When The Media Focuses On The Ruined 'Promising Career' Of A Rapist

When The Media Focuses On The Ruined 'Promising Career' Of A Rapist

How The Media Has Portrayed The "All-American" Stanford Swimmer Found Guilty of Rape

Recently, while reading the news headlines, I have been appalled.

"Former Stanford All-American swimmer Brock Turner found guilty of raping unconscious woman behind dumpster outside of frat party"

"All-American swimmer found guilty of sexually assaulting unconscious woman on Stanford campus"

"Jury finds former Stanford swimmer guilty of rape"

" All-American university swimmer found guilty of raping unconscious woman"

Brock Turner, a 20 year old former swimmer on the Stanford Varsity swim team, was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault against the 23 year old woman he raped while she was unconscious. However, the media, and the judicial system, are treating him as though he deserves special privilege. Why? Because he is an attractive, young, white male who is a talented swimmer. However, although he seemed to have a lot of promise, this does not change the fact that he is a rapist. He has officially been found guilty of rape, and yet, our media and judicial system are giving him a slap on the wrist in order to protect him.

The "All-American" swimmer was sentenced to six months in jail, instead of the maximum fourteen years, due to the judge fearing that jail would have a "severe impact" on Turner. Turner, however, deserves the "severe impact" that jail will have on him. His actions had him arrested, facing fourteen years in prison, and yet he was given six months. What will he learn from this? That because he is a talented swimmer that he will be able to get away with illegal and harmful actions such as rape? In six months when he is released from prison will he rape another unconscious woman believing that he can once again use his talent as an excuse to escape punishment?

Can I also ask why publications have insisted on using the above image to identify Turner? He is a criminal, and yet this picture gives him the look of successful athlete who has done nothing wrong. Why has his mug shot not used instead? He was arrested, and thus it only makes sense to use his mug shot to write about his criminal activity. The media has focused too much on how this case has damaged Turner's swimming career. It was not like Turner was in an accident, he chose to rape an unconscious woman and therefore deserves to be punished. According to the Washington Post, "his extraordinary yet brief swim career is now tarnished, like a rusting trophy". Yes, his swim career could have been extraordinary, but he made a decision that ruined it. He is not a rusting trophy, he is a trophy that intentionally chose to throw itself in the way of a moving train and destroy itself.

The prosecutors said that Turner "may not look like a rapist, but he is the... face of campus sexual assault". Do you know what a rapist looks like? From hearing stories from victims of rape, a rapist has many looks and personas. A rapist can be of any skin color and appearance. Rape isn't restricted to dark alleys and bars, rapists can be friends or acquaintances. So Turner indeed is the "face of campus sexual assault" in the way that he brings attention to the fact there isn't a single face to rape. It can be a person in your class, a friend you've hung out with for years, a significant other, or someone who asks you to dance at the bar.

And not all rapes occur behind dumpsters at frat houses. They often occur in dorm rooms, bedrooms, living rooms, and anywhere people can be alone. Usually, a group of people don't catch the rapist in the act and have the courage to tackle him until he is arrested. More often than not, people don't intervene, or don't have the chance to.

Although this case is an insult to the worth of all women and the legitimacy of sexual assault victims, I do have hope that this case and its horrible outcome have brought this problem to light. Sexual assault is an epidemic on our college campuses and in our high schools. It is an epidemic, that without the dedication of those who care about the wellbeing of our peers, will not go away. I am happy to see so many people sharing this story on Facebook, and I urge you to continue this passion in your own life. Learn about sexual assault. Join an organization that fights to stop it. Talk to your school administration about how to improve the rules concerning sexual assault and the reporting of sexual assault. Help your friends, and even strangers, when you see that someone is too intoxicated to consent or you see that there might be a dangerous situation. If everyone becomes active, instead of remaining passive and saying "yeah sexual assault is horrible, but what can I do to stop it?", it is possible that we can fight back against this epidemic.

If you have yet to read the letter that the woman in this case read to Turner, I urge you to do so. It is truly impossible to know what the victim of rape and sexual assault experiences until it happens to you, but by reading this letter you can get a sense of why so many people are passionate about this cause.


Cover Image Credit: Daily News

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10 Reasons Your Big Sister Is The Best Person In Your Life

"There is no better friend than a sister, and there is no better sister than you."

As much as I hate to admit it, my big sister might be sort-of, slightly, cooler than I am.

Sometimes. She's the one I call when I can't call mom and the only one in the family who can properly handle my attitude. Big sisters are the people you'd choose if they weren't already family, and here's why.

1. She is your first and truest friend.

Big sisters are (literally) there from day one. They see every dirty diaper, every bad haircut, and every melodramatic breakup. They deal with every bad day and drama queen attitude and still love you in the most unconditional way.

2. Her closet is your closet.

For some reason, her clothes always look better on you. Funny how that works, huh? With a big sister comes a big closet, and who doesn't love having a double wardrobe? I'd also like to take this opportunity to apologize for the clothes I will never give back (but I'm not really that sorry).

3. She knows what it's like to deal with your parents.

Anything you could possibly be going through, they went through it first. It's kind of like having an instruction manual or a key to the future. Either way, it's always nice to have someone who will always understand the struggle.

4. There are no boundaries.

Wanna dance around in your underwear all day? Cool. Life talks while she's on the toilet? Also cool. There's no awkward moments or changing in the bathroom with the door locked. There's just the kind of freedom that only comes with siblings.

5. Thanks to her, you know about all of the cool movies/music/fashion trends from years back.

Thanks to my sister, I have every Too $hort and Ludacris song you could ever think of downloaded on my phone. I've seen every cheesy '90s movie, and when a fad from 10 years ago comes back in, I already have the hookup.

6. She tells you like it is.

We all have those friends who tend to sugarcoat everything. Yeah, sisters don't do that. She's the first person to tell me when I'm making a terrible decision and that I really shouldn't triple text that boy again. She keeps it real with me and deals with my attitude, and that's why she's the best.

7. Her home is always open.

Sometimes you just need to get away from life and binge watch Netflix, and sometimes you need all of that plus your sister. She always has her door open when you're two seconds away from losing your mind, and she also has good takeout and a dog.

8. She knows what you're capable of.

My sister knows exactly who I am and what I can do. She knows when I'm not doing my best, and when I need to be set straight. She's always there to remind me who I am and what I'm capable of accomplishing. She's always been my biggest fan.

9. She's a lot cheaper than therapy.

For some reason, my sister always knows just what to say. Even if I don't see it at the time, she's usually right (don't tell her I said that). Big sisters are like wizards, somehow they always magically make you feel like life's gonna turn out alright in the end. If she wasn't already awesome at everything else, I'd suggest she be a therapist.

10. She will always be your go-to gal.

No matter the situation, she will always be by your side. There is nothing you could say or do to make a big sister leave, and that's why they're the best. Whether it's a speeding ticket, a mean girl or you just need to laugh, big sisters are always going to be there to lift your spirits and set you straight.

I couldn't make it without ya sis, I'm sorry for ratting you out on Thanksgiving that one time, and for running away at the zoo. Thanks for taking me to see Aaron Carter even though he's way too old to still be singing "I want Candy," and thank you always for being the best role model, sister and friend I could ask for.

Cover Image Credit: teaser-trailer.com

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?


This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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