We Will Not Be Silenced
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Politics and Activism

We Will Not Be Silenced

The Brock Allen Turner verdict is enraging, but it is not the end.

We Will Not Be Silenced
What I Be Project

I am writing this at 11:30 PM, when I should be sleeping in order to be ready for work tomorrow. But there is no way I can sleep now, not after learning this truly disgusting news: A student named Brock Allen Turner raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, yet he was sentenced to only six months in prison. This is because, and I quote, a longer time in jail would have had a ‘severe impact’ on him.

As I typed that sentence, my heart began to pound. This story enrages me. It makes my blood boil. I will not take up space on this platform by detailing the events of his crimes, except for a few details: the victim was drunk to the point of unconsciousness, to the point where she could not form coherent words. Consent was impossible. Still, he took her behind a dumpster where he knew no one would find them. Lacerations, abrasions, and dirt were found inside of her genitalia. Dirt. There were pine needles in her hair. She was dragged across the ground.

Despite these overwhelming details, her rapist has the audacity to behave as though he is not guilty for his crimes. He has so eloquently implied that this incident stemmed from college campus drinking culture and the promiscuity that results from it.

That is disgusting. This was not promiscuity. This was rape.

I am angry. I am angry that Brock Allen Turner has not taken responsibility for his actions. I am angry that he will only serve six months in jail, when the suggested time was six years. I am angry that our justice system has determined that his future is more important than his victim’s. Most of all, I am angry that our justice system has once again failed its women.

I am proud to be a woman, and I am proud to be a feminist. Further, I believe in the innate goodness of each person, man, woman, or other. Yet before I left for college, my mother sat down and shared with me a lengthy article about what rapists look for in their victims: hair length, type of purse, etc. I hated reading it, though I needed to. It terrified me.

I hate that I need to pay attention to where I park (under a light, where the visibility will deter attackers). I hate that I often carry my keys between my fingers, as a makeshift knife. I hate how my heart pounds whenever I walk on my college campus alone at night, a place where I deserve to feel safe. I hate that my friends have to tell me when and where they’re going on dates so I can make sure they’re okay later that night. I hate that I have to call my mom, even from three and a half hours away, so she can walk me to my car if I stay out past nightfall. I hate that I live in fear.

I don’t want to be afraid. I am proud to be a woman. It is a gift, but I am afraid. This case has only reinforced my fear. In this country, not only can one in five women expect to be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, but these women can also expect to find minimal justice in our justice system, which once again has chosen the rapist instead of the victim.

To the victim of our most recent case: You are not defined by Brock Allen Turner. He is a terrible, despicable thing that has happened to you, but he has not ruined you. In your statement, you wrote that you hope girls everywhere have absorbed a small amount of light from you, a small knowing that we can’t be silenced. I promise you, you have achieved that.

I am a woman. In this country, with womanhood often come shame, guilt, and fear. But as women, we are brave, and we are strong. We will continue to shine our light. We will never be silenced.

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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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