On Friday, American rapist Brock Turner will be released from prison after serving 3 months of his 6-month (piss poor) sentence for raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster back in January of 2014. You can read more about it, if you’ve been living under a rock, here. Turner was caught red-handed, mid-thrust, by two passersby who chased him down when he tried to run away. One of them was so distraught by what he saw that he had trouble giving his statement to police.
Turner was charged with five felony counts, including rape of an intoxicated person, rape of an unconscious person, sexual penetration by a foreign object of an intoxicated woman, sexual penetration by a foreign object of an unconscious woman, and assault with intent to commit rape. Notice that absolutely none of those charges ever just calls what he did what it is: rape. Just. Effing. Rape.
But we live in a country that doesn’t like to call rape what it is. And in fact, Turner was found guilty of only three counts: assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated/unconscious person, penetration of an intoxicated person, and penetration of an unconscious person. Because somehow, penetration sounds like an accident, and “intent to commit rape” sounds like “Oh, but he only partially meant to do it.”
I shared this earlier with a very angry post (spoiler: I’m still angry), and decided within minutes to delete it and retype something when I a) wasn’t at Walmart with no make-up on at 8:30 am, and b) had a moment to collect my thoughts.
I KNOW that a lot of you will read this and, though you will find it unfortunate, you won’t experience seething, deep-seated rage. You’ll shake your head, and you’ll go back to your normal life.
Let me explain something. I live every day believing that there is a reckoning coming for women in this country. That it HAS to be near. That there HAS to be a point where it gets better. Because the idea of “empowerment” that we’ve been fed is a complete lie, and is designed for the convenience of the oppressors, NOT for the empowerment of girls and women. This is the same lie that tells women “You can and SHOULD have it all – looks, money, career, family, time for yourself,” – as if any of us have the ability to really have it all. As if there’s something wrong when we don’t have it all. The truth: something you are juggling will always fall. Having it ALL is not empowerment, and neither are so many things women today are told to seek out.
Empowerment is NOT posting nude selfies. It is NOT throwing yourself into the machine of American Consumption so that you can become one more pretty cog amongst the many. We are not chess pieces. American society and politics do not have the right to move ME around in order to fit some agenda, whether that agenda is abortion, healthcare, freedom of speech, whatever. And I’m tired of women settling for this message – that if the media or our friends tell us “how empowering,” we are somehow inherently better off. No. That’s BS. That’s feminism gone wrong. That’s a lie. It’s a DAMN lie.
I have to demand more, and yes, I guess that’s me being “a difficult woman.” But the reality is, America does not value women – and this here? Brock Turner, in all his violating, putrid, unapologetic, sociopathic glory – this is proof. Proof positive. I want to state that again, just in case you think I misphrased it: AMERICA DOES NOT VALUE WOMEN. I don’t care if you put a (criminal) woman in the White House. I don’t care if you tell Kim Kardashian that constantly posing naked is supposed to make me feel more free. Because sure, I could be President or I could post naked selfies all day…but a man could rape me and never serve more than a few weeks of prison time, if any time at all. And during such a hypothetical trial, I would undoubtedly be dressed down by attorneys and blamed for my own assault. This is a fact, one which crosses party lines and points to the decay of American identity and furthermore, American dignity.
I cannot change this. And as amusing as it sounds when I find myself deeply angered and hurt by this kind of thing, I don’t think women should have to resort to shooting their abusers/assaulters in the face in self-defense. It wouldn’t bother me, and it’d be interesting to see what would happen if that became common place, sure, but I don’t want women to have to resort to that. I just think our world is messed up. I don’t see why it’s asking so much for America to insist on something better for women who are victimized in this way. I don’t see why it’s asking so much that a man’s life be ruined the same way his victim’s life is ruined – that is, unless his life somehow has more value in this country.
That’s the problem. And that’s the message. That’s the message I’ve been hearing for 32 years. Thank God I know different, and have the opportunity to raise my boys differently. But I cannot sit here and tell you that it softens the blow, to watch this man walk free.