Brock Turner Case: Our Hatred of Rape Should Not Make Us Into Proponents of Prison

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Jun 06 2016

Brock Turner Case: Our Hatred of Rape Should Not Make Us Into Proponents of Prison

June 6th, 2016

In March, a California jury found 20-year-old Stanford student Brock Turner guilty of three counts of sexual assault. He faced a maximum of 14 years in state prison, but was sentenced this past Thursday to six months in county jail and probation. The judge said he feared a longer sentence would have a “severe impact” on Turner, a “star swimmer” (a fact which was brought up repeatedly by the defense). On Thursday, the woman whom Turner raped addressed him directly in a statement, which was subsequently published on Buzzfeed, along with her comment that she was “disappointed with the ‘gentle’ sentence and angry that Turner still denied sexually assaulting her.”

Her statement, which describes her experience from the night she was assaulted through the double victimization she went through during the trial, went viral. It’s full of sickening, enraging details.

For example, she found out what had happened to her by reading a newspaper article, at the bottom of which, following “the graphic details” of her own sexual assault, the author “listed [Turner’s] swimming times”; that even though there were eye-witnesses, and clear physical evidence, Turner “hired a powerful attorney, expert witnesses, private investigators who were going to try and find details” about her personal life to use against her; that she was told that “because I couldn’t remember, I technically could not prove it was unwanted.”

At the trial, she was forced to answer questions like:

“When did you drink? How much did you drink? What container did you drink out of? Who gave you the drink? How much do you usually drink?[…]Do you remember silencing [your phone]? Really, because on page 53 I’d like to point out that you said it was set to ring[…]Did you drink in college? You said you were a party animal? How many times did you black out? Did you party at frats? Are you serious with your boyfriend? Are you sexually active with him? When did you start dating? Would you ever cheat? Do you have a history of cheating?[…]Do you remember any more from that night? No? Okay, well, we’ll let Brock fill it in.”

The defense tried to paint her, as she put it, as “the face of girls gone wild, as if somehow that would make it so that I had this coming for me.” But, as she said in her message to her attacker:

“alcohol was not the one who stripped me, fingered me, had my head dragging against the ground, with me almost fully naked…We were both drunk, the difference is I did not take off your pants and underwear, touch you inappropriately, and run away.”

One of the most infuriating parts of this whole case is that, in a letter to the judge, Turner’s father claimed that Turner should not be sent to jail because he could contribute more to society if he was free, specifically by educating college students about “the college campus drinking culture and the sexual promiscuity that goes along with that.”

In her statement, the woman addressed that point directly:

“If you want talk to people about drinking go to an AA meeting. You realize, having a drinking problem is different than drinking and then forcefully trying to have sex with someone? Show men how to respect women, not how to drink less.”

She said that she did “not want Brock to rot away in prison” but that:

“the probation officer’s recommendation of a year or less in county jail is a soft time­out, a mockery of the seriousness of his assaults, an insult to me and all women. It gives the message that a stranger can be inside you without proper consent and he will receive less than what has been defined as the minimum sentence. Probation should be denied. I also told the probation officer that what I truly wanted was for Brock to get it, to understand and admit to his wrongdoing.”

Everything about the case is horrific. And everything about Turner makes him an easily hate-able villain; his creepy smile in the yearbook photo (above) that the media has been circulating of him (rather than the typical mug-shot), the media and his defense’s emphasis on his swimming record; his race and class privilege (in a letter to the court, his dad stated how he won’t be able to make Turner his favorite “ribeye steak” if he goes to jail), his unwillingness to take responsibility for his actions, and his obnoxious and offensive displacement of blame onto his victim’s alcohol consumption and “sexual promiscuity.” His crime is disgusting.

And yet.

Reading the barrage of outrage pouring out of supposedly liberal individuals on social media and publications in response to the news of his sentencing—demanding a prison term of many years or decades—one couldn’t help but feel slightly queasy.

A Change.org petition, with tens of thousands of signatures, called for the judge in the case to be recalled from his judicial position “for the lenient sentence he allowed in the Brock Turner rape case. Judge Persky failed to see that the fact that Brock Turner is a white male star athlete at a prestigious university does not entitle him to leniency.”

New York Daily News writer Shaun King wrote a piece headlined “Rapist Brock Turner and Lenient Judge Embody the Worst of America’s Justice System.” He wrote:

“Turner should be in prison for the maximum possible time for such crimes—at least a decade —but a combination of wealth, position, and good old white-skin privilege basically got this man off of serving genuine hard time.”

This outrage is based on a clear, outrageous truth: If this young man were not a white college student with a privileged background, he would certainly have received a longer sentence. If he weren’t white, there’s no way the press would describe him as “baby-faced” and focus on what a great swimmer he was. His case highlights grotesque inequalities.

But the outrage is misguided—though understandable on a visceral, emotional level. Because giving Turner a harsher sentence wouldn’t reduce the sentences of the young men (and women) of color currently serving horrific sentences for minor crimes.

The true scandal isn’t Turner’s “lenient” sentence. It’s not even his father’s (tone-deaf, entitled) letter. The scandal is the fact that so many thousands of black parents (as well as less privileged white ones) are denied the same consideration for their child—that less privileged young men (or women) convicted of crimes don’t get a “second chance,” don’t get their humanity and potential taken into consideration.

Our outrage should be directed at the lack of humanity in the sentencing of these hundreds of thousands of people—and at the misogyny that fosters sex crimes—but not at the sentencing of one young man who committed an awful crime but was fortunate enough to be shown some mercy.

It’s not going to help any of the black men, who, in the federal system, are given sentences that are nearly 20 percent longer than those imposed on white males for the same crimes, for Turner to get a harsher sentence.

“A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him,” said the judge, in explaining his decision. While it’s easy to mock that statement, since such courtesy would never be extended to a less privileged, non-white defendant, it doesn’t mean it’s not true. A prison sentence has a severe impact on anyone who gets one—and that should always be taken strongly into consideration.

As Shaun King wrote:

“Do you know how many young black boys and girls, sometimes as young as 13 and 14 years old, are tried as adults in court rooms all across America and given mandatory minimums of 10 years and 20 years and even life in prison? Thousands. Tens of thousands.”

He writes that his “good friend Brandon Garner was given 10 years in prison for selling marijuana. Ten years. He’s not scheduled to be released until 2023.”

That’s absolutely appalling. We should do all we can to fight against such human rights violations. But again, giving Turner a longer sentence would do nothing to help Brandon Garner.

If we progressives truly believe in an end to mass incarceration, in an end to inhumane sentencing, and even in prison abolition, we need to extend these principles even to people who commit horrifying, disgusting, violent crimes.

Angela Davis writes in Are Prisons Obsolete: “The prison is considered so ‘natural’ that it is extremely hard to imagine life without it.” When we hear about a crime like Turner’s, our natural instinct it to reach for the punishment that we’re used to.

No just world would deny the victim in this case the opportunity to get what she says she wants: “for Brock to get it, to understand and admit to his wrongdoing.” But a harsher prison sentence would in no way guarantee this outcome. That’s why many on the Left have looked toward alternative responses to crime, like what is referred to as “Transformative Justice.”

Transformative Justice has no one definition. It is “a way of practicing alternative justice which acknowledges individual experiences and identities and works to actively resist the state’s criminal injustice system.” According to Generation Five, a national anti-violence organization, Transformative Justice “seeks to provide people who experience violence with immediate safety and long-term healing and reparations while holding people who commit violence accountable within and by their communities. This accountability includes stopping immediate abuse, making a commitment to not engage in future abuse, and offering reparations for past abuse.”

Transformative justice also has a systemic focus: “Transformative Justice also seeks to transform inequity and power abuses within communities. Through building the capacity of communities to increase justice internally, Transformative Justice seeks to support collective action toward addressing larger issues of injustice and oppression.”

Transformative Justice recognizes that increased policing, prosecution and imprisonment, especially long-term imprisonment, cannot be our primary solution to violence against women, or any other crime.

There is something to be said for the idea that, perhaps if people like Turner were given harsher sentences, then people in power would wake up to the atrocities of our prison system. But don’t we want sentences to be universally lowered rather than universally raised? Don’t we want (at the very least) the incarceration rates of people of color to be lowered to meet those of whites, not vice versa?

If we have these principles, we need to stand by them when it doesn’t feel good, as well as when it does.


 

Read more from The Influence:

Why Are Heroin, Cocaine and Other Drugs Really Illegal? We Should Never Forget the Answers

“Junkie Whore”—What Life Is Really Like for Sex Workers on Heroin

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  • grayforester

    No, I want this guy to get the same punishment a poor man his age would get.

  • grayforester

    No, I want this guy to get the same punishment a poor man his age would get for rape.

    • Law ‘n order

      No, I want a poor man to get the same punishment this guy did.

      • Wilby Stoned

        That wouldn’t serve justice at all.

        • Law ‘n order

          I don’t agree. There is more to justice than retribution.

          • painkills2

            Tell that to every country we’ve bombed. Every economy we’ve destroyed. If it’s okay for the government, why isn’t it okay for the people?

            I’m not advocating for retribution, just pointing out hypocrisy. And that everyone has a different opinion about what constitutes justice. After all, you don’t expect the American people to know anything about justice, do you? It’s not like they’ve ever seen it in their own lives.

