Go easy on rapists, lest they get traumatised; and let the survivors be damned!

By Trisha Shetty, She Says India

Brock Turner attacked a drunk and unconscious girl and chose to rape her near a dumpster on January 17th night, 18th morning of 2015.

He claims the survivor gave her consent, right before ‘she passed out’.

He took pictures of her naked, unconscious body and sent it to his swim-team friends in a group message.

He was cognisant of his actions and choose to run when the two by-standers intervened and questioned what he was doing to an unconscious woman.

He was convicted on three counts of felony sexual assault in March 2016, offences that merit 14 years in jail. Yet, the Judge Aaron Persky reduced Turner’s sentence to serving 6 months in country jail citing that a harsher sentence would have a ‘severe impact’ on Turner. Of this, rapist Brock Turner will only serve 3 months in protective custody

Rapist Brock Turner’s father, Dan Turner penned a letter to the Judge that his son doesn’t deserve to go to jail for “20 minutes of action”.

Mother, Carleen Turner’s letter to the Judge goes along the lines of- “Your honour please be kind and merciful to my beautiful son. His life is forever impacted and drastically altered by the ramifications of these guilty verdicts”

Sister, Caroline Turner blames the rape on alcohol and not her rapist brother; says “Think of the extraordinary potential he has to be a voice in society and speak out against the binge drinking and sexual promiscuity that defines culture on college campuses”

Grandparents, Carolyn and Richard Bradfield write, “Brock is the only person being held accountable for the actions of other irresponsible adults”.

Rapist Brock Turner’s friends who received the naked pictures deleted it right after his arrest and tried to hide evidence.

How can one not be outraged by the nonsensical and brutal system we have put in place that ensures we re-victimise survivors, lets rapists go with a slap on the wrists; lest they be ‘forever scarred’ by the trauma of being viewed as a rapist.

We tell survivors to ‘fight back, but remember to stay alive’. We admonish them if they vent their feelings on social media but choose not to report such crimes, we berate survivors to always speak up and report, to not suffer in silence. But to what end?

What purpose does going through the ordeal of relieving the assault, testifying, having your character dissected by the defendants lawyer, replaying the series of incidents prior to the rape over and over again to question you on where you went wrong as a survivor; serve if after all that the rapist gets convicted guilty on all 3 counts but is only asked to serve a reduced sentence of 3 months in protective custody?

Why? Because the rapist and the survivor were out drinking and drinking clouds judgement? What should’ve been a case of punishing the rapist for the heinous crimes he committed become a crusade against dangers of ‘drinking and college promiscuity’. Drinking doesn’t invite rape, nor does promiscuity!

The law clearly states that – Consent is vitiated, if at the time of giving consent the girl is intoxicated and doesn’t understand the nature of the event she is giving consent to.

The concern of the hour for those affiliated to rapist Brock Turner seems to be his rehabilitation, they are more worried about the ramifications he faces thanks to his actions than the impact it has had on the survivor.

So how do we address sexual abuse going forward? Do we keep quiet, tell survivors to stifle their pain, bottle it in, pretend like the abuse didn’t happen and not report it? If yes, then are we also not by extension normalising such heinous crimes?

For all of us who choose to not react, to not publicly denounce the unfairness and horrid attitude that was meted out to the the survivor and still choose to view this case of rape through the prism of ‘youngsters letting loose and making bad judgement calls when under the influence of alcohol’, know that the boogey monster isn’t a stranger in a dark alley. More often than not, abusers are people known to the survivor. Know that each abuse that goes unchecked become a gateway to a bigger abuse. That sexual perpetrators are repeat offenders. That if we don’t scream and shout and demand change now, we are all doomed!

Views in the article are that of the author