About 3 days ago, it was announced that convicted Brock Turner is now appealing his conviction from Santa Clara Country over his rape case back in 2015. Turner's 172-page appeal submitted by his attorney discussed how aspects such as Brock Turner's swimming career and school performance were all factors that shouldn't have been overlooked because it "demonstrated his honesty." In addition, a full 60 pages of the appeal goes on to describe how intoxicated the victim, Emily Doe, was. Turner's appeal also continues to discuss how the description of how he repeatedly assaulted the victim "behind a dumpster" brought an unfair view to his case by associating the fact that he was trying to conceal his actions as well as associate the actions with the filth of the dumpster. In reality, the assault carried out next to the dumpster, with the other side facing the football field and a wall on the other side.
While the articles telling of Turner's appeal bring up the forgotten feeling of outrage we experienced from the trial, my stomach also has been twisted into a feeling of nausea every time Brock's face appears on the media.
I'm not sorry, Brock. Your actions, trials, and now appeal have all displayed the glaring issues we have in the US facing assault, rape, and white privilege. And heart-breakingly, one victim had to suffer for these to come to view.
Here is a summary and outline to catch anyone who's out of the loop up:
January 10, 2015: Brock Turner, a swimmer at Stanford University, is reportedly very "creepy" and "handsy" at an event at Kappa Alpha Order fraternity towards a woman who later spoke out.
January 17, 2015: Turner leaves the Kappa Alpha fraternity house with the victim, Emily Doe, and is soon pulled off her by passing graduate students who spot him thrusting himself into her unconscious body behind a dumpster—whoops, my bad, thrusting himself into her unconscious body dumpster-adjacent and as a result, is tackled by the grad students and later arrested,
January 18, 2015: Turner posts up a $150,000 bail, most assuming from his daddy.
January 28, 2015: Turner is formally charged with two counts of rape, two counts of penetration and one count of assault with intent to rape.
October 7, 2015: Rape charges are dropped.
March 30, 2016: The court finds Turner guilty on all remaining assault charges, but Turner and his defense appeal.
June 2, 2016: Judge Aaron Persky of Santa Clara County sentences Turner to six months in jail and to register as a sex offender—an extremely light sentence seeing that the maximum (and typical) could have been up to 14 years in prison.
September 2, 2016: Turner is released from jail after 3 months.
December 1, 2017: Turner and his defense submit a 172-page brief insinuating that Turner’s trial was not fair.
First, let’s get to the point. On March 30, 2016, Turner was found guilty of several indictments relating to that night. These are sexual penetration of an unconscious woman, sexual penetration of an intoxicated woman, and assault with intent to rape.
So, here we are, in December of 2017 and still hearing about Turner and his defense constantly arguing his side.
I understand how the justice system works. I know that a lot of this case rode on the emotional level for people all over the country. I know that many people insinuated Turner’s guilt before he even faced trial. But what I don’t understand is how because of these things, a man convicted and proven to not only assault and take advantage of a woman unconscious, but to be a predator, has continued to emphasize the rhetoric of assault on college campuses as well as white privilege within the US justice system.
As we launch in to a new ordeal of watching the appeal, here are some key things we need to remember:
Rape is rape
Quite honestly, I don’t give a damn if he wasn’t convicted of rape. Brock Turner is a rapist. He is a clean-cut cookie cutter image of college men and because of that, so many people, including his own father, refuse to recognize him as the monster he is.
Brock, I don’t care how intoxicated the woman was. I don’t care if you “thought she wanted it”. And what I really don’t care about is how “excellent” of a student or athlete you are. You’re a monster, and what you did that night was horrific and going to follow that victim throughout the rest of her life.
Turner’s father became infamous as he referred to the assault as “20-minutes of action” in his letter to the court. Let’s look at the idiocy of this phrase. “20-minutes of action”. For 20 minutes, Brock Turner repeatedly forced himself inside an unconscious body and the only thing that stopped him were the bystanders who intervened as they saw an unconscious body be thrust into over and over again BEHIND A DUMPSTER. For 20 minutes, Brock Turner raped, assaulted, and altered the life of an innocent girl who just happened to drink too much and fall into the hands of a monster. It may have just been “20 minutes” but just because the time window was brief, doesn’t mean the damage was.
The thing that’s so difficult to recognize on a college campus is that rape, regardless of who it is, is rape. It doesn’t matter how intoxicated either party is, when someone forces themselves on an unconscious body, it’s rape. I don’t care that the charge wasn’t “deemed” rape entirely. The charge was penetration of a foreign object, so honestly, I couldn’t tell you which one is worse, rape or being repeatedly gouged into with a foreign object behind a dumpster. Brock, you raped someone. You’re a rapist, regardless of what your defense attorney or daddy tells you because even they know deep down that what you did was horrible. The jury didn’t overlook your swimming career or your grades, they were simply overpowered by the evidence that proved you assaulted that girl on the night of January 17, 2015.
White privilege is alive and well in the justice system
Let’s separate politics, the race issues, and social problems the US is facing right now. I want you to try to clear your mind of bias when I incite this question.
If Brock Turner was Latino or black, do you think the outcome would’ve been the same?
If you said yes, you’re lying to yourself. A study conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union found that blacks and Latinos receive on average sentences that are 20 times longer than the sentence for white crimes.
Turner grew up in an affluent neighborhood, excelled in swimming and school, and had parents wealthy enough to hire a defense as well as bail him out for a sum of $150,000.
The problem with the justice system in the US in three-pronged.
One is that the racist stereotypes that insinuate minorities are less human and more capable of committing heinous crimes take over the emotions that can determine whether a defendant is guilty, or innocent based on the color of their skin. For example, when Stephen Paddock open-fired on the Route 91 concert in Las Vegas, Nevada, the first questions being asked were if he was connected to a terrorist organization—meaning that it would be easier to accept what happened if we connected him to a group of foreigners that we lived in fear of… Because after all, what white guy just open fires for no reason? Oh, wait.
The second is that even in cases of heinous crimes, such as Turner’s, these are all too often excused because of the idea white privilege gives us which is that white people are more easily rehabilitated than people of color. Therefore, the judge so easily accepted that those 20 minutes in which Turner repeatedly and brutally assaulted the woman did not determine his character.
The third prong is easy to grasp. Who runs the justice system? The government. Who’s in the government?
A bunch of privileged white males who, for the most part, were able to gain power because of wealth.
We need to adjust the way we prevent rape in the country.
The victim in this heartbreaking case was not assaulted violently because she was wearing revealing clothing. She wasn’t assaulted because she had too much to drink. She also wasn’t assaulted because she chose to go out that night.
She was assaulted because Brock Turner is a pig, who took advantage of her and her state and consciously chose to penetrate and rape the victim.
Stop telling girls how “not” to get raped and start telling men not to rape. If someone’s unconscious, don’t have sex with them. If someone’s too drunk to think for themselves, don’t have sex with them. If someone says “no”, don’t have sex with them.
Don’t tell me that you wouldn’t ever rape someone because you have a mom, sister, wife, girlfriend, or daughter. Tell me you wouldn’t rape someone because it’s sick and wrong.
As we advance on to witness the next chapter in this seemingly never-ending case, remember these observations. And the sooner that closed-minded people stop pushing this off as “liberal bullshit” the sooner we can stop our population from getting raped (every 4.2 minutes in the US).
My thoughts and prayers go out to the victim and many others, like myself, who have fallen victim to a sexual assault on a college campus. It’s not okay, it’s not excusable, and it must stop now.
And to Brock Turner, I hope your “20 minutes of action” really did ruin your life.