In between building a towering inferno of rage inside of me so solid I could practically touch it, I cried reading his 23 year old victim's letter that she read directly to her rapist in open court. I got chills reading her last paragraph:
And finally, to girls everywhere, I am with you. On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought everyday for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you. As the author Anne Lamott once wrote, “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” Although I can’t save every boat, I hope that by speaking today, you absorbed a small amount of light, a small knowing that you can’t be silenced, a small satisfaction that justice was served, a small assurance that we are getting somewhere, and a big, big knowing that you are important, unquestionably, you are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you. To girls everywhere, I am with you. Thank you.
It is some motherfucking bullshit that a woman has to jump through 2309480239840 hoops to get a rapist convicted, enduring questions on the stand about what she ate that night, what she drank, what she wore, if she flirted, as if ANY of those things were the cause of her being raped. BULLSHIT!
While she has to endure this fucking bullshit of a personal attack on the stand after she has actually been attacked and assaulted in ways she will never recover from, all we hear about this fine upstanding young man is that he's a good athlete who's never raped anyone before. Guess what? It doesn't matter how promising of a future he had. It doesn't matter how fast his swim times are. It doesn't matter that he's never done this before. What matters is that he raped this woman. This woman, this circumstance. He is a rapist.
After his victim had the courage to read a 12 page letter directly to him in court, Judge Aaron Persky, who is apparently a soulless bastard who maybe wasn't listening to this woman, gave Turner six months in county jail so the punishment doesn't have too severe of an impact on him. He gives a slap on the wrist to a guy who was found raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, tackled off of her by two passerby (who cried over what they saw), and unanimously convicted by a jury of his peers. Really? Really. This is straight up privileged patriarchal bullshit and I'm fucking done. Fuck the patriarchy. The judge is an old boy from Stanford, and he's up for re-election, unopposed. Click here to sign a petition to have his ass recalled.
But Judge P wasn't the only one stumping for poor wittle Bwock. Daddy wrote a letter too, in which he wah wah'ed about his golden son no longer eating his favorite snick snacks and how "20 minutes of action" (that is actually what he called the rape, no shit) ruined 20 years of his son being awesome. It sounds to me like Daddy had some take what he wants without regard for the personal autonomy or safety of others and then engage in victim-blaming of his own back in the day. These animals are trying to make this about binge drinking and promiscuity. It's not about anything other than rape, you entitled pricks.
Do I sound angry? Good. I am angry. I am so angry I can't even find a way to describe it. There have been a lot of eloquent writings on the internet about this situation this week, tempered and calm and well written - see here and here for just two of them, as well as the one that resonated the most with me a few paragraphs below. I'm sorry this isn't one of them. I'm too angry.
You should be angry too. This is not just a problem for women. This is a problem for all of us.
Because in addition to Daddy and Judge Pecker, there are pages in support of this rapist. Pages I can't bring myself to read because I'm afraid that I'll spontaneously combust with rage. Pages out there supporting a convicted rapist. It could have been any of us and the outcome would have been the same.
It's sentencings like this and support for this type of criminal behavior that make vigilante justice a thing. This here is a phenomenal blog post on Abadoning Pretense entitled We with the Pitchforks. The major takeaway for me is this:
Let us gather, as a community, on behalf of this woman for whom justice was not served, with our torches and pitchforks, ready to put Brock in his place.Because the justice system failed not only her, but all of us. And goddammit, if the justice system is not going to protect us, I guess we are just going to have to fucking protect ourselves.
We are not protected now. And there are people who are okay with that. I'm not okay with it. And I don't want to know anyone who is okay with it. I will cut you out of my life in a second.
This sentencing, and the ignorant victim blaming fucks it has exposed, has made my blood roar, my throat burn, and my skin run hot. Rape is never, ever, EVER the victim's fault, regardless of what she did or didn't do, what she wore, how she acted. Her life is never less important than her attacker's regardless of what station in life either of them occupies.
This sentencing, and the way it exposes the rape culture that is so prevalent in this country that so many people deny exists, has made me clench my fists so hard I leave nail marks in my palms.
This sentencing, and what it means for all women - yes, you, and your daughters and nieces and wives and girlfriends and mothers and aunts and grandmothers and neighbors and teachers and every woman here - ensures that I will bang my fucking feminist drum as long and as loud as I need to. I don't care who is tired of hearing it. I will do everything I can to affect change on this topic. I'll go to my deathbed doing it.
In this current climate, women's bodies can be violated without punishment. When assaulted, women have to practically provide video to be believed and all the man has to say is, "I didn't do it." And before someone trots out of the woodwork saying but women falsely accuse men of rape too, stop. I don't want to hear it. That's the exception and for you to bring it up after this sentencing is honestly fucking insane and you're part of the problem. This bullshit is the rule and this is not anywhere close to equality.
It will keep happening until the majority of society makes it unacceptable. Until we're vocal about it. Until we change how we talk about rape, the words we use, how we treat victims. This sort of societal change requires men and women.
In this dark tunnel, I see the light of many males just as enraged about this as females. Good. It takes all of us - that means you, too, people who were worried about us getting raped in bathrooms by people who have no interest in raping us but only in peeing. Let's be productive in our anger. Let's take this repugnant and disgusting and inhuman and unacceptable rape culture and burn it down.