I’m mad. Infuriated, actually. A rapist is getting set free, possibly right now. Today, after only serving three months in jail. Upon hearing this news, my immediate reaction was to pull out my laptop and shove my two cents down your throat. I wanted to write about the injustice of Brock Turner’s short sentence.
Armed with a handful of hot tamales and an ice water, I grabbed my laptop and began my research, ready to write about statistics and logic and speak to the rational world about how this Stanford student’s sentence was a travesty and a joke to our judicial system and a complete and utterly repulsive slap in the face of his victim because it was. It is. It is the definition of injustice.
But sadly, with rape (or in this boy’s privileged world) sexual assault or according to his dad, “twenty minutes of action,” it’s not uncommon. Like I said, I wanted to write a logical article about how illogical his sentence was and how even more illogical his time served was, so I did some research.
Here’s what I found:
Brock Turner was not convicted of rape. He was convicted of sexual assault. Three counts of felony sexual assault: Assault with intent to rape, sexual penetration of an intoxicated person and sexual penetration of an unconscious person. Here’s the difference in rape and sexual assault according to The Bureau of Justice Statistics. Rape is: “Forced sexual intercourse including both psychological coercion as well as physical force. Forced sexual intercourse means penetration by the offender(s). Includes attempted rapes, male as well as female victims, and both heterosexual and same sex rape. Attempted rape includes verbal threats of rape.” Sexual assault is: “A wide range of victimizations, separate from rape or attempted rape. These crimes include attacks or attempted attacks generally involving unwanted sexual contact between victim and offender. Sexual assaults may or may not involve force and include such things as grabbing or fondling. It also includes verbal threats.”
In California, the minimum sentence for assault with intent to rape is two years. It’s less for the other two felonies. Upon his release today, he will have served three months. According to basic math, that’s only 1/8 of the minimum sentence.
Enraged, I googled the average time served for assault with intent to rape.
As much as I wanted to be angry about Brock Turner and the giant middle finger he waved to the judicial system and his victim, I couldn’t be. Do you know why?
This is normal.
I’ll let that sink in for a minute.
I was as shocked as you are to read that the average rapist only serves a few months in jail, rarely prison.
Let’s look at some more numbers on this so you can get as boiling mad as I am.
I got on RAINN.org and read these alarming statistics:
- Every 109 seconds, someone is a victim of sexual assault. That’s less time than the recommended time to brush your teeth.
- 90% of victims (in reported cases) are female, but get this, only 3% of sexual assaults are even reported. 97%of sexual assaults do not get reported to police. 97% of victims do not report the crime.
- One out of every six American women will be a victim of sexual assault (attempted and completed.)
- Only 1% of perpetrators spend any time in jail. 99% go free. 99% of these guys/gals are still walking around like nothing ever happened. Wonder what’s going on with his/her victim? Pretty sure life isn’t business as usual for the victim. Ever. For the rest of the victim’s life, nothing will ever be business as usual.
Numbers don’t lie.
Rape is a problem, and cases like Brock Turner’s can only shed light on this epidemic that so many people are afraid to discuss.
But I’m not.
There are a lot reasons why little privileged boys get away with rape, but one is that victims do not speak up. Why?
- She was asking for it. Because girls who get raped often shout out to potential rapists, “Hey, please rape me and ruin my life.”
- She shouldn’t have gotten so drunk. That’s right, rapists. As long as she’s drunk, it’s basically an invitation for you to enter her vagina because she drank too much. Bad girl.
- She shouldn’t have worn that. I never realized mini-skirts were welcome mats for unwanted penises, but girls, remember, your skirt should touch your knees unless you want to be held down and assaulted.
- She’s the kind of girl who puts out that vibe. I’ve met a lot of women. I’ve talked to women of different walks of life. Strangely, I never caught the vibe that any of them wanted to be sexually assaulted, but maybe I’m dense.
When my friend Darla wrote about rape on her blog, this happened to her:
And we wonder why sexual assaults go unreported. How many victims blame themselves? And if they don’t, there are plenty of people out there ready to point the fingers at the wrong person.
There is only ever one person who is at fault in any sexual assault. The rapist.
We must stand up for ourselves. We must report these crimes. We must demand longer sentences, and we must break the chain in rape culture, shattering the ridiculous notion that the blame is ever on the victim.
P.S. Nobody deserves to be raped. Ever.