Wednesday, June 8, 2016

1.8% Is the Number of Our Collective Disgrace

Brock Turner got off easy. He was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman behind a dumpster. He pled not guilty and let the case go to trial. A jury of69 his peers thought his bullshit side of the story was bullshit. Maximum sentence for his crime is 14 years. The prosecutors wanted to give him less than half, 6 years. The judge gave him 6 months, so that’s 3.6% of the maximum sentence that he could have gotten. If he is on good behavior, he can be released in three months. 1.8% of the maximum possible sentence.
One point eight percent.
What the unholy fuck.
There’s no need in reiterating how much of a cornucopia of white privilege, rape culture, and good ol’ American hypocrisy this case was. The good people at Very Smart Brothas did an excellent job of expressing that. By the way, “fuckshit souffle” is my new favorite curse.
One point eight percent.
What was the judge’s reason for such a light sentence? In his statement to the court, Judge Aaron Persky said that he was giving him 6 months because, “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on [Brock Turner]”...Call me crazy, but isn’t that THE POINT OF A PRISON SENTENCE? Why do we even have a penal code? This definitely does not make a good case for justice being fair and balanced for all. Of course, this isn’t the first time Persky has been light on a rape case. On his last one, he added a healthy dollop of victim blaming, as one does. He was appointed because he said he was tough on sexual assault. Perhaps Gray Davis should have asked him who exactly he was going to be tough on before he appointed him: the victims or the suspects?
One point eight percent.
Even reading the gut-wrenching 12-page letter read by the victim should have been enough to throw the book at Turner. She talked about how she only remembered going to a party with her sister, and then waking up in pain in the hospital. She talked about how because she couldn’t remember anything, Turner completely changed his story and created a fictitious tale of what he perceived to be consent, which still kind of wasn’t that consensual, so he changed it again. She talked about how if the two Swedish exchange students hadn’t come upon the scene and chased Turner, this crime would not have even been reported.
Let that be a lesson to you: Swedish people are superheroes. Judges obviously are not.
One point eight percent.
Persky must have been more moved by the letters that Turner penned himself, and the supporting letters from his friends and family that make it sound like the Turner house is the most unsafe house in America for a young woman to reside. Turner himself never truly admitted anything in his. He cried a little, but it was likely because he got caught, not because he was sorry. He said he wanted to start a high school program that speaks out against drinking and promiscuity. The problem with that statement is that YOU HAVE TO CONSENT IN ORDER TO BE PROMISCUOUS. “Passed out on the ground” does not indicate “she’s open and ready”. It indicates “call 911, she’s wasted”. Most “promiscuous” people I know don’t need alcohol to fuck, and they always affirm that they want to have sex.
Dan Turner, Brock’s father said his shitnipple of a child broke down because he was having trouble fitting in. The conviction hurt Brock in his fee-fees. He wasn’t eating his favorite foods or steak or anything. The poor thing. He also said that the 1.8% sentence was a “steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action”, and that, “What I know as his father is that incarceration is not the appropriate punishment for Brock.” Mind you, Dan Turner is not a judge. You can definitely tell where Brock got his winning personality. What exactly would be a fair price to pay for 20 minutes of “action”? Should we reduce prison sentences based on the time it takes to do the crime? If someone murders someone, but it only took a few seconds, maybe just give them a day in Time Out so that they can think about what they did? An hour long police chase should maybe get two hours on a treadmill? I’m intrigued by Father Turner’s privilege-powered crime/time exchange machine, and how 1.8% is too much.
Turner’s sister said that Brock is a shell of his former self. “A series of alcohol-fueled decisions that he made within an hour time span will define him for the rest of his life. Goodbye to NCAA championships. Goodbye to the Olympics. Goodbye to becoming an orthopedic surgeon. Goodbye to life as he knew it.” Yes. That is how committing crime and getting convicted works. Any opportunity you have gets pissed away, because your victim’s life got pissed away too. But don’t worry! It’s only 1.8% of punishment he’ll get.
Turner’s grandparents penned a letter in which they were distraught, because, “Brock is the only person being held accountable for the actions of other irresponsible adults.” That’s because BROCK IS THE ONLY ONE WHO COMMITTED A CRIME. We don’t put victims of robbery in jail if their door was unlocked. Passing out and drinking are NOT CRIMES. They’re unwise, but much like forgetting to lock your door, one should expect that their fellow man will respect boundaries and not take advantage of a situation. And now Brock Turner has to pay 1.8% of the price of his crime.
There was even a friend, apparently a Clarence Thomas of women, named Leslie Rasmussen, who put paper to pen to defend Brock Turner. She started by saying that Brock Turner is not a monster. That is fair. He was not on trial for being a monster. He was on trial for being a rapist. She then continued: “I am not blaming her directly for this...”. The phrase, “I am not _____”, is typically followed up by doing exactly what one claims to not be doing. And boy, does she deliver: “But where do we draw the line and stop worrying about being politically correct...and see that rape on campuses isn’t always because people are rapists.” Convicting someone of rape who dragged an unconscious body behind a dumpster to violate her is not political correctness. It is called doing one’s job, something the judge decided not to do. Ms. Rasmussen is in a band called Good English, which must be an ironic title, because the grammar of her letter was lacking. Venues are cancelling their booked shows because of her letter of support. She needn’t worry, though. People will forget about this in three months, and her band will be playing shows again. That will be about the time that Brock Turner will be released, so she can book a reunion show.
One. Point. Eight. Fucking. Percent.
The worst thing about this shitstorm is that as I was typing this article, 30 people were sexually assaulted in the US. Every 2 minutes, someone is assaulted. Americans are really good at throwing shade at Saudi Arabia and Egypt and India for the assaults that happen there, but per 100,000, we beat them both. We spend more time trying to rationalize the illegal actions of our celebrities, bending over backwards to accuse their victims of “trapping” them than we do acknowledging that we have a serious problem. Every time we Starfuck and try to find reasons to excuse a Roman Polanski or a Woody Allen or a Bill Cosby, we feed into the idea that a man's worth and his potential is more than a woman's or a child's safety. Rapes go under-reported, because of stats like this. What is the point of coming forward if you’ll just be dragged through the mud? Why put oneself through that humiliation? We don’t provide safe shelter; just ridicule. We don’t question whether a person had lojacked their car when it gets stolen, but we are eager to ask in what state of intoxication a woman (or man) was when they report that they were assaulted.
Even when we try to protect, those stray thoughts float into our heads.
“What was she wearing?”
“Was she drunk?”
“Did she leave her drink unattended?”
“Did she flirt a lot with him?”
Who the hell cares? None of those excuse the person who took advantage of the situation. All of those thoughts are residual elements of the rape culture that has existed for generations and in which we were indoctrinated from birth. Turner showed how little we think of women's autonomy, but you see from whence he got his views in the letters from his family. Persky simply punctuated that sentiment by reducing his sentence before it even started. But all of us perpetuate this. We are shit.
1.8 is the number of our collective disgrace. We have to do better.

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