          • Law ‘n order

            It’s not OK for the government either. What led you to believe that I support militarism?

          • painkills2

            What if the victim had been a man, the criminal a woman? If a drunk woman had come across an unconscious man, let’s say it’s Brock, and used the end of her umbrella to sexually assault him. I have a feeling Brock’s crowd would think that was worse than the crimes he’s been convicted of. They would’ve called him gay as a slur, if the other jocks don’t already do that to swimmers. Brock just might have been ostracized more if he had been the victim rather than the criminal.

            How hard would you be advocating against retribution if Brock had been the victim? Something to think about.

          • Law ‘n order

            Something to think about for at least half a second. Retribution is not justice, under any circumstances.

          • Mjal

            Unless such a theory supports your normative values.

          • Mjal

            ??? But whatever that is it wouldn’t be justice.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      That would make little sense, since the charge of rape against Brock Turner got dropped by the prosecution.

      • Mjal

        Why was it dropped by the prosecution? THINK!

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      That would make little sense, since the charge of rape against Brock Turner got dropped by the prosecution.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      That would make little sense, since the charge of rape against Brock Turner got dropped by the prosecution.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      That would make little sense, since the charge of rape against Brock Turner got dropped by the prosecution.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      That would make little sense, since the charge of rape against Brock Turner got dropped by the prosecution.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      That would make little sense, since the charge of rape against Brock Turner got dropped by the prosecution.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      That would make little sense, since the charge of rape against Brock Turner got dropped by the prosecution.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      That would make little sense, since the charge of rape against Brock Turner got dropped by the prosecution.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      That would make little sense, since the charge of rape against Brock Turner got dropped by the prosecution.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      That would make little sense, since the charge of rape against Brock Turner got dropped by the prosecution.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      That would make little sense, since the charge of rape against Brock Turner got dropped by the prosecution.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      That would make little sense, since the charge of rape against Brock Turner got dropped by the prosecution.

  • Thanks, it’s hard to find many articles that are rational amongst all the pitchforks.

    • consider

      Seeing imgur just about explode with this shit, my reaction started out as, “What happened?” and then became, “No, really. What actually happened though?” and now it’s progressed to, “Do you fucking idiots not remember that the mass media ALWAYS lies? What the hell actually happened, and why does nobody care to find out?”

  • The problem is the campus rape crisis propaganda that teaches kids to act this way if they want to get laid. As in it literally models this type of behavior, teaching that it happens all the time and if you are drunk you can’t consent. Expect to see more of this nonsense as kids act out the scenes from the videos they were required to watch as incoming students – a very impressionable stage of development.

  • painkills2

    I would guess that it’s hard to rehabilitate someone who doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong. What I see is a privileged young man, thinking he has a right to take whatever he wants, partially because he’s an athlete. If a swimmer has this kind of attitude, just imagine how favored football players must think.

    It’s no wonder there’s such an epidemic of rape in colleges and the military, mostly due to those in power (like this judge) who basically look the other way when a crime is committed. “That’s all right, son, we’ve all been drunk and out of control.” Funny, there are millions and millions of men who drink and don’t go around raping others.

    The victim will probably suffer from this experience for the rest of her life. And Brock? Even with rehabilitation, in the future, I see him continuing to take whatever he wants, from whomever he wants. I see a young man who will eventually marry and probably beat his wife. Will a longer prison sentence change that? Probably not. Seems like his path has already been set by his own father.

    How long do you think Johnny Depp has been abusing his partners?

    • DeVries

      Its sad because the only argument he has for the miscarriage of justice argument is that he can no longer do what ever he wants. He can no longer attend the school he wanted, although he can most likely still find a state school to accept him, he can no longer live within a certain distance from womens shelters, even though he has been proven a threat against women, he will most likely no longer be able to compete in the olympics as he wanted, although he can still competitively swim, even though he has proven himself unfavorable to represent the population of this country. Boo hoo, I feel so sorry for him.

    • Law ‘n order

      It is not, in my view, reasonable to expect a person to admit to committing a crime he cannot remember.

      • Wilby Stoned

        So, if a drunk driver kills someone and doesn’t remember it, do we pat him on the back and send him home? Who cares if he admits it or remembers it?
        When you drink, you take responsibility for the results of that drinking, don’t you?

        • Law ‘n order

          Go back and read CAREFULLY. I said it’s not reasonable to expect him to admit guilt for a crime he doesn’t remember; I didn’t say it’s not reasonable to convict and punish him.

      • painkills2

        It sounds like you’re saying that rehabilitation isn’t possible for Brock Turner. But just because he says he can’t remember the crime doesn’t mean he can’t be remorseful or apologetic. I wonder if he suddenly regained his memory immediately after the crime, when he was trying to run away but was caught?

        • Law ‘n order

          There are some people who tend to engage in anti-social acts when drunk; in common parlance, they can’t handle their liquor. The only “rehabilitation” available for such people is that they must refrain from getting drunk; ideally,they should entirely quit drinking.

          • painkills2

            I guess it’s easy to blame the liquor, just like drugs are blamed for addiction and used as a scapegoat for the failed drug war. And I guess there are still people who believe that abstinence is the only way to go.

            Read the latest on this young man’s history with other drugs besides alcohol? I’ve been a chronic pain patient for 30 years and I’ve taken a lot of drugs. But I’ve never taken the kinds of drugs that he indulged in. Sounds like he’s come close to frying his brain with the strengths and mixtures of all these different (mostly illegal) drugs. And I’m supposed to believe that alcohol did him in? Please.

            I’m not judging this man for his drug use, but I do hold him accountable for his crimes. Mostly because I know about the suffering the survivor will experience for the rest of her life.

    • Wilby Stoned

      According to more than a few sources, Amber Heard beats her partners too. SHE was arrested for domestic violence in 2009.
      It’s actually a match made in heaven.

      • painkills2

        And according to her ex-girlfriend, Ms. Heard didn’t commit domestic violence. But even if she did, I haven’t read anything that says Ms. Heard was violent toward Mr. Depp. But I think you’re saying that because of that one incident in Ms. Heard’s past, it’s fine if Mr. Depp beats her up. Why don’t you ask your wife, daughter, aunt, niece, or grandmother how they feel about it?

  • David

    I see “I blacked out and can’t remember cheating on my boyfriend” is another excuse landing people in jail.

    • Meredith

      This dude dragged her behind a dumpster and raped her with a foreign object, running away when he was confronted by a third party. Sound like she was into it to you?

      • David

        CCTV footage?
        Witness statements cannot be relied upon.

        • msdamgoode

          He was caught, literally with his pants down, by two people that happened upon the scene. And then he was convicted of three separate felonious crimes against her person, by a jury that deliberated after hearing all sides. She was unconscious and therefore unable in any way to consent. You can try to spin it anyway you wish, but you’re part of the problem in doing so.

          • painkills2

            It’s just a waste of time to argue with someone who believes this:

            David A_SBR a month ago

            Funny how both white people and east Asian people score higher on IQ tests isn’t it?

            ‘B-B-but thas racis!’

            It’s also strange that you cannot be racist to white people.

          • David

            She made herself unconscious by drinking too much, it’s not like she was knocked out then raped, she drank too much and passed out in public, then something bad happened. Not really a big surprise and what happened to her makes her damn lucky when she could have been shoved into the back of a van, raped for days then murdered.

            If a man passes out in public and gets robbed nobody feels sorry for them, they tell them not to pass out in public and to drink responsibly.

    • Destiny

      http://bzfd.it/1ZuXQpi

      David you disgust me….why don’t you go read this girls letter, then come back to us and tell us what you think about her & how you would feel if this happened to your daughter or mother or Sisster…

      • David

        Sorry but I don’t buy it. “I regretted it so I’ll cry rape” is all too popular these days.
        Would you walk into a bad neighbourhood carrying a box of rolexes and having moneyclips hanging out of your pocket and then, when robbed complain that they should teach people not to steal.

        If she _was_ raped she was lucky, she should know better than to get drunk and pass out.

        • ♧BobbiEllen♧

          Fuck off

          • David

            No U

          • SUP

            raping someone and stealing arent the same things. rape is more potentially traumatizing. also, what if the person whos stuff was stolen needed that experience to learn to take responsibilty for reckless behavior so they can make better decisions. stealling isnt potentially as bad as rape

  • msdamgoode

    I don’t think that we want sentences to be universally lowered. I think that we should expect them to fit the crime. This doesn’t. 3 months in county isn’t justice served, it isn’t rehabilitation, and it does nothing to protect others from him. I’m all for changing mandatory sentences on non-violent offenses, but this was a miscarriage. And it makes it that much harder for other victims (male and female) to report, and even fewer of the ones that report will carry on with prosecution. It’s wrong on many levels, and absolutely speaks to the denial of rape culture.

    • Sadie Holly

      it is also about penalties being even despite family money and race – and that is not true here either. Some guys are severely penalized for statutory rape when the two people are less than a year apart in age and it is as consensual as it can get while not being legal and they can get severely years in jail. There seems to be a lack of perspective and a triumph on money in these cases.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Rape culture has to normalize, tolerate, except, or excuse an action of sexual violence or rape.

