The Victims of a Rape Culture
By Manuela Domingos
A former Stanford University student has made headlines for raping an intoxicated, unconscious woman behind a dumpster on the university campus. Turner, who received a sentence of 6 months in prison by Judge Aaron Persky, gave a statement in court in which he blamed his actions as a product of a “party culture” and “sexual promiscuity.” In an open letter to the judge, Turner’s father pleads to go easy on his son, calling the brutal assault simply “twenty minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.” In the letter, Dan Turner also outlines his son’s changed deposition, bringing up the fact that his son can “no longer enjoy steak” which is one of Turner’s longtime favorite meals, and eats “solely to exist.”
Since then, the victim’s open letter has also gone viral. In it she recounts the moment she woke up to police and the consecutive events thereafter, like discovering the details of her assault through news outlets and facing her family with the devastation of an unfortunate reality.
An online petition has also started, calling to remove Judge Aaron Persky for his “lenient” sentencing.
My heart goes out to the victim and the brutal events that occurred during the night of the party. What makes the situation even more vile, is the reality that the victim was unconscious, her body taken advantage of, with no chance to defend herself.
We cannot blame the victim for being intoxicated during the time of the rape and use Turner’s intoxication as an excuse for his actions. Rather, we must see this as a horrendous reality of a rape culture that is consistently on the rise and we must acknowledge the victims it affects. This is a perfect example of a dark story that occurs way too often, at times masked by privilege, which is the case with Brock Turner.
According to RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization: “every 2 minutes an American is sexually assaulted, 90% of adult rape victims are female, and 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or complete rape.”
The victim has chosen to remain anonymous due to security reasons, but also to make a statement: she is fighting for those that have endured, or continue to endure the pain of their predators.
Regardless of age, sex, or race, the victim’s open letter speaks volumes to those who have fallen under the brutal realities of a rape culture. Her fight is not fought alone; there are people who continue to thrive under the wounds of brutality, and that strength can be regained through hope and time.
If you or anyone else has been a victim of a rape crime, call 800.656.HOPE or visit RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) at online.rain.org.