If you have been reading my articles for some time, then you may remember my article Why I'm Scared from June 2016. I wrote this article about my fear of living in a world where rapists are sentenced to only six months (he ended up only serving three months) in jail because the judge was concerned for his, the rapists's, well-being.
I'm sad to report that I was reminded that some people actually stick up for rapists last night, however.
I was sitting in my dorm room with several friends watching tv and talking, when another one of my friends comes in and asks us our opinion on the Brock Turner case since he was writing an essay on it. Most of my friends were outraged at the sentencing, believing that his sentence was obviously too short. Another of my friends brought up the good point that now more people who are convicted of rape will want this same short sentence. I was the only female in the room, so I was happy to hear that my guy friends were just as angry about it as I was. I was always curious about how guys felt about this.
Another one of my friends was avoiding the question. He kept asking something along the lines of "what view point do you want?" It turns out he only somewhat agreed with us. He said he didn't have all the information he needed in order to make a verdict, which is understandable. As a group we filled him in with the basics. They were both at a party. Both were drunk. The girl passed out unconscious. He was drunk, but not passed out. He raped her behind a dumpster. He was found on top of her by two men who chased after him when he tried to run away. They eventually caught him. He was convicted of rape and sentenced to six months in jail.
So, what do you think my friend said after hearing this?
He said something along the lines of "well, they were both drunk so she technically raped him just as much as he raped her. They both couldn't consent."
Excuse me? The last time I checked, an unconscious person can't consent. An unconscious person can't stick their penis in someone or force someone to have sex with them if they are not awake, therefore, an unconscious person can't rape someone. I don't think there is such a thing as sleep raping. Please, correct me if I'm wrong here. The person who is awake, even if the person is drunk, is still coherent enough to penetrate another person. They made the decision, not the person passed out.
My room is erupting now with everyone arguing. This person, who I thought was my friend, was defending his claims. People were angry and frustrated on both sides of the debate.
Personally, I felt betrayed. What if this situation were to happen to me? Would he still think that I deserved jail time for getting raped while passed out? Would he think that I was just as guilty as the person who took advantage of me?
"Think of your family. What if this happened to your mom or something?" I asked. I cut myself short. In my head I was thinking and your future daughter and aunt and grandmother and your niece and your brother or son or father or grandfather. I never got an answer. I was told that the judicial system doesn't decide cases on empathy.
By this time, I was overwhelmed. I left the room, my room, and headed to the restroom. I sat in silence in a stall, stunned by what was going on in my dorm room. I controlled my jagged breathing, because if I didn't calm down, I was either going to punch him square in the jaw, pass out, or have an anxiety attack right then and there. I wasn't in the mood to have a bruised knuckle, or pass out (apparently a ton of shit can go wrong if a girl passes out), or lose control of my anxiety. I had been doing really well not letting my anxiety get out of hand, and I wasn't about to have a stupid person get the best of me.
After I calmed down, I headed back to my room. He was waiting in my door way, smirking. As I came closer, he started to go back into the room.
"No, don't go back in my room. You're already half way out, so stay out," I told him. I squeezed past him and he left, saying some sassy comments. I didn't listen to him, however; I knew he was just trying to make me angrier at this point.
I don't think I will ever be able to understand what he was thinking, because I personally didn't see any logic in it. I don't think he will ever understand why I got so angry, either. He will never comprehend a woman's point of view on this. He will never see the repercussions. He doesn't see how this is a smack in the face for women, how a rich white boy who raped a woman's well being is more important than the woman who was the victim. He doesn't see how this is no different than the argument that women get raped because of what they were wearing (don't get me started) or how they shouldn't go out drinking with friends because they could get raped. He doesn't see that this is victim blaming and how many women internalize this concept. He will never understand the fear that most women feel.
What is worse than all of this is that I don't think he has any interest in seeing and learning about a woman's point of view on this case and rape in general. He didn't care that his friend was obviously affected by this, so why would he care about a woman he's never met?
In the meantime, I don't think I need a friend like him in my life.