      Brock Turner did not get convicted of rape. That charge got dropped by the prosecution.

      Brock Turner’s behavior did not get normalized by the judge. It got condemned. Turner is going to prison. Turner’s behavior did not get tolerated either. Nor has it gotten excepted or excused or tolerated. His behavior got condemned. Brock Turner is going to prison.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Rape culture has to normalize, tolerate, except, or excuse an action of sexual violence or rape.

      Brock Turner did not get convicted of rape. That charge got dropped by the prosecution.

      Brock Turner’s behavior did not get normalized by the judge. It got condemned. Turner is going to prison. Turner’s behavior did not get tolerated either. Nor has it gotten excepted or excused or tolerated. His behavior got condemned. Brock Turner is going to prison.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Rape culture has to normalize, tolerate, except, or excuse an action of sexual violence or rape.

      Brock Turner did not get convicted of rape. That charge got dropped by the prosecution.

      Brock Turner’s behavior did not get normalized by the judge. It got condemned. Turner is going to prison. Turner’s behavior did not get tolerated either. Nor has it gotten excepted or excused or tolerated. His behavior got condemned. Brock Turner is going to prison.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Rape culture has to normalize, tolerate, except, or excuse an action of sexual violence or rape.

      Brock Turner did not get convicted of rape. That charge got dropped by the prosecution.

      Brock Turner’s behavior did not get normalized by the judge. It got condemned. Turner is going to prison. Turner’s behavior did not get tolerated either. Nor has it gotten excepted or excused or tolerated. His behavior got condemned. Brock Turner is going to prison.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Rape culture has to normalize, tolerate, except, or excuse an action of sexual violence or rape.

      Brock Turner did not get convicted of rape. That charge got dropped by the prosecution.

      Brock Turner’s behavior did not get normalized by the judge. It got condemned. Turner is going to prison. Turner’s behavior did not get tolerated either. Nor has it gotten excepted or excused or tolerated. His behavior got condemned. Brock Turner is going to prison.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Rape culture has to normalize, tolerate, except, or excuse an action of sexual violence or rape.

      Brock Turner did not get convicted of rape. That charge got dropped by the prosecution.

      Brock Turner’s behavior did not get normalized by the judge. It got condemned. Turner is going to prison. Turner’s behavior did not get tolerated either. Nor has it gotten excepted or excused or tolerated. His behavior got condemned. Brock Turner is going to prison.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Rape culture has to normalize, tolerate, except, or excuse an action of sexual violence or rape.

      Brock Turner did not get convicted of rape. That charge got dropped by the prosecution.

      Brock Turner’s behavior did not get normalized by the judge. It got condemned. Turner is going to prison. Turner’s behavior did not get tolerated either. Nor has it gotten excepted or excused or tolerated. His behavior got condemned. Brock Turner is going to prison.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Rape culture has to normalize, tolerate, except, or excuse an action of sexual violence or rape.

      Brock Turner did not get convicted of rape. That charge got dropped by the prosecution.

      Brock Turner’s behavior did not get normalized by the judge. It got condemned. Turner is going to prison. Turner’s behavior did not get tolerated either. Nor has it gotten excepted or excused or tolerated. His behavior got condemned. Brock Turner is going to prison.

      • msdamgoode

        Except he ISN’T going to prison. He’s serving less than three months in his own cell with a TV in county. That’s NOT PRISION.
        This was absolutely sexual violence that was tolerated and excused. So many excuses for this guy.

        • Doug Lefelhocz

          Perhaps he’s going to jail instead of prison. Sure, there exists a difference between the two.

          However, according to the judgement of the court he got tried in, he still should get forcibly put into a place, not of his choosing, and have to register as a sex offender *for life*. That isn’t tolerating something. Something only gets tolerated when it does NOT get punished. Turner, according to the judgement of the court, should get punished. Excusing something also involves letting something go without punishment. The court where Turner got tried is NOT letting Turner go without punishment.

          So, no, there doesn’t exist so many excuses for Turner. There exist *no* relevant excuses for Turner by the court he got tried. According to that court, he is guilty of crimes, and deserving of serious punishment including months in a non-liberated state, and a lifelong punishment of having to register as a sex offender.

          • msdamgoode

            People are most certainly making excuses for him– Tons of excuses, and while he’s getting “punished”, his punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Unless you think spending his summer watching cable is punishment? Personally, I don’t.

            Both the excuses and the and the judge’s incredulously shortened sentence compared to what sentencing guidelines call for when someone commits this type of violation speak to the amount of social tolerance that exists for this kind of behavior, and the outrage is a direct result of that tolerance.

          • Doug Lefelhocz

            Punishing something indicates zero tolerance for that something.

          • Mjal

            Depends of the punishment compared to the crime.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Rape culture has to normalize, tolerate, except, or excuse an action of sexual violence or rape.

      Brock Turner did not get convicted of rape. That charge got dropped by the prosecution.

      Brock Turner’s behavior did not get normalized by the judge. It got condemned. Turner is going to prison. Turner’s behavior did not get tolerated either. Nor has it gotten excepted or excused or tolerated. His behavior got condemned. Brock Turner is going to prison.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Rape culture has to normalize, tolerate, except, or excuse an action of sexual violence or rape.

      Brock Turner did not get convicted of rape. That charge got dropped by the prosecution.

      Brock Turner’s behavior did not get normalized by the judge. It got condemned. Turner is going to prison. Turner’s behavior did not get tolerated either. Nor has it gotten excepted or excused or tolerated. His behavior got condemned. Brock Turner is going to prison.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Rape culture has to normalize, tolerate, except, or excuse an action of sexual violence or rape.

      Brock Turner did not get convicted of rape. That charge got dropped by the prosecution.

      Brock Turner’s behavior did not get normalized by the judge. It got condemned. Turner is going to prison. Turner’s behavior did not get tolerated either. Nor has it gotten excepted or excused or tolerated. His behavior got condemned. Brock Turner is going to prison.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Rape culture has to normalize, tolerate, except, or excuse an action of sexual violence or rape.

      Brock Turner did not get convicted of rape. That charge got dropped by the prosecution.

      Brock Turner’s behavior did not get normalized by the judge. It got condemned. Turner is going to prison. Turner’s behavior did not get tolerated either. Nor has it gotten excepted or excused or tolerated. His behavior got condemned. Brock Turner is going to prison.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Rape culture has to normalize, tolerate, except, or excuse an action of sexual violence or rape.

      Brock Turner did not get convicted of rape. That charge got dropped by the prosecution.

      Brock Turner’s behavior did not get normalized by the judge. It got condemned. Turner is going to prison. Turner’s behavior did not get tolerated either. Nor has it gotten excepted or excused or tolerated. His behavior got condemned. Brock Turner is going to prison.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Rape culture has to normalize, tolerate, except, or excuse an action of sexual violence or rape.

      Brock Turner did not get convicted of rape. That charge got dropped by the prosecution.

      Brock Turner’s behavior did not get normalized by the judge. It got condemned. Turner is going to prison. Turner’s behavior did not get tolerated either. Nor has it gotten excepted or excused or tolerated. His behavior got condemned. Brock Turner is going to prison.

    • Bud

      The fact that there was such universal outrage over this sentence is conclusive evidence we DON’T live in a “rape culture”. Such a culture would have not blinked twice upon seeing such a sentence. Such a rape culture would have applauded such a light sentence. But instead we see outrage, petitions and death threats to the judge who made the decision. Rape culture? I think just the opposite.

      • msdamgoode

        Um…Humanities 101 here. All sorts of different and overlapping “Cultures” exist within societies. There is absolutely rape culture and that society is outraged doesn’t deny its existence.

        The letter that his dad wrote, his friend wrote all are glaring examples of rape culture.

        • SUP

          no, no rape culture. its obvious rape is looked down upon and rapists are hated. rape is not supported. what i mean as in theres no rape culture is that society as a whole is not a rape culture

    • TCD

      No amount of prison time rehabilitates someone. People reflect the environment they come from. Just as Brook Turner became a rapist as a result of being raised in a rape culture, placing him (or anyone else for that matter) into an institution that breaks people mentally and subjects them to an environment premised on fear and violence is not going to result in someone who is likely to fit well into normal society. You seem to be presuming a retributive model of justice, not a restorative or transformative one. Do we want to simply punish people like Brock Turner or transform him into a good person who will own up to his mistakes?

      • msdamgoode

        I agree in premise, that for some crimes/criminals that rehabilitation could and should be the goal. That our prision environment as a whole needs a complete overhaul and should be modeled more like mental institutions is grossly apparent. The vast majority of people in prison have mental illnesses. However, until our entire system of “Justice”– from the police to the judiciary and on down– are addressed and remodeled, this is the only way to insure the safety of innocent persons. Violent criminals *must* be taken out of society.

        How the penal system and the government treats them after removing them should absolutely change…BUT, the duty of the government is to protect and preserve the health and dignity of the governed. As well, there are certain criminals and certain minds that won’t be rehabilitated no matter WHAT happens to them. The outer society as a whole must also change for our institutions to reach a major turning point. The poor, the least educated, persons of color, and other marginalized members of society need to be lifted by the rest of us…a rising tide lifts all boats. Until the “trickle down” 1 percenters loose their stranglehold on our government, I’m afraid that real, meaningful change is impossible. We need programs and social developments so that we aren’t structured like a third world country.

