In Response To The Stanford Rape Ruling And Letters

In Response To The Stanford Rape Ruling And Letters

Frustrations and reactions to a highly publicized and controversial case.
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This past week, huge press has been released surrounding a now highly publicized rape that took place last January at Stanford University. A few things make this case stand out from the staggering numbers of other yearly campus rape and assault cases. First, a lengthy letter written by the victim to her attacker was made public, and its graphic content and impactful message have been sparking people to speak out against crimes of this nature. Additionally, the perpetrator received a startlingly lenient sentence and shortly after the victim's letter was released, a second letter, written by the father of Brock Turner (the convicted student), was also made public, sparking continued outrage from me, as well as the rest of the country.

There are so many things about this case and verdict that infuriate me, so many places where such overwhelming injustice and selfishness is shown. When such a terrible act of rape or assault is so blatantly committed, why should there ever be any question of who is at fault? This woman was unconscious! No question about it, that alone is immediate and definitive proof that no consent was given and the violations against her should never have occurred.

In this case, aside from receiving an incredibly lenient and unfitting sentence, the rapist and his father both refuse to accept responsibility for his actions that night. They blame other outside factors - college stress was getting to him, partying and alcohol culture were controlling him, promiscuity among college students is basically a crisis.

And here's my one response to that particularly ridiculous claim: "Promiscuity and alcohol culture"? Are you kidding me? Anyone who tries to compare assault to standard promiscuity is seriously deluding themselves and completely disrespecting the victim of their terrible actions. To commit a crime like this, and then completely accept responsibility, apologize and repent is one thing - still horrible, but far better than denying what clearly happened and continuing to make the victim feel less and less worthy of any shred of respect.

This woman, who bravely shared a deeply personal letter, exposing every thought, memory and ounce of pain related to the worst moments of her life, was then forced to wait and suffer without any positive resolution for more than a year. Even now, she doesn't have true justice, as her rapist received a ridiculously light sentencing - more like a slap on the wrist than punishment for three felonies - and also refused to ever accept his guilt or apologize to his victim for his actions. Though he does say repeatedly in his own letter how much that night ruined his life, he never once mentions the young woman out there who was even more destroyed by it.

How is it even the slightest bit possible to convince anyone that violating and raping an unconscious, intoxicated woman without any indication of consent is the same as being a normal, promiscuous, and consenting, college student?

Brock Turner continues to make one cowardly and horrid choice after another. While he writes a statement to the judge of his case, his father is the one whose pathetic excuses for his son's despicable actions are most publicized. This letter is one of the things that seems to enrage people the most, myself among them. In this letter, Brock's father spends about three words vaguely mentioning the victim of his son's actions. The rest of the letter is spent pandering to the judge, regaling him with completely irrelevant stories from his son's "perfect" childhood, creating an image of Brock as the farthest thing from a rapist - a loving, academically focused athlete who everyone loves, "whether they are male or female." Likewise, in Brock's statement, he too completely ignores the victim, choosing only to lament his own ruined life and his forever broken "shell and core."

And ultimately, what kind of twisted system do we have, where a man, unanimously convicted of three separate serious felonies, can receive a sentence of only six months, half of which most likely won't even have to be served? It also makes me wonder: if someone non-white, non-educated, and non-athletic committed the exact same crime, how much of that 14-year potential sentence would they be serving?

So, to the sexist, deluded judge who issued this ruling: Next time you decide to feel sorry for a rapist, and lessen his sentence because a longer sentence would "have a severe impact on him," think about his victim. Think about the woman whose mental health, happiness, career and social life have all deteriorated immensely because of 20 minutes she can't even remember, the details of which are now on every screen in America. And think about every other woman out there who has been in a similar situation and never even got to have her voice heard.

Cover Image Credit: NBC

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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To The Generation That Might Not Care, A Green New Deal Is Crucial

Take care of our planet and our future.

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The reality of climate change and method to address the issue has been a source of contention in the United States for far too long. While Republicans trail behind Democrats a great deal in the percentage who believe long-term, irreversible climate change is a real problem, an equally if not more important gap to acknowledge is that between generations.

A universally taught science concept in elementary school is the difference between weather and climate. Weather is the day-to-day condition of the atmosphere — rainy, sunny, etc. Climate is the weather of a particular geographic location over a long period of time. The weather in an area may be snowy on a particular January day but might overall have a warm climate (Trump has yet to learn this concept).

The gap between generational support for not only believing in the reality of climate change but if the government should take steps to prevent further harm on our planet is apparent. A few reasons that older generations may not support aggressive climate change policies are that many are not going to see the lasting impact of their harmful actions, may not want to acknowledge that their way of life for a majority of their life was detrimental to the environment, or that they simply do not think it is the government's role to further regulate current practices and lifestyles in the name of the environment (an argument supported by many conservatives).

Data For Progress

The "Green New Deal," proposed earlier this month by Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Edward Markey is mainly a list of ideas and goals rather than a carefully laid-out plan, though aims to eliminate greenhouse emissions through the creation of millions of jobs in the renewable energy industry, moving toward public ownership (a major source of disagreement among Republicans and Democrats), and much more. This plan is a comprehensive overview of many sources of environmental degradation that our nation has not addressed, despite the majority of the nation believing the climate change is a real issue.

There will undoubtedly be a major shift in the operations of many companies due to aggressive climate change policies, which could have been avoided at a drastic level if our nation had chosen to make climate change prevention a priority. Unfortunately, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global temperatures will rise to an irreversible level in 12 years if the United States and other countries that greatly contribute to rising temperatures do not take action. A sense of urgency has been lacking for far too long is crucial.

Written into the recently proposed Green New Deal is a section detailing how it will attempt to remedy the inequality of those most directly impacted by climate change. Vulnerable communities, particularly communities of color, are not seeing an equitable distribution in disaster funding to prevent damage inflicted by the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters that have resulted as an increase in rising global temperatures — Which, regardless of your age, should be a glaring flaw in our current system.

I personally doubt that the entirety of the recently proposed Green New Deal will be enacted, however, I believe that anyone who values the quality of human life, clean air, clean water, food sources, for not just those in the United States, but around the world, should be supportive of a Green New Deal.

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