cold metal of your car keys into your palm, clutching onto some reassurance and protection. It’s a shame that we feel so unsafe to go to the bathrooms by ourselves, to take a cab or train by ourselves, that we walk three blocks out of our way to avoid that one dimly light street because we have been taught that danger could be lurking in the darkness.
These are mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, and grandmothers that people are attacking. These are mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, and grandmothers that people are blaming. These are mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, and grandmothers who are left to pick up the shattered pieces, who are left wondering what they could have done differently.
I’m disappointed that my future daughter will learn to be scared. That she will grow up learning to fear walking alone, that she will fear passing a man on the street when it is just the two of them out. It’s time for a change, enough is enough.