        To summarize, it doesn’t mean that anyone deserves to be mistreated. It does mean that violence demands a forfeit of freedom.

  • DeVries

    I kind of see where youre coming from, but I feel you have a warped view. People who commit violent, sexual acts against unconscious people should be punished severely, period. Otherwise, everyone who has a compulsion to drug someone and rape them will no longer have a reason to fear acting upon their compulsions. They see everyone convicted of rape getting 6 month (aka 3 months with good behavior as he was told by the judge) and a lenient probation sentence, they know that they also will recieve a lenient sentence even if convicted and arent as afraid to get caught. The imprisonment inequality you talk about is a separate matter in a way. We need to fight to keep POC who commit any crime to receive a sentence that fits the crime and is equal to their white counterpart that may be found in similar circumstances such as law broken and prior offenses, rather than the unreasonable maximum reguardless of the circumstance because their race is seen as more “threatening”. People like this man, who has no qualms about forcing himself on and in a victim simply because he finds himself in a position in which he can who still has yet to show any remorse is a danger to society and needs to be punished accordingly.

    • Joshua Plethora

      There’s actually a lot of mixed data on whether longer prison sentences have deterrent effects like you are describing.

      • JoanneFM

        I don’t care about deterring them ..I just want them away from potential victims as long as possible. Jail protects the public from violent offenders. There are no young women for them to assault in jail so for that short time, we, as a society, are safer.

        • texasaggie

          Exactly!!!!

        • TCD

          That might feel like the right solution, but that kind of short-term thinking produces unintended consequences and is costly. Are we safer/better off by putting people in prison for as long as possible, where they are likely to not come out as better people. Institutionalization and the daily threat of violence and prison rape won’t suddenly turn a rapist into a non-rapist. That’s not even to mention that this strategy costs tens of thousands per year per person. Plus, you leave out all the potential strategies that could be used to ensure someone doesn’t reoffend: state monitoring, pscyhological/educational interventions, etc. I can understand the desire for punishment or someone making rapists “disappear” but I worry that desire too often trumps careful thinking about how to actually steer toward a society not defined by rape culture.

        • glddraco

          how will that solve anything exactly?

        • Chris R

          Violent offender? Are you not familiar with this case?

          And no… The purpose of jail is rehabilitation. Or at least it was supposed to be, but we keep fucking that right up.

          Our country has more people in prison than damn near any other on the planet, and this includes countries with much larger populations. Often times with such long sentences that by the time the prisoners get released realistically the only thing they can do to survive is to commit more crime. Because they’ve got no fucking marketable skills.

          Even though this kid got a light sentence he is still in the same boat. Who do you think will ever hire him? How do you suspect he will end up supporting himself? You remember he eventually has to be able to do that at some point right?

          Or how about we take another angle on it… What punishment would you like to see, and don’t give me something ambiguous like just asserting it should have been more. I want a specific. Is there even a limit you’d put on it and if so what is it? 10? 20 years perhaps? Are you going to have this first time nonviolent offended be trying to join the workforce without any job skills and being registered as a sex offender when he is in his mid 40’s? Possibly even being unable to acquire a marketable skill until he damn near reaches 50?

          Because quite frankly I think by comparison that makes the lynch mob camped in front of his house with loaded semiautomatic weapons sound like quite the humanitarian effort… Pretty sure a firing squad is much more humane given the choice.

      • sajoltman

        That data usually concerns long sentences vs longer sentences, at least as far as I’ve seen. It makes sense that maybe 15 years instead of 10 isn’t much of a deterrent, because both sound really long. I doubt the same applies to 5 years vs 3 months. But feel free to post studies.

        • Michael Irons

          Prison is not a deterrent.

          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3626152/US-cities-unexplained-rise-violent-crimes-year.html

          We are not afraid of prisons. Heck, some will do it JUST for a cot and 3 square meals.

          • Lacey Peterson

            That’s not who we’re talking about, though. A privileged white boy is definitely afraid of prison. Please don’t act like you are the face of all prisoners, Michael Irons.

          • glddraco

            Not really actually. Especially if they are sociopaths.

        • Chris R

          We also aren’t exactly talking about a gangbanger with a list of prior convictions longer than the average bodybuilder is tall. A first time offender who committed a nonviolent crime of spur of the moment opportunity devoid of any sort of planning and while impaired by a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit… Yea… I’d say there are some pretty damn valid reasons to believe that the threat this kid poses to the community is pretty damn small. For fuck sake… His record is cleaner than most people’s even after the conviction. Do you really think this kid is such a danger to society that it warrants a decade in jail?

          By the way… Before you answer that… Let me just let you know Something. There is a damn good chance of him getting raped in prison. One thing we don’t often talk about when it comes to rape is that rapists tend to be people who have themselves been raped or sexually abused.

          As it stands right now there is very little risk of him really ever committing another crime again. However, if you sent him to prison for let’s say maybe 5 years, let’s stick with under a decade still here, and he got raped twice in there, maybe assaulted a few dozen times, maybe even had someone try to kill him… Because you know… Other criminals aren’t fond of sex offenders either… Do you really think he would come out of there less likely to reoffend than he is now? If anything I’d say it would make him more likely to…

      • Michael Irons

        Let me tell you as a guy who lost a career and spent time behind bars…I would be the worst person to rely if a terrorist attack was about to happen. I would not help to prevent it. I may help with the aftermath, but no I would not help. I made an honest mistake, granted I was cleared of at least the charges and the chance of having to register as a sex offender. I can tell you, that even after 10 years, it still hurts and I have no love for this country. And would not help to preserve it. I don’t even say or stand for the pledge of allegiance anymore.

        Now imagine someone as young as Brock Turner loosing everything over something two drunk people engaged in and him probably getting caught after she may have passed out and not realizing in his drunk mind she was passed out. And now he and everyone who stood/stand by him are being punished for something maybe he did not do with in intent.

        • livvy

          Your description of the SEX ATTACK that Brock Turner committed makes me think you should be signing the sex offenders register.

          • Chris R

            Actually what he said makes a lot of sense. Have you really not noticed the odd language used to describe what happened? The details missing? The fact that his side of the story is completely absent from basically all the coverage?

            I mean really… The only details anyone seems to actually know is he was caught doing something to her behind a dumpster at a party. What? Well the originally claimed he was “penetrating her” that is a weirdly ambiguous phrase… Penetrating her with what? Could be anything with that wording. Except he was convicted of sexual assault, not rape, so that means there couldn’t have been any penetration so what exactly was he caught doing? Also how did she get behind the dumpster? Some articles speculate he dragged her, but who wouldn’t notice an unconscious chick being dragged around a busy party?

            If you ask me it sounds like what most likely happened is a couple of drunk horny teens snuck off for a quick fuck, and she passed out as he was getting started on foreplay. Before he realised she was out another couple of drunk horny teens strolled up also looking for a place to have a quick fuck.

            Now mind you legally speaking even if they’d found them both conscious and willingly participating, according to how the law is written currently, it would still be considered sexual assault. Which is kind of interesting when you contemplate how that conclusion is arrived at…

          • livvy

            You sound like a rapist.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Brock Turner was not convicted of rape. The prosecution actually *dropped* the charge of rape against him.

    • Chris R

      You just called what he did violent and you want to say someone else has a warped view? Violent would be a stranger walking up and punching you in the face. At the very least an act of violence is one intended to cause immediate physical pain and/or injury.

      What Brock did, and unfortunately gets completely lost amidst the sea of articles mistakenly calling him a rapist when what he was convicted of was sexual assault, not rape, is that he touched her vagina with his finger. Sexual assault sure, but violence? Give me a fucking break… If that is what I am supposed to refer to as a violent act then a nice big gallon of bleach sounds like a pretty refreshing beverage right about now…

  • Keith Pickelhaupt

    Sarah love, you’re an idiot. You drawing this line connecting this ridiculous and offensive and unjust slap on the hand to the ridiculous and offensive and unjust brutally harsh sentences of anyone else just adds salt to the wound of this judges actions. I couldn’t even read all of your dribbling. This boy needs his nuts in a vice, and because of this poor excuse for “justice”, the judges nuts need to be right there too. Let’s put that pretty little boy and that dips hit judge in gen pop and let them learn a few more things go about rape. It do not use this injustice as a soapbox for the exact opposite problem. Please, stop writing if all you can do is throw up straw men.

    • Please don’t call me “love”!

      • Melony Isaac

        Well Keith’s patronizing is the only thing you took from what he said, so I’m guessing you take offence to anyone trying to reason with you lack of understanding of the real issues

        • Keith Pickelhaupt

          Maybe she was so horrified by me calling her love that her brain shut off and couldn’t read the rest. That would make sense. I guess 🙂

        • Joshua Plethora

          You think this person advocating for the rape of criminals and judges in prison so they can learn something about the subject is reasoning with her lack of understanding? No, he’s contributing to the problem.

      • YAO NUNOO

        But it’s ok to call you an ‘idiot’? Sorry but your article was deplorable.

