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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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Saying You "Don't Take Political Stances" IS A Political Stance

All you're doing by saying this is revealing your privilege to not care politically, and here's why that's a problem.

bethkrat
bethkrat
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I'm sure all of us know at least one person who refuses to engage in political discussions - sure, you can make the argument that there is a time and a place to bring up the political happenings of our world today, but you can't possibly ignore it all the time. You bring up the last ridiculous tweet our president sent or you try to discuss your feelings on the new reproductive regulation bills that are rising throughout the states, and they find any excuse to dip out as quickly as possible. They say I don't talk about politics, or I'm apolitical. Well everyone, I'm here to tell you why that's complete bullsh*t.

Many people don't have the luxury and privilege of ignoring the political climate and sitting complacent while terrible things happen in our country. So many issues remain a constant battle for so many, be it the systematic racism that persists in nearly every aspect of our society, the fact that Flint still doesn't have clean water, the thousands of children that have been killed due to gun violence, those drowning in debt from unreasonable medical bills, kids fighting for their rights as citizens while their families are deported and separated from them... you get the point. So many people have to fight every single day because they don't have any other choice. If you have the ability to say that you just don't want to have anything to do with politics, it's because you aren't affected by any failing systems. You have a privilege and it is important to recognize it.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

We recognize that bad people exist in this world, and we recognize that they bring forth the systems that fail so many people every single day, but what is even more important to recognize are the silent majority - the people who, by engaging in neutrality, enable and purvey the side of the oppressors by doing nothing for their brothers and sisters on the front lines.

Maybe we think being neutral and not causing conflict is supposed to be about peacekeeping and in some way benefits the political discussion if we don't try to argue. But if we don't call out those who purvey failing systems, even if it's our best friend who says something homophobic, even if it's our representatives who support bills like the abortion ban in Alabama, even if it's our president who denies the fact that climate change is killing our planet faster than we can hope to reverse it, do we not, in essence, by all accounts of technicality side with those pushing the issues forward? If we let our best friend get away with saying something homophobic, will he ever start to change his ways, or will he ever be forced to realize that what he's said isn't something that we can just brush aside? If we let our representatives get away with ratifying abortion bans, how far will the laws go until women have no safe and reasonable control over their own bodily decisions? If we let our president continue to deny climate change, will we not lose our ability to live on this planet by choosing to do nothing?

We cannot pander to people who think that being neutral in times of injustice is a reasonable stance to take. We cannot have sympathy for people who decide they don't want to care about the political climate we're in today. Your attempts at avoiding conflict only make the conflict worse - your silence in this aspect is deafening. You've given ammunition for the oppressors who take your silence and apathy and continue to carry forth their oppression. If you want to be a good person, you need to suck it up and take a stand, or else nothing is going to change. We need to raise the voices of those who struggle to be heard by giving them the support they need to succeed against the opposition.

With all this in mind, just remember for the next time someone tells you that they're apolitical: you know exactly which side they're on.

bethkrat
bethkrat

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