Rape and Math – Numbers Don’t Lie

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.

rape numbers

 

 

 

Are You Smarter Than a First Grader?

First grade math…piece of cake…I got this.  Oh wait.

Please excuse me for a minute while I rant about first grade math.

As a mom/parent, my number one goal is for my kid to be better than everyone else’s.  Don’t even lie and say you don’t agree.  We aren’t allowed to say it out loud, but we want our kids to win first place.  Nobody wants to bring home the green ribbon.  What’s the green ribbon?  Exactly.

Well, as it turns out, my son hasn’t quite achieved gold medal status in math.  Not even close, and of course, being the competitive loving mother that I am, I want to help him get there.  So every day for 30 minutes after he gets home from school, we do this dance around the kitchen table called math.  And I can’t even begin to describe the amount of frustration that takes place during this dance.

Kid:  “I hate school.”

Me:  “No you don’t.  School is awesome. You love school.”

Kid: “No, I hate school.  I only like lunch and recess.”

Me:  “Don’t say ‘hate’.”

Kid:  “I really dislike school.”

And thus we dance around the table for another 20 minutes about how much he does/doesn’t hate/dislike school.  Geez!  And we still have yet to look at an actual number.

Once we finally sit down, he pretends to listen to me explain the directions.  Then I make him read the directions.  Then we look at each other like “huh?”

First grade math is not what it used to be, friends.  It’s complicated.  It involves things like ten frames, part part whole mats, number lines, number charts, etc, and all of these things are basically Greek math to me because I’ve never learned how to use any of them, and I have to sit here and try to teach my kid to learn how to use them, and it makes me want to poke my eye out with his Angry Birds pencil.  ARGH!!!

Here’s the problem.  Math has changed.  A LOT!  I learned math a completely different way than my son is learning math.  I was good at math.   It came very naturally to me.  It clicked.  I often see things in terms of numbers, and when someone needs to know what 24% of something is, I can blurt it out with limited effort.  But my son can’t, and it doesn’t click for him, and he gets really frustrated, and truthfully, I don’t really care if he is the best in math.  I just don’t want him to struggle…for anything…in anything…and all I want to do is help him.

So I went to Google.  I googled “part part whole mat” because what the eff is that?  Well, as it turns out, it’s pretty simple, and after watching 3 YouTube videos, I kind of sort of understand it.  In college, I took 12 hours of Statistics, 3 hours of Calculus, 3 hours of Trig…all upper level math classes, and I made A’s.  But I had to go to YouTube to figure out how to help my son with his first grade math. 

We worked on the whole part part mat, and I taught him how to use his number line to help him with his addition and subtraction, and when he left the table, he was smiling…a big partly toothless grin, and I felt triumphant.  I ran into my husband’s office.  We high fived.  I danced a little jig around his desk, and we all celebrated because I saw that look on my son’s face.  That “ah ha” moment.  The light bulb illuminated.

Today when he came home from school, I couldn’t wait to ask him about math and how it went, but I waited until we made it home so that my husband and I could both bask in the joy of my son’s excitement. “Hey, how was math today?”

He looked down.  No partially toothless grin like I expected.  And then he said, “My number line at school only goes to 20.”  Our number line at home goes to 30.  (the number line his teacher gave me to help him understand math). The thing that gave him the light bulb. What the @#$%^$#@!! 

 

I immediately sent my son upstairs and then began a complete temper tantrum where I used a lot of grown up language but still stomped my feet and folded my arms and said things like, “He needs a new teacher. She’s clearly trying to sabotage him.” And my husband said, “Dude,” (yes, he calls me “dude”) “you need to take it easy.” Which prompted me to storm out of his office, go to my closet, and call my best friend who is an elementary school principal and sort of my hero.

I told her the situation, adding some colorful insights/language, and she listened for a really long time, and then she said, “Are you done being an asshole for a minute?” And I said, “Yes.” And she talked me off the ledge. She told me that my son’s teacher is not a terrible teacher and that she’s only using the tools that she’s given. She then went into a 20 minute long lesson on math and the way kids learn, etc., and I listened to every word. (She reads this, so I have to say that.)

What I took away from her lesson is this: I don’t understand the way my son’s teacher teaches him, and because it’s different than the way I learned it, I’m terrified to teach him “my way”. And I don’t think I’m alone.

We don’t get text books anymore like our parents did. When I had homework that my parents didn’t understand (and they had their moments of confusion, too), my dad would take my text book into the other room for thirty minutes and then come back in completely able to help me. We are lucky in so many ways with technology, but sometimes, I don’t want to have to Google or YouTube. Because even with that, it may be wrong. I need to know how to use the tools that he is given, and I don’t think our teachers understand that we don’t know these things. I want a lesson. I want my teacher to teach me to teach my kid. We aren’t given any sort of “how to’s”, and then we send our kids to school wondering if they’re supposed to follow their teacher’s rules or ours, and we wonder why they can’t get it. I think I could benefit from a lesson in first grade math, a serious, sit down at the tiny desk with my No. 2 pencil and learn the way my kid is being taught. Because at the end of the day, the answer is, “no.” I am not smarter than a first grader. And that’s ok.

I have a conference in 30 minutes where I’m going to figure this all out. I’ll post a video on YouTube for the rest of you. Also, I’m going to get to the bottom of the discrepancy in number lines because that’s just bullsh*t.