      • Keith Pickelhaupt

        So you’re saying love is not ok, but idiot is? Hmm. Seems to fit.

    • RTF2CA

      I’m not convinced yet by the author’s argument for transformative justice. We need punishments that fit the crime in all cases, regardless of the perpetrator’s or the victim’s race or sex. However, I am certain that using rape as a punishment is wrong.

  • So.. we should throw the book at White men more often, because too many black men are getting screwed? Crazy!
    Yeah.. lets make life harder on whites, just because it’s harder on others. Why not just make it easier on other’s!?

    I’m not talking about this rapist. I’m talking about in general! I can’t say ‘the sexual’ ambiguity of the two people involved wasn’t criminal; but I can’t say ‘the wanton’ of the women didn’t have some part in the play. And as soon as it’s proven she played a part, it’s hard for me as a person to discredit her part in the misconduct; if one of them is crying it!

    The generalizations (rationalized) here from the author is outrageous though!! lol

    We need to Stop Scrutinizing our people, and people need to stop thinking the Courts are going to garner an apology from someone for whatever crime they are ‘found guilty’ (in a court of law) of committing. Just because the Court or the Jurors say your ‘Guilty’ doesn’t mean you are! I’ve been found ‘guilty’ of multiple crimes I never commited!

    The Law is unjust. I have seen this fact proven over and over again. It’s able to be consistently made evident; so why we think we have a Justice System rather than unjust corrupt System of fanatics is Crazy to any normal thinking (God fearing) person!

  • Tee

    Yes,in a perfect world I would love a country where we focused more upon restitution to victims and communities along with quality treatment for the guilty, but this would need to be applied fairly despite race and social class. That isn’t what is happening in this case. This is simply a case of social class bias, not social change designed to reconstruct our criminal justice system. Quality treatment for the offender? Unsure and very unlikely. Will a young minority male accused of a similar crime be afforded the same consideration and sentencing? Very unlikely. I will need to see a pattern of change and a restructuring of the system before I will begin to engage this concept of transformative justice.

    • “Will a young minority male accused of a similar crime be afforded the same consideration and sentencing?”

      -If he was a Stanford swimmer? Almost certainly.

      • Wilby Stoned

        Yes. WEALTH carries privilege and few po’ black kids go to Stanford

      • sajoltman

        Actually it’s been pointed out that even black student athletes don’t get this same level of consideration — more than non-student-athletes, sure, but less than white student athletes.

  • Sheri Nevill-Carbin

    I’m all for lowering prison sentences in general and even eliminating prison for a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean that 6 months was a reasonable sentence for a rapist. There are a lot of people in prison who should not be there, but there are some people who should be there (rapists, child molesters and murderers come to mind immediately). Once there, I’d like to see major reforms to the prison system that focus as much on helping and as little on punishment as possible. I don’t think there’s any inconsistency in thinking that non-violent drug offenses should not result in any prison time at all while also thinking that a rapist should probably serve a few years.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Brock Turner is not a rapist. The charge of rape against him got dropped by the prosecution. Even though he has gotten convicted of other illegal activities, he deserves the presumption of innocence for accusations of crimes that he has not gotten convicted of.

      • msdamgoode

        The only reason he didn’t get charged with “rape” is because they couldn’t prove his penis was in her. Yet, Under FEDERAL definitions, the crimes he committed, was charged with, and convicted of, qualifies as rape. Please stop perpetuating the ignorant idea that this guy was somehow innocent of sexual violence.

        • Doug Lefelhocz

          “Yet, Under FEDERAL definitions, the crimes he committed, was charged with, and convicted of, qualifies as rape.”

          What are you talking about? So far as I know rape law occurs at the state law. But, if you have any federal law and an indication that the federal government has jurisdiction in rape cases, then by all means present that information. Failing that though, it stands to reason that, at best, you have confused context here, since we were talking about a case handled by the criminal justice system.

          Additionally, contrary to what you said I did, I specific said that he got convicted of other illegal activities, meaning other illegal activities than the crime of rape in the state of California which necessarily includes illegal sexual intercourse.

          Please stop telling me that I have done something when I did the contrary. And please stop perpetuating the idea that partial reading of responses makes for adequate understanding on your part.

          • Doug Lefelhocz

            I meant “rape law occurs at the state level.”

          • msdamgoode

            See FBI.gove link above.

          • msdamgoode

            “The revised UCR definition of rape is: Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” — From FBI.gov

            https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/violent-crime/rape

            The above makes it clear that Brock Turner, by federal definition, committed rape.

          • Doug Lefelhocz

            “The above makes it clear that Brock Turner, by federal definition, committed rape.”

            No, it doesn’t. Your link refers to the Uniform Crime Reporting definition of rape used *for data collection*. And you can even confirm that here:

            https://www.justice.gov/opa/blog/updated-definition-rape

            It is not a legal definition. It doesn’t have any legal force. The definition is also not binding on any federal or state agency. It is not operative in the context of a legal case.

            Your link suggests that you don’t have a federal definition of rape in the context of a legal case.

            I did mention that Turner has gotten convicted of other illegal activities. Contrary to how you have characterized what I wrote, at no point did I say or imply that those illegal activities were not felonies or that they should not get regarded as felonies.

            The state of California still having a definition of rape such that it has to involve intercourse, does not say anything about any other behaviors getting excused. Plenty of other behaviors still qualify as felonies, include those that Turner got convicted of.

            Female sexual assault of other females is not as likely to result in pregnancy as illegal genital to genital intercourse. Whatever gets used to sexually assault has to come as laced with sperm in such a case. But, it might end up likely enough to result in transmission of disease, depending on the type of sexual assault involved.

            However, illegal digital penetration is not likely enough to result in pregnancy, nor is it likely enough to result in the transmission of disease. In the worst case scenarios. And thus illegal genital to genital intercourse does differ substantially from illegal digital sexual assault. That does not imply, though, that illegal digital sexual assault should not get regarded as a felony.

          • msdamgoode

            Where did I say it was a *Legal* definition??? Oh yeah. I didn’t.

            Obviously it doesn’t hold any *Legal* implications as that is decided amongst the states. That’s why I INCLUDED California’s Code too. (See how I did that?)

            What I said was it’s how the federal government defines rape…Which is true. And
            because that’s how they define it, what I said still stands. The UCR is a FEDERAL program. Read that link you sent again. Oh wait..I’ll quote your own source for you.

            –“For the first time ever, the new *DEFINITION* includes any gender of victim and perpetrator, not just women being raped by men. It also recognizes that rape with an *OBJECT* can be as traumatic as penile/vaginal rape. This definition also includes instances in which the victim is unable to give consent because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.” –(Emphasis mine)

            I’m not arguing that his charges were wrong under the law of the State of California. I’m explaining that, when the federal government defines it (complies statistical information, reports, etc) this qualifies as Rape, and will be reported as such. I’m also pretty damned certain that his victim feels just as raped no matter what the State says.

          • Doug Lefelhocz

            “Where did I say it was a *Legal* definition??? Oh yeah. I didn’t.”

            The context of this discussion came as a legal one. Note that the title of this article concerned prison, and the comment our sub-comments exist within refers to prison. Prison requires a legal system, and thus we’ve presupposed a legal context. So, if you knew that you were not using a legal definition, then you knew you used a definition of rape outside of the context of this article and the comment above by Sheri Nevill-Carbin.

            “What I said was it’s how the federal government defines rape…Which is true.”

            It isn’t how the federal government defines rape in a legal context. So, within context, what you have said is not true.

            Your quotation doesn’t establish the context of what you cited. I had already established that by pointing out that your source talked about the Uniform Crime Reporting definition *for the purposes of data collection*.

            Additionally, even if you did procure a federal definition of rape which can get applied to some legal context (there does exist a penal code of the federal government), digital penetration does not qualify as rape for the Brock Turner legal case, because the State of California has jurisdiction for that case.

            The woman involved in this case has determined how she feels about this largely based on what others told her happened. She was not conscious at the time to remember it, and thus has not spoken from her own experience on this matter.

            Additionally, more than mere feelings matter. There exist more potential consequences than just psychological trauma for some acts. And it makes little sense to put actions likely enough to result in pregnancy or to transmit veneral disease in the same category as something which almost surely won’t do so.

          • msdamgoode

            Actually she HAS spoken on her experience. She wrote a 17 page letter to the court about HER experience.

            And really, are you going to be so disingenuous to purport that you do not realize that commentary on articles can and often does go beyond the scope of the article? My posts were not so far left of field from the origin subject matter of the article to be misconstrued unless you’re doing so willfully or through ignorance.

            Additionally, I cited both the Federal definition AND the legal statute, and made mention that for the purposes of conviction, the state statute holds sway. My comments were ALL FACTUAL, what I said was truth. I don’t know what else you need besides the FBI and the Department of Justice stating their definition of rape to make it clear that that is how they define it. They even further explain why and how they expanded their definition. Good lord, you’re arguing with Qutoes directly from the DOJ explaining that it’s their definition!

            But since you’re just being purposefully antagonistic, I’m done with you.

