Brock Turner, You Will Not Win This One.

Brock Turner, You Will Not Win This One.

Your case could be overturned, but your story will live on forever.

In the early hours of January 18th, 2015, two lives were forever changed. One became a victim, the other a registered sex offender. The latter of the two most definitely deserves his new identity, but he should have paid a much higher price. Brock Turner, I have been following your case from the very beginning, and I have a few words for you.

For one reason or another, you do not think you should have to live with the weight of this case on your shoulders. Most recently, you have stated that you would like your case overturned, which ultimately means that you’d like to pretend as if all of this never happened.

You do not want to be known as the Stanford freshman who sexually assaulted someone outside of a fraternity house. I don’t think that anyone would want that label, but you get what you give.

You are a coward. You are a predator. You are evil.

Your father believes that “20 minutes of action” was not enough to taint your reputation as the Stanford swimmer. You know what? Had you not made the conscientious decision to ultimately ruin somebody else’s life, you could still be the Olympic-hopeful that everyone knew and loved.

You could've had it all.

Instead, you chose to rape an unconscious, intoxicated woman behind a dumpster and blame it on alcohol consumption and “sexual promiscuity", whilst also claiming that it was consensual. It's been said before, and I'll say it again:

Somebody who is under heavy influence of drugs and/or alcohol is not able to give proper consent.

No matter how much you'd like to believe she wanted it, too, she did not. She does not remember anything from the incident, and you knew that she likely had too much to drink, so you are the only one at fault here.

Do not blame this on any sexual tendencies she may have had, while at a BAC over three times the legal limit; she was incapable of giving ANY consent. How would you feel if you woke up in a hospital, only to find out later that you were raped at a frat party? Not only that, she was informed of this through the internet and television news.

I want you to take a moment to think about how traumatizing this must have been for her.

Judge Persky was concerned that an actual prison sentence would have "a severe impact" on you, never mind the fact that there is someone out there who probably lost countless hours of sleep because of what you did to her.

Hopefully you were listening to her 7,000 word statement that she read to you directly at your sentencing on June 2, 2016. Having read the whole thing myself, I found it to be very powerful and emotional, but one of the opening lines is the most iconic by far:

You don't know me, but you've been inside me, and that's why we're here today.

That in itself is enough reason for you to live with the consequences of your actions.

You claim that you would “give anything to change what happened”, but would you really? If so, with whose wellbeing in mind? What you did was outwardly selfish, inhumane, and wrong. I’m not sure how many times you’ll need to be told that before you finally accept the punishments you HAVE been given.

For what it’s worth, you received a VERY lenient punishment. You were sentenced six months in a county jail -- not even a federal prison -- to only serve half of that due to ‘good behavior’? Meanwhile, the woman you inflicted inexplicable pain upon will deal with what happened for the rest of her life.

You may be known as the former Stanford swimmer, but you will ALWAYS be a registered sex offender in the state of Ohio. Unfortunately, your previous credentials will always remain with you in the eyes of society, but it does not change the fact that what you did is irreversible.

If anything, following your story has taught me that some things in life are simply unfair. I hope that you will eventually accept that what you did was wrong, and that you'll strive to become a better person. I think that would be a long shot, as you will never be able to erase what you did. That in itself could never excuse the injustices your victim faced through all of this, but I hope she knows that there are so many people on her side. Though her identity remains anonymous to the public, she prevailed with dignity, strength, and courage, and she set an example for sexual assault victims nationwide to speak up.

You will not win this one, Mr. Turner.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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My Asexuality Is The Last Thing I Hate About Myself

Oh, by the way - mom and dad, I'm Ace!

This week my fellow UCF Odyssey writer and asexual Chris Mari wrote an article explaining his asexuality and his complete detest for it. He goes into detail about how is sexual orientation developed, what it is, and how he feels about how it affects his relationships. It is a really insightful article about the accepting process of discovering your own sexuality.

However, I feel like Chris is taking this the wrong way. Being asexual, or any sexuality for that matter, is nothing to be ashamed of and you should never hate yourself for it. It took me a while to figure it out and it took me even longer to accept it. But once I did, my life, relationships, and my view on my asexuality got better. I don't see it as a curse or a disease. I see it as being a part of the awesome person I am (not to brag).

There are many things that I don't like about myself, but my sexuality is not one of them. I hate that I am messy, that I like to mix all of the fountain drinks into one cup, and that I am a terrible driver. I do not hate the fact that I am a five-foot-two asexual woman who eats a lot of pasta.

To be clear, like most sexualities asexuality has a spectrum with different attraction levels and variances between each individual. There are many types of asexuality and each type varies on sexual orientation, lack of sexual attraction, and romantic orientation, which is completely different from sexual orientation. At its core, being asexual means that you lack sexual attraction to others, have low sexual desire, and never initiate sexual activity.

