Monthly Archives: June 2016

Brock Turner, Explained

Brock Turner is a rapist.

Brock Turner is a lot of other things, as well, but that is now the term that defines him, the most important and relevant descriptor to use when referring to him. He is a not a swimmer, though he knows how to swim fast. He is not a former Olympic hopeful, though he once carried that dream. He is not a Stanford student, a “baby-faced … freshman”, or a “record-setting … prodigy”, no matter what The Washington Post’s glowing fluff piece might have you believe. Brock Turner is a rapist.

You’ll notice that I am using his full name throughout this piece. That’s because I never want to forget his name, and I never want you to forget it, either. In America, we sometimes have had issues with the glorification of criminals, as we give neat nicknames and write books and make movies about famous serial killers and bank robbers and their ilk. That’s not what I’m intending. I want you to remember him because that’s the only punishment we have left now that the judge in this case has done little more than deprive Brock Turner of his summer vacation.  He should be remembered, feared, reviled and alienated. He should be made to feel alone, unsafe and insecure for the rest of his life. He should be made to feel the way he made his victim felt.

There is no apology one can offer that can atone for what Brock Turner has done, but one should still be offered, freely and sincerely, nevertheless. Instead, Brock Turner has continuously and vehemently refused to accept responsibility for his actions. In his rambling, nonsensical statement to the court, he repeatedly apologized for drinking to excess, for failing to ask for the victim’s number and for bowing to peer pressure: for all the things he did not need to apologize for. He has been enabled in his quest to absolve himself from all responsibility for the horrible violence he committed by absolutely everyone around him.

Brock Turner’s father Dan, in a disgusting, tone-deaf letter unfit to be printed on the toilet paper I use to wipe my ass, decried even the trifling sentence his son did receive as “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action.” Apparently Dan Turner doesn’t believe anyone can truly do irreparable harm to another human being in a mere 20 minutes; that such a small amount of time isn’t enough to earn someone a trip to the state prison. One imagines that he might feel differently if someone spent 20 minutes hacking his identity to empty his bank accounts, robbing him at gunpoint or doing the exact same thing his son did to him or to a member of his own family. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered 13 students and injured 24 others in 17 minutes at Columbine High School. It took Adam Lanza 10 minutes to murder his mother at home, drive to Sandy Hook Elementary, and take the lives of 26 additional people, including 20 elementary school children. A lot can happen in 20 minutes.

Then there is childhood friend Leslie Rasmussen, who shifted 50% of the blame for this rape upon Brock Turner’s victim, and the other 50% on our country’s mad descent into political correctness or, as normal people call it, treating other people with basic human decency. She actually said that “rape on campuses isn’t always because people are rapists,” which I totally get. While rapists are certainly a problem, it’s all these rapes that are being committed by non-rapists that are the real critical issue here. Are there real rapists out there? Sure. But rapes committed by people like Brock Turner aren’t the same as rapes committed by real rapists.

Finally we have judge Aaron Persky, who had the ability to put Brock Turner away for up to 14 years in state prison, but instead sentenced him to just six months in county jail. He said that he did so because “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him.” That’s a wonderful thing, in general, for a human being to anticipate the effects that their actions might have on someone else before going ahead and doing whatever the entire shit they want to. Perhaps if Brock Turner had experienced that phenomenon for half a millisecond on the night he battered and raped an unconscious girl in an alley behind a dumpster, none of us would be here.

If you have not read the victim’s powerful letter that was read in court at his sentencing hearing, you need to do so, and you need to finish it, even when it makes you uncomfortable and is hard to get through. You need to read about her hurt, from that night and from every night since. You need to hear about her horrific experience at the hospital, being poked, prodded and photographed as nurses picked dirt and pine needles out of her hair and her genitals. You need to and so does everyone else, so that maybe next time we’ll have a judge who will enforce what begins to resemble a proper sentence, a father who is disgusted with the abhorrent acts of his son, and a friend who won’t come to the defense of a convicted rapist.

There is exactly one reason this rape happened. It wasn’t because the victim had too much to drink, and it wasn’t because Brock Turner had too much to drink. It wasn’t because of what she was wearing, how she was acting, who she was with, where she was, what she said or what she did. She was intoxicated, unconscious, and helpless, and Brock Turner forced himself inside her without her knowledge or her consent because he is a vile rapist who has been brought up in a culture that teaches people that it is a woman’s responsibility to prevent herself from being violated, and not a man’s responsibility to refrain from violating her.

Look at that photo. That is how you should remember Brock Turner. Not as a swimmer, or a student, but as a criminal, with news cameras in his face. Brock Turner is a rapist, no matter what he, his father, his friends, or Judge Persky has to say. He does not need to accept responsibility or admit guilt for that to be the case. In his statement he spoke of how one night of drinking has the capacity to ruin a life, somehow referring only to his own with a straight face as the woman he destroyed listened in stunned silence. Brock’s father Dan said that his son’s life “has been deeply altered forever” and that he’ll “never be his happy go lucky self” again. Neither will his victim, you god damned lunatic. His friend Leslie said, “He’s not a monster.” Yes, he sure as hell is. Brock Turner is a rapist. Remember and beware.