          • Doug Lefelhocz

            The statement, which supposedly originates solely with her, says:

            “On the way there, I joked that undergrad guys would have braces. My
            sister teased me for wearing a beige cardigan to a frat party like a
            librarian. I called myself “big mama”, because I knew I’d be the oldest
            one there. I made silly faces, let my guard down, and drank liquor too
            fast not factoring in that my tolerance had significantly lowered since
            college.
            The next thing I remember I was in a gurney in a hallway.”

            So, even by her account she doesn’t remember it. And the court found that she was not conscious at the time. So, no, she’s not relaying her experience of what they convicted Turner of.

            “And really, are you going to be so disingenuous to purport that you do
            not realize that commentary on articles can–and most often does– go
            beyond the scope of the article itself?”

            I do realize this, and have implied that you have done this several times now.

            You’ve made several errors in other places in what you’ve written.

            You haven’t provided any direct quote which outright asserts or implies that *the code of law* of the federal government works out such that the definition of rape works in the same way as it does for the Uniform Crime Reporting Program.

        • Doug Lefelhocz

          Additionally, it may well hold that he didn’t put his penis in her. And if he didn’t, that qualifies as sufficient reason for him not to get charged with rape in the state of California.

          • msdamgoode

            Because the state of Cali has an archaic and dismissive definition of rape, means something legally there, true. Mostly, what *I* think it means is they need to change the statutes, like, yesterday. I do understand that is the case, though,mand you’re factually correct.
            But morally, I’d argue the point.

      • Mjal

        The reason he wasn’t charged with rape is because of his economic and social standing. So maybe a white man killed a black man in 1935 Alabama and wasn’t actually charged with the black man’s murder. The fact that he wasn’t charged is even more of an indictment against the whole situation. THINK a little bit!

        • Doug Lefelhocz

          Turner doesn’t have social standing now of any note. He’s going to jail. Convicted criminals, especially those that have to register for life as a sex offender, don’t have positive social standing. He also didn’t have social standing when he got accused, because most people believed him guilty of felonious crimes. And your comment which suggests that he is guilty of two felonies for which the charges got dropped also imply that he doesn’t have any positive social standing of note right now.

          And the charges got dropped by the prosecution, because they didn’t believe they had sufficient evidence to convict him of those charges he got accused of.

          • Mjal

            I meant his socio-economic background.

        • Doug Lefelhocz

          And in particular with respect to the charges getting dropped, a criminologist testified on the stand that there wasn’t DNA evidence of genital to genital contact.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Brock Turner is not a rapist. The charge of rape against him got dropped by the prosecution. Even though he has gotten convicted of other illegal activities, he deserves the presumption of innocence for accusations of crimes that he has not gotten convicted of.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Brock Turner is not a rapist. The charge of rape against him got dropped by the prosecution. Even though he has gotten convicted of other illegal activities, he deserves the presumption of innocence for accusations of crimes that he has not gotten convicted of.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Brock Turner is not a rapist. The charge of rape against him got dropped by the prosecution. Even though he has gotten convicted of other illegal activities, he deserves the presumption of innocence for accusations of crimes that he has not gotten convicted of.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Brock Turner is not a rapist. The charge of rape against him got dropped by the prosecution. Even though he has gotten convicted of other illegal activities, he deserves the presumption of innocence for accusations of crimes that he has not gotten convicted of.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Brock Turner is not a rapist. The charge of rape against him got dropped by the prosecution. Even though he has gotten convicted of other illegal activities, he deserves the presumption of innocence for accusations of crimes that he has not gotten convicted of.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Brock Turner is not a rapist. The charge of rape against him got dropped by the prosecution. Even though he has gotten convicted of other illegal activities, he deserves the presumption of innocence for accusations of crimes that he has not gotten convicted of.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Brock Turner is not a rapist. The charge of rape against him got dropped by the prosecution. Even though he has gotten convicted of other illegal activities, he deserves the presumption of innocence for accusations of crimes that he has not gotten convicted of.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Brock Turner is not a rapist. The charge of rape against him got dropped by the prosecution. Even though he has gotten convicted of other illegal activities, he deserves the presumption of innocence for accusations of crimes that he has not gotten convicted of.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Brock Turner is not a rapist. The charge of rape against him got dropped by the prosecution. Even though he has gotten convicted of other illegal activities, he deserves the presumption of innocence for accusations of crimes that he has not gotten convicted of.

    • TCD

      By what logic? Shouldn’t it just matter whether or not a person is rehabilitated? What data do we have that it should be several years rather than six months for this kind of crime? That might “feel” right, but that feeling might be a result of living in a culture as warped by the prison-industrial complex as it is by rape culture.

  • Katie

    I like what the article is saying, but rape is a violent crime. The sentencing of black and POC individuals for the same crime meet the sentencing requirements for something as violating as rape. BUT non-violent crimes are what are leading to prison overcrowding and the majority of injustices against POC (just wrote an article about that so… hot in my mind) Shaun King also wrote something yesterday about a black man being sentenced for rape (same age as Brock, same charges, also an athlete, but sentenced to 15-25 years) and said the charges were justified in the case of the black man, but this just goes to show how white privilege permeates the justice system. Prisons and the Industrial Complex are gross and need to be dismantled, but rapists need to be held accountable for their actions and serve time equal to their damage against their victims. I agree with everything you’re saying on the issue of injustice except that prison sentences for violent crimes should be lowered. That is not where the problem lies (in the majority of cases) in relation to the Brock Turner rape case.

    • paxtexana

      Here’s a Black athlete, with a history of violence I might add, getting a lesser sentence than old white privilege Brock. And even though College Football is about zillion times higher profile than swimming, you’ll notice his face isn’t plastered all over the media. I wonder why…
      http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/13485476/sam-ukwuachu-baylor-bears-sentenced-180-days-jail-10-years-probation-sexual-assault-case

      • AmIJustAPessimistOrWhat?

        Not really equivalent because Sam’s was an un-witnessed case in which Sam denied guilt. If Brock’s case had not been witnessed presumably he would have got a lighter sentence, rather than the same sentence.

        • Ari N. Bronstein

          ??? The man was convicted of sexual assault. The jury found that he was guilty of the crime despite it being un-witnessed and despite Sam denying guilt. In this way, it is highly comparable to Brock Turner’s case, in which no one actually witnessed him fingering Emily Doe, and he has always maintained innocence.

          The differences between the cases, in terms of sentencing, arise from the fact that Ukwuachu’s actions involved violent acts, including forcible rape. In contrast, there is no evidence that Turner acted violently toward his victim during his assault. Furthermore, Turner’s prior legal history involved only possession of alcohol, and his other misdeeds involved fairly common occasional teenage drug use (mostly marijuana). Ukwuachu was dismissed from Boise St for a major depressive disorder prior to his offense, and while he was in Boise, he had allegedly punched and choked his former girlfriend on multiple occasions, to which she testified in court.

          Essentially, Ukwuachu was much more deserving of a harsh penalty than Brock Turner for many reasons. In the end, his court-imposed penalty was marginally more harsh, mostly due to probation lasting 10 years instead of 3. However, the worst part of the official punishment is the sex offender registry, which both received equally. Furthermore, Brock Turner’s worst punishment may have been the media coverage and international vilification he received, which Ukwuachu largely avoided.

          In the end, Ukwuachu’s case by itself doesn’t disprove racial bias in sentencing, but in the same sense neither is there any evidence that racial or class bias played into Brock Turner’s favor. He was young, with no prior legal history, and had shown good character in all other aspects of his life, and those things are almost certainly what motivated a progressive-minded judge to grant leniency. Though you may not be aware of other cases, such judges grant young men (black, white, Latino, or whatever) probation in lieu of prison time all the time if their situation merits it.

      • Jess

        Excellent highlight.

    • Jess

      Not to mention, what are the assurances that women be protected from Brock Turner? There is an absolute denial of the danger which he presents to his environment.

  • beyonce2

    this article is FUCKED UP. how the fuck are you gonna use LITERALLY THE IMAGE OF WHITE PRIVILEGE as the face and your reasoning for prison abolition. like where the fuck are your articles about the thousands and thousands of people of color who are ACTUALLY fucked over by the prison system and where’s your support for them? get out of my face with this damn white ass social justice

    • consider

      Hey, maybe you should actually read the article, because that’s exactly what she was talking about.

      • AmIJustAPessimistOrWhat?

        Not really. Starts and ends with Brock, with nothing more than an casual reference to more general problems with our justice system, and no reference as to how keep crime off the streets.

  • Demos

    …because “turning the other cheek” is going to make the rape culture go away???

  • Radical Republican

    And this is where Progressives and I differ. Progressives have provided the “theory” of a system that provides justice for heinous crimes but haven’t shown any examples of what this system is. Until a proven system that helps the victim and puts the victims as the priority is put forward by these Progressives, I will be calling for the jailing of heinous criminals.

    I find it hilarious how the rape case is compared to the marijuana case. When one involves violating another person unjustly, and the other is just indulging in something without hurting anyone. You have become no different than mainstream media by making these ridiculous comparisons.

    • Joshua Plethora

      How does a program get proven if the heinous criminals are all jailed as you advocate?

