Let’s talk about sexual assault, and let’s talk about rape culture.
Rape culture is the term coined by feminists to describe the ways in which our society blames victims of sexual assault and normalizes sexual violence towards women.
According to d.umn.edu, one out of every eight adult women has been sexually assaulted. What’s worse, one in five college age women (18-24) are assaulted. So these are masked men in alleys, right?
They absolutely are not. Most people are assaulted by people they know. Rape culture has a new face in the mainstream, and it has blonde hair and blue eyes.
Brock Turner gained national intention for his six-month sentence (and release after three months) after he was found guilty of three felony counts of assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated or unconscious person, penetration of an intoxicated person and penetration of an unconscious person.
In short, Turner was found guilty of assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. The six-month sentence has received scrutiny as being too lenient. The judge who sentenced Turner, Aaron Persky, is quoted as saying, “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him. I think he will not be a danger to others,” according to Cnn.com.
The thing about this case that I struggle with the most is that no one is saying Turner didn’t commit this terrible crime. Turner was charged with three counts of felony sexual assault. And he still received the sympathy that is given to those believed to be falsely accused.
For me, it isn’t necessarily about his lenient sentence, it’s about the reason behind it. It’s about the sympathy Turner and his parents received after his father read aloud a letter he wrote to the judge, which talked about his talent and his dreams.
Do you know what has a severe impact on people? Their dreams? Rape.
I struggle with writing this because it feels like everyone has been screaming what I want to say for years, but it is evident that it has largely fallen on deaf ears. I am so tired of telling people what rape culture is. I am so tired of defending its existence to those who actively perpetuate it.
Above all, I am tired of seeing rapists go free, in the news and in my life.