Asexuality means many things to many different people. You can still be in a sexual relationship with someone and still consider yourself to be asexual. You can be attracted to others and still have romantic relationships and still be asexual. It does not have to confine you, your relationship, or you sex/non-sex life.

Unlike Chris, I figured out my asexuality as a teen. Around my senior year in high school, I noticed that I wasn't experiencing the same feelings towards sex and sexual desire as a lot of my friends. For a long time, I thought that there was something wrong with me. I blamed it on me being "too mature" for relationships in high school, and that "all the guys in my grade were unattractive." Which, by the way, was not true.

It wasn't until I started Googling these question I had that I found out what the issue was. I am asexual. And it wasn't until the first relationship I had that I realized I was more of a gray-asexual than strictly asexual. I sometimes feel sexual attraction to others, but only when a strong emotional connection is formed, and even then my sexual attraction is little to none.

Having sex does not mean having a relationship and having a relationship does not mean having sex. Trust me, I know. A romantic relationship is built on a strong emotional connection, respect, and intimacy, which does not necessarily mean sex. My past relationships were built on strong emotional connections and mutual respect. Sometimes there have been feeling of sexual attraction, but in a lot of cases, there weren't. If/when I am in a relationship, there is a lot of emotional intimacy, caring, and a lot more Netflix binging than in most non-asexual relationships.

Chris, it sounds like you are still dealing with the fact that you are asexual. And let me tell you, from my own experience, once you accept it your feelings towards it won't be so negative. There is an entire community of people like you and I that understand what you are going through. But this is something that you shouldn't hate yourself for.

Being asexual does not mean you are broken, have a disease, and are not capable of being in a relationship. If you surround yourself with accepting people, accept who you are as a person, and find that person who loves you for who you are and not your asexuality, then you will see how awesome it is to be who you are meant to be. Trust me, it's good to be part of the plus! We give it that extra credit!

Cover Image Credit: Jon Ly

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The Benefits Of Putting In Effort To Be Respectful Result In Better Days For Everyone

Why it matters to not be a jerk.

As a transperson, there’s things you just have to learn to deal with. Especially when you’re not really passing.

Now these are things I’ve experienced so there’s a strong chance that this isn’t a universal experience for transpeople or maybe it’s just transmen. Who knows.

So, one thing I’ve noticed a lot is that people see you and immediate look at secondary sex characteristics and immediately determine based on biological sex what your gender is. And yes, most of the time it seems accurate. It’s just sort of where people are right now. They don’t mean to misgender, it’s just something that happens. I’ve become used to that, I might internally groan and feel annoyed, but I try and swallow it down. It’s not usually worth correcting if it’s not someone I interact with closely.

That being said, when there’s a situation where a tiny bit of effort and self-awareness can fix that? Well, that just tends to anger me. Let me explain, because there is a story about this.

I’ve been studying at a U.K. university since January. While here, all of my files and such say my preferred name, Jason. Like it’s all very clear in my files that I’m Jason and they know my deadname.

My student id even says Jason and I won’t lie, when I got that I felt close to tears it was just so awesome.

I was being recognized, validated.

((I am sure I could fix it at my home university, fix my id there and get all the paperwork and such fixed but I have my reasons for not getting into that process.))

I got an email recently asking if I had time to talk to the students here who were about to go to the U.S. to study, some going to my home university. I immediately jumped on the chance because, why wouldn’t I want to brag about UNCG?

When I replied to the email, I signed it Jason. Usually when I do this, despite the email address (the name you put when you make the account) the person I’m sending the email to picks up on what’s happening.

Instead, this time when I got the reply, they did two things which left e dumbfounded and pretty angry.

They put my deadname- and they didn’t even spell that right. Now, I’m white- I’m never going to understand the crap POC’s have to go through when others make fun of, misspell and all that kind of stuff with their names.

But seriously? They weren’t able to see that I signed my email Jason? Or to glance up at the name associated with the email to make sure its spelled right?

One thing that’s pounded into students heads again and again is be professional, correct and to doublecheck our emails. Especially when they’re to people who work with the university.

It makes me wonder why I should put in the effort when emailing them, but they don’t have to?

Because I don’t have a fancy title or a job at a College or University I deserve less respect?

How the heck does that make sense?

Sure, nothing in life is fair but a general rule to give minimal respect to others seems like a great idea.

I thought that the ideas of respect and effort were cornerstones of most universities. Maybe it’s just different here. Maybe they don’t care.

Or maybe, it was just a honest mistake though in my experience? I doubt it.

Cover Image Credit: Chezbeate

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