  • YAO NUNOO

    Is it not the height of privilege that this conversation is being raised only when a privileged white boy hangs in the balance. Where were all the calls for lesser sentences and humanization of the criminal when it happened to less-privileged criminals? The only person who needs our support is the victim. We all have an obligation to restore her faith in humanity. I’m sorry but this article fails her yet again.

    • Law ‘n order

      You apparently are very selective in your reading. I regularly see articles calling ” for lesser sentences and humanization of the criminal when it happened to less-privileged criminals”.

      • YAO NUNOO

        Your statement was the missing character witness missive the Judge needed to make the sentence 3 months instead of six. Bad timing!

  • YAO NUNOO

    You may or may not have realized it, but you just made yourself a willing agent of privilege and rape culture. Thx very much!

  • Christopher Beall

    Sarah: thank you for taking a position against two evils. Reflexive and interminable incarceration, even for violent offenses, is not a just, or sound, policy. “Lock ’em up and throw away the key” is rarely a good solution, especially for young first offenders. While I might wish that he had received more than a few months of jail time, it is always very difficult to ascertain the correct sentence, if there is such a thing. And few articles mention that, as a registered sex offender for the rest of his life, he is effectively on some form of state control forever, and very often severely restricted to the types of jobs he can have and the places he can live, as a matter of law, and further subject to the unlawful, sometimes violent, attention of members of the public who have access to these registries.

  • Jess

    A college swim career. Warrants what behaviors? Demands what for its performance? Sacrifices whom to its pyre? Not to mention how many more would *ever* be enough to feed it now?

    Sarah, a 20% overall difference in realized sentencing across crimes hardly epitomizes the charade that California judge just made of his office, which would otherwise merit any bearing in future. Brock Turner’s father may have been a problem for him – after any/all reparation required for his societal bent to become beneficent – yet he did not have to compound that onto any others via his violations, unless he himself was to be the problem, a decision he made and reconstituted several times. His father is statedly obsessed with his owns’ immunity to major laws affecting the wellbeing of others: there is no way this is not problematic. However, there should be No Confusion. In whatever way criminality benefited Brock Turner, it does not benefit our society, and that is the point of corrective sentencing, to reinforce: that society does not exist to provide deviances to his delight, via harm onto others.

    His contributions: what is to say they will ever outweigh damage he caused? His merit as a star athlete: what does that even mean, and further speak??

    A consistent sentence at least offers consistent solace for himself. You state: “…currently serving horrific sentences for minor crimes.” There is nothing minor about rape. Intercourse confers risk of dangerous disease as well as pregnancy. A 5 year average sentence is often perceived as low for it in the context of violent crimes (which is the case you address, a violent sexually deviant crime, and in his case premeditated enough to leave him taking all actions entirely.) This is an overall consideration, regardless offender in the category. And *then*, consider the counts of incidence for Brock Turner. 6 months is a base offense, and an alarming agenda at work. Not to mention, the stage it sets for backlash. 6 months in no ways confers need for intent conversations nor relationship building upon the sons of the world, that should understand becoming a man is about more than literally dragging an unconscious peer behind a dumpster for his knowing sexual gratification, in a partnered intimacy made as un-intimate as possible, and not for his partner’s lack of choosing but for her entire lack of choice. Due to his plans otherwise.

    When people address drug addiction being treated rather than sentenced, we consider the self-harm addiction inflicts, as well as that the addiction itself may short society in ways, cause outright damages in others. The latter obviously has its disagreeable points among some. The might know any or all of the spectacular Beatles, or any other gentle psychedelic musical sensation. Maybe they bought Michael Jackson’s portfolio. Many a magnificent work of music or art has worn some supplemental influences, and maybe they are not always legal, so society benefits. People speak it of professional athletes and teams, leagues and countless tributes, as well.

    The only self-harm of Turner’s crime, however, is its lawful due justice.

    Why deny corrective action? Except to reinforce bad behavior, and endanger females of future. That is not any kind of intelligent, and it’s all kinds of negligent when you consider a practitioner that bothers to become a judge at all, and not believe in the promises laws are made to fulfill. The judge did not propose closing down prison systems as inept, he did not propose any service restitutions for Turner’s character development, citing all the student’s time spent in the water (presumably not just the womb!) Very poor deed from a very poor judge.

  • AmIJustAPessimistOrWhat?

    The prosecutor asked for six years not “decades” like you allege some comments recommended. I don’t see how you can use random internet comments demanding sentences longer than the maximum permitted as a justification for your argument for the most lenient sentence possible in this case.
    If you want to take on the task of examining the uneven playing field of justice, arguing that this one case of justice “light” is justified seems like the one of the most irrelevant and, I’m sorry but, insincere way of going about it. Please try harder to come up with a plan that is more efficient about keeping crime off the streets and keeping kids out of crime.

    What I disagree with most about the judge’s decision is to blame it mainly on alcohol – as shown by the probation conditional of no alcohol for a limited time.

    • Jess

      He has a clear pathological strain. Obviously, alcohol nor substance were directing his pathway.

      Serious therapy and more time, would have been serious considerations of the plight that judge instead just levied at future youth.

  • FredZiffel

    Which American politician more than any other is responsible for more people of color rotting in prisons under mandatory sentencing guidelines that he gleefully signed into law?: Bill Clinton. With the wholehearted support of his wife.

  • Aldo 2517

    Are you sure you want to make your argument with THIS CASE?
    Why wasn’t this written in response to Brandon Garner’s case?
    The pale Stanford swimmer gets sentenced like an “insider.”
    The dark “nobody” gets a decade for some weed.
    The public is drooling for an atrocious minimum mandatory sentence because THIS TIME it would be satisfying. I don’t think THIS TIME you’re gonna persuade anybody.

    • Joshua Plethora

      The purpose of this piece isn’t to persuade new people. It’s to remind people who have previously been persuaded to hold on to their convictions.

  • Mike Schonewolf

    I’m all for lowering the sentences of people who commit non-violent crime, however for violent crime perps should get hard prison time, it’s how they learn the errs of their ways.

    • Joshua Plethora

      Do you have any data that actually indicates that hard prison time helps people learn the error of their ways, or is this just your intuition?

  • Izzat So

    Bring back the scarlet letter. Tattoo “R” on his forhead and turn him loose.

  • pcl

    I support harsh penalties for real rapists, death for those who use violence to get what they want. But Turner did do that, and he didn’t just find a woman passed out and abuse her. She passed out while they were making out. He should have stopped then and there and gotten help (though even if he had done that, he would probably have been accused by the authorities or the woman (whose memory was impaired) of rape), but for what was probably a combination of reasons, he either didn’t notice or chose not to notice that she was unconscious. But there is no evidence that she was unconscious during the “fingering” and he never even took his clothes off. He was in the wrong, but he’s hardly an ogre.

    • Wilby Stoned

      So it mattered WHEN she passed out? That changes what?
      She was incapable of saying yes or no, so HE chose for her and that is RAPE.

    • SUP

      we should have death for criminals unless its absoultely necessary to deter these kinds of people

  • Pingback: Link: Brock Turner Case: Our Hatred of Rape Should Not Make Us Into Proponents of Prison | TheInfluence – Tea & Oranges()

  • lesley_williams

    What bothers me about this case is the sense of entitlement on the part of the perpetrator and his father. The
    Turners clearly don’t think unpleasant things like retribution should happen to people like them; the fact that they are appealing the verdict indicates that they feel no need to take responsibility for what happened, but see the whole messy case as an unpleasant inconvenience, an impediment in the way of Brock’s God given path to a brilliant future. Fuck ’em. Yes, we imprison too many people, and we shouldn’t be jailing teenagers or drug addicts, but my dream is to see Brock Turner, Bill Cosby, and the majority of the Catholic Church hierarchy locked up in some rat infested dungeon for the rest of their miserable lives.

  • Rocio

    As an anarchist survivor sympathetic to prison abolition as a vision, I could not disagree with you more. I’ve heard this same bullshit argument from other anarchists before. It is entirely ideological and has remarkably little concern for actual victims. You are more concerned with perpetrators than victims bc you’ve bought into the conception that everyone can be changed even if they are actually adults very late in their development. (Children OTOH are malleable and early intervention is key.) Ideally rape & violence against women would be dealt with a victim centered manner. Restorative justice & transformative justice as they have been practiced in radical circles are usually NOT about the needs of the victim and are usually just an attempt by a group to feel like they “did something”. You should look up zines by anarchist survivor who have harshly criticized restorative justice attempts in radical communities as feel good attempts that are pretty useless. Feminists are working hard to change the culture to end rape but in the mean time you cannot just leave women in the cold & expect us to smile that someone’s ideology is being put ahead of actually trying to keep dangerous people away from us.

    FFS when the Zapatistas took power they emptied the prisons *except for* the rapists & murderer. True story.

    • Law ‘n order

      The criminal justice system is about criminals. The needs of the victim are dealt with in civil proceedings.

  • JoanneFM

    I want violent offenders locked up AWAY from people they hurt for a long time! Until you’ve been a victim, you can talk all you want about lighter sentences but when you live with the fear of being assaulted again by the very man who got a slap on the wrist the first time he got caught, you will advocate for keeping them as far away from the rest of us as possible.

