I don’t comment on hot button issues… often.
I can’t say I never do, because every once in awhile, if it feels burdensome, I will, but like most public upheavals in the media, I often read about it, take a morsel to chew on, and quickly forget about it. That’s how society works, isn’t it? We get offended, we take to the internet to voice our opinions, and we move on. At least, until next week when another person does something stupid we feel the need to comment on.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about the Brock Turner case. The story of a young wannabe Olympic athlete found guilty of raping an unconscious woman at a Stanford party last year, a woman who was so incapacitated at the time that she had no idea what had happened to her until she found herself at a hospital several hours later, after two good samaritans stopped Turner in the act and called the police.
You can read all about the trial online, but what has everyone up in arms about it, was that Turner was sentenced this week to serve six months in jail for his crime.
Six MONTHS. This compared to the six YEARS the prosecution asked for.
To add insult to injury, the sentence was justified by both the judge and Turner’s father, saying the penalty would be “too steep a price to pay for 20 minutes of action,” and that any further time in prison would only diminish his chances of athletic stardom.
Today, it was announced Brock Turner’s sentence would be reduced to three months, warranting good behavior.
I get it.
You’re pissed. I’m pissed. We’re all pissed.
Boy does something wrong, boy gets slap on the hand, boy gets to move on with his life with trivial consequences. It’s a righteous kind of thing to be pissed about.
But that’s just it. We’re pissed, and that’s all we are.
We’re talking about how unfair it is (and it is), and how evil his actions were (and they are), and how he deserves so much more than what he’s paying for (and he does), but I think why I can’t seem to let this thing go, compared to all the other similar things we get temporarily pissed off about, is that we’re making this all case about him.
Every time we say his name, every time we rant and rave about how much more he deserves, every time we bring it up during a dinner conversation or a Facebook post or anything else we drag his name into, we’re bringing glory to an entitled prick who doesn’t deserve it.
Wasn’t his 20 minutes enough? Do we need to give him 15 minutes more?
ENOUGH ABOUT BROCK TURNER.
HE ISN’T WHO WE NEED TO BE TALKING ABOUT.
Let’s talk about her.
The real victim in this case.
The woman who wrote one of the most eloquently written pieces on being a sexual assault victim I’ve ever read. The woman who had her entire life changed in those 20 minutes. The woman who will be fighting demons and recovering every day for the rest of her life, long after we’re done being pissed off. The woman who ISN’T GETTING ANY CLOSER TO HEALING every time we mention the man who did it.
I wanna her her stories. I wanna hear THEIR stories.
I want us to talk about how we can help them, what they need from us. What prayers they need said or encouragements they want offered or hopes they want to share in the midst of such vile and despicable darkness they didn’t ask for at the hands of men they could care less about.
I want us to stop worshiping the martyrs and start praising the survivors.
And yeah, in a week, we might forget about all this. Somebody new will murder somebody different and we’ll have an opinion on that too just like we always will. I can only hope when our turn to speak comes, we make great the name of those who continue to live despite that which is taken away.