Give 'Em The Old Razzle Dazzle
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Give 'Em The Old Razzle Dazzle

Chicago the Musical Comes to Life with the Stanford Rape Case

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Give 'Em The Old Razzle Dazzle
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Let’s talk about Chicago. Let’s talk about the Stanford Rape Case. Let’s talk.

So, Chicago. It’s set in the 1920s and the basic plot line is that there is a woman that wants to be famous. Her name is Roxie Hart. Roxie Hart has a lover, Fred Casely, and he promised to make her famous. When that promise fell out, Roxie Hart murdered him. She is charged with murder and goes to a county jail. Well, sweet little Roxie Hart doesn’t want to be in jail, rotting away. She has so much potential to be in vaudeville. So, she begs her husband to hire Billy Flynn. Billy Flynn is the lawyer to go to. He has a reputation of being able to win any trial, especially murders done by women. Sure enough, Billy Flynn gets Roxie Hart acquitted and all is well in the world. Sound familiar?

So, the Stanford Rape Case. I will try not to put disgust in my words, but if it happens… I do apologize. For a quick summary: Brock Turner was convicted of three felony charges on account of sexual assault to an unconscious woman who has decided to remain anonymous. This was witnessed by two Stanford students that stumbled across Turner mid-act and stopped him. Instead of getting the minimum two years behind bars, he has gotten six months at the county jail, three years probation, and he needs to register as a sex offender. People are now speculating that Turner will probably get out in three months if he exhibits good behavior. Many letters have been released including the survivor’s, Turner’s, Turner’s father, Turner’s mother, and Leslie Rasmussen’s—a friend of Turner. People, on the whole, are pretty outraged at the sentencing for Turner. It has elicited many petitions for overturning the judge and getting a harsher sentence for Turner, and there is severe backlash against the letters that have been written in defense of Turner (Turner the, y’know, rapist.)

Give ‘em the old razzle dazzle, and they’ll never catch wise. Of all the letter’s surrounding Turner’s defense, I read the father’s letter first. We’ve heard of this one. His father speaks about how Turner has experienced loss of appetite, and his son doesn’t eat steak anymore. His son is talented in many different athletic arenas, and Turner’s father will “cherish the memories” of Turner being young for forever. Turner’s father expressed concern with his son at Stanford because Turner told his parents that he was struggling to fit in. Turner’s father also explains his son’s act of sexual assault as “20 minutes of action” and that whatever sentencing that is given would be a “steep price to pay.” Turner’s father also wants pity on the fact that his son has to register as a sexual offender which affects him many spheres of life.

Give ‘em a show that’s so splendiferous. Give ‘em the old flim flam flummox, fool and fracture ‘em. Aside from this pathetic letter written by the father that has many, many faults there is the letter done by Turner the Rapist himself. I stumbled upon Turner’s letter and when I read it, I could only envision Turner’s attorney telling him to write a letter making him sound like the victim—like he was out of his own control. No part of that letter makes it sound as though Turner felt responsible for his actions done on the night of January 17th. Turner mentioned how, “Having spent most of my time around people that consumed alcohol daily, I thought it was fundamental to being in college and living like a college student.” Further, he states, “I also had the opportunity to witness on multiple occasions people being intimate at parties that involved alcohol. […] I witnessed countless times the guys that I looked up to go to parties, meet girls and take the girl that they had just met back with them.” Statement after statement, word after word, he takes responsibility off of himself and puts it onto the people he looked up to, the setting of the situation, the alcohol, the night, trying to fit in, misunderstanding college lifestyle—everything, anything, except his own agency. He talks about how they laughed because she lost her footing and fell—while he followed suit. How sweet. How innocent. He talks about how he was so confused when two people approached him and questioned him of his actions. He talks about being told that he was being charged for rape and how shocked he was—“I would never even think about [raping someone].” Turner explains how he is a changed person, how he is goal oriented, how he can talk to other people about the culture of “binge drinking and sexual promiscuity,” and that he “would never have any problem with law enforcement” if placed on probation. Yadda, yadda yadda.

Throw ‘em a fake and a finagle, they’ll never know you’re just a bagel. Aside from these letters, let’s look at some other facts: the judge Aaron Persky, according to his biography, graduated from Stanford. He was a coach at Stanford. He also was a criminal prosecutor for sex and hate crimes. He also serves as an Executive Committee Member of the Support Network for Battered Women. What about Turner’s defense attorney? He’s Mike Armstrong. He also graduated from Stanford, he is an advisor to fraternities at Stanford University, and he has recognition as being one of the best lawyers in Silicon Valley (in both criminal defense and white-collar criminal defense.) He is also a Super Lawyer, and he has been selected for the Best Lawyers in America for over ten years. Talk about money, amirite? Armstrong, with all these successes—which we can respect him for—would not come cheap. It’s safe to assume that he costs a pretty, pretty penny.

How can they hear the truth above the roar? Throughout this entire situation, we see that there are people at play that are not for justice, but for themselves. These are the Roxie Harts and Billy Flynns of the world. Real life in real action. Between the letters on Turner’s behalf and the situation of the woman being black out drunk... how can people hear the truth above the roar? We have the two heroes of the story. The two that stood up for justice: Carl-Fredrik Arndt and Peter Jonsson. The ones that stopped Turner. The ones that can witness. The ones that know the truth. The ones that we can hear above the roar. Then we have the hero herself. The one that stood in front of an audience, the one that stole the spotlight off of Brock and his pathetic, unmanly self. The one that bravely recounted the situations of January 17th, January 18th, and beyond. How she lost herself. How she hasn’t been able to live life the same way. The one that takes her story and puts it in such a way that allows all women that have experienced sexual assault relate back to her. That is brave. It is difficult to face the demons of the world. It is difficult to challenge the razzle dazzle, the stories that are formulated and articulated in such a way that takes away from the truth, that takes away from the pain of the ones that have experienced awful, awful things. These three are the heroes. These three are the voices of truth that are strained against the roars of lies, blame and irresponsibility for ones’ actions. It is easy to pay attention to Turner and those who support him, defend him. They illicit emotions in us that are negative—outrage, disgust and frustration. But don’t let this story become about Brock. Or Persky. Or Armstrong.

‘Cause you can look right through me, walk right by me, and never know I’m there. Many of the women (and men) that are affected by sexual assault end up like Roxie Hart’s husband, Amos—Mr. Cellophane. This story is about the anonymous woman, the woman that many other females can find themselves in. The one that has been silenced—by alcohol, by victim-blaming, by Turner and by those who refuse to believe her. And when faced by these silencers, she still found her voice. Still found it in her to speak. To face Turner. To face crowds of many—whether it be in person or over the internet—when everyone expected her to retreat, to stay quiet and to not fight back because this is what many are told to do. This is what many don’t expect. This woman, wherever she is, stood up against people that didn’t expect a lot from her. She has given a voice to herself and other women that have experienced similar situations. She has exposed injustices that are in the United States “justice” system. Her story has rallied people together to overcome this with her. Mr. Cellophane no more. People are coming out with their own experiences, sharing them in support for her. Sharing them for release of themselves. Sharing them to show that there is more than just her—that this happens a lot and still nothing gets done. People are establishing a voice for sexual assault. People are not settling. They are waging war. They are not okay with people looking right through them, walking right by them and never knowing what they have experienced. They, too, are the voices rising up against the roar of the razzle dazzle.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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