  • texasaggie

    “Our outrage should be directed at the lack of humanity in the sentencing of these hundreds of thousands of people—and at the misogyny that fosters sex crimes—but not at the sentencing of one young man who committed an awful crime but was fortunate enough to be shown some mercy.”

    This article entirely misses the point. There is no reason at all that decent people can’t be outraged at the sentencing of unprivileged kids to long sentences and at the same time be outraged that this jerk got off lightly. It isn’t as if everyone else got sentences that were massively unfair while Scheisskopf here got what he deserved. His sentence was as massively unfair as someone getting 10 years for having a joint. Giving this creep a hand slap was the same as saying to everyone else in similar situations that rape is ok as long as you come from privilege.

    • Wilby Stoned

      Where was the mercy for his victim?

      • Chris R

        Wat? You wot m8?

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Since the charge of rape against Turner got dropped *by the prosecution*, the verdict and the sentencing by the judge here do NOT send any messages by the legal system to the effect that “rape is ok”.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Since the charge of rape against Turner got dropped *by the prosecution*, the verdict and the sentencing by the judge here do NOT send any messages by the legal system to the effect that “rape is ok”.

      • Mjal

        But the message is sent by the criminal justice system as a whole.

        • Doug Lefelhocz

          The message sent by the criminal justice system as a whole at present is that Brock Turner is guilty of criminal sexual activity, deserves to get put into jail for several months, and that he deserves to remain on the sex offender registry for life. And that there exists enough certainty here to say that a group of people agreed upon by both the prosecution and the defense of the case as qualified to judge and then presented with all the relevant facts discovered by investigators and witnesses find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. They have an abiding conviction that Turner is guilty of the crimes that he got convicted of.

        • Doug Lefelhocz

          Also, the message sent to anyone convicted of a felony in 48 out of 50 states by the criminal justice system as a whole is that, in the democracy we live in, their behavior comes as so intolerable that they deserve to lost their right to vote. In other words, at least for a certain period of time if not their entire life, they don’t deserve to even have a voice in the political process. In the State of California those incarcerated for a felony don’t have the legal right to vote until they complete their parole: http://www.sentencingproject.org/publications/felony-disenfranchisement-a-primer/ It looks like that means they can’t register to vote for at least one year after their incarceration period has completed and up to four years after their incarceration period has completed: http://www.recordgone.com/articles/parole-vs-probation-california.htm#fn4

          Turner, among many others, is thus literally politically disenfranchised, even though the behaviors he got convicted of don’t make him less capable of determining if tax rates are fair, how much should get invested in health care, how much we should spend on the military, and basically the whole gamut of political issues that come up in elections, and who is competent to lead people with respect to working on those political issues.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Since the charge of rape against Turner got dropped *by the prosecution*, the verdict and the sentencing by the judge here do NOT send any messages by the legal system to the effect that “rape is ok”.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Since the charge of rape against Turner got dropped *by the prosecution*, the verdict and the sentencing by the judge here do NOT send any messages by the legal system to the effect that “rape is ok”.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Since the charge of rape against Turner got dropped *by the prosecution*, the verdict and the sentencing by the judge here do NOT send any messages by the legal system to the effect that “rape is ok”.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Since the charge of rape against Turner got dropped *by the prosecution*, the verdict and the sentencing by the judge here do NOT send any messages by the legal system to the effect that “rape is ok”.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Since the charge of rape against Turner got dropped *by the prosecution*, the verdict and the sentencing by the judge here do NOT send any messages by the legal system to the effect that “rape is ok”.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Since the charge of rape against Turner got dropped *by the prosecution*, the verdict and the sentencing by the judge here do NOT send any messages by the legal system to the effect that “rape is ok”.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Since the charge of rape against Turner got dropped *by the prosecution*, the verdict and the sentencing by the judge here do NOT send any messages by the legal system to the effect that “rape is ok”.

    • Doug Lefelhocz

      Since the charge of rape against Turner got dropped *by the prosecution*, the verdict and the sentencing by the judge here do NOT send any messages by the legal system to the effect that “rape is ok”.

    • TCD

      You are right to note that it is unfair. Recognizing that fact, we have two options: either a downward spiral to giving everyone inhumanely long sentences or aspiring to move to a world where prison isn’t seen as the answer to every social ill, including sexual assault. You seem stuck in the outdated thinking that prison time is actually an effective deterrent. People are rarely so rational in the moment of a crime. We should be thinking about actually trying to understand why these actions happen and how to prevent them. The main function of throwing people in the inhumane prison environment is to make ourselves feel like we’re accomplishing something. How much money do we want to spend and how much of other people’s lives do we want to waste on feeling efficacious in our justice system rather than actually being efficacious?

  • Law ‘n order

    One of the remarkable things about Americans is their unwillingness to learn from experience, either their own or others. To me, the most important consideration in sentencing is trying to ensure that the perpetrator won’t do it (whatever “it” was) again. Recidivism is the measure of sentencing effectiveness. Different states in the US have differing levels of severity in sentencing. Is there a correlation between the average severity of sentence for a given crime and the recidivism rate? Other countries have MUCH differing levels of severity of sentence for the same crime. A look at other countries that have similar legal systems to the US (the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand spring to mind) to see if their recidivism rates are in any way correlated with sentence severity could be informative.
    The proponents of severe sentencing expect that recidivism will be inversely correlated with severity of sentence (longer sentences, less recidivism). My unscientific impression is that this is not true, except in death penalty and life without parole sentences. Data would be helpful.

  • Wilby Stoned

    If this privileged white kid had been black or latino, he would have been doing every bit of that 14 years.

    The JUDGE should be jailed for his open and OBVIOUS racism and the sentence be re-stated.
    This is no more than a slap on the wrist for rape.

  • raven108

    As a sexual abuse survivor, I’m curious to know what transformative justice would look like in this case, and in the cases of violent sexual crimes, rape, and domestic violence. How do you handle transformative justice in a way that doesn’t revictimize the survivor? Can someone give me examples of what that might look like?

    There’s psychology of trauma survival at odds with the nature of Transformative Justice. It takes years of therapy and healing for a survivor of abuse to see clearly, overcome blame, and move beyond the sense that they were somehow at fault. Transformative justice in cases of rape, sexual violence, and domestic violence seem like a way to address the needs of the offender, rather than the needs of the victim. Whereas for drug crimes, where the offender is primarily hurting society, violent sexual crimes primarily hurt one victim (with implications for society if the person goes unincarcerated or unrehabilitated). In that case, society’s needs must come second to the victim’s needs.

    Traumatized people make decisions based on fear, guilt, and defensiveness. Their abusers often still hold considerable sway over their psyches. Few violent sexual crimes are perpetrated by strangers; most are by someone the person knows. That has a huge bearing on the survivor’s sense of social belonging and the pressures and shame that, for better or for worse, are part of going through a trial or the process of transformative justice. If I had had to go through a process of trying to figure out how to address the social needs and psychology that led my abuser to abuse me, I would have killed myself. I don’t say that glibly. It has taken me years to speak candidly about my abuse; this is not a part of my identity I wanted people to know and judge me for — because there are people who found out and DID judge me. Not just jerks who I could easily cut out of my life, but close friends, relatives, teachers. An aspect of being a survivor many people don’t understand is that as we tell our stories, we have to manage the emotions of the people we tell our stories to, which is retraumatizing in and of itself. It’s scary, stigmatized, uncomfortable, and people don’t know how to respond.

    Abuse fundamentally clouds a survivor’s judgement at a neurological level; that’s why we need the justice system to step in. This is a different scenario than low-level drug crimes (which are the overwhelming majority of incarcerations). I was sexually assaulted for 10 years in a state with very strong survivor’s rights. My impact statement had a major bearing on the judge’s sentence. I had a judge who made it very clear to me that he was first and foremost concerned with my wants and needs. Good, right? Well, not exactly. My family knew this fact. They pressured me into asking for a more lenient sentence than I was comfortable with, because the abuser was also a family member. They didn’t want our family ripped apart. Suddenly, the onus of keeping together my fracturing family fell to me, which is a heavy burden to lay on an emotionally stunted (from abuse) and deeply traumatized teenager. I needed therapy, not to be thinking about what was best for my family and abuser. It only added to my gaslighted sense that everything was my fault and wishing everything had just been kept quiet.

    Why did I want my abuser to go to jail? Retribution wasn’t on my mind — it took years of therapy for me to get angry at him and not feel complicit in the abuse. (Thanks, rape culture!) No, I needed to feel safe. I had spent ten years terrified that he was just around the corner — he often was. At least if he were in jail, I could start to lose the habit of feeling like a tiger was waiting to pounce. I can’t tell you incarceration actually would have led to any sense of relief; I’ll never know. I caved to my family’s pressure. It did not save my family. Few of us talk to each other. I had to estrange myself from them for years to be able to get enough distance to heal, a decision that was the best one I made for myself, despite my therapist at the time, well-meaning close friends, and family of choice and things like weekend seminars *unanimously* telling me I would regret it. (I do not and never have.)

    Though my abuser had a restraining order, my rational brain couldn’t compete with my trauma brain, and I spent years scared he was going to come after me. My abuser pled guilty. I don’t know if he was repentant. A year ago, I googled my abuser. He’s had several arrests for domestic violence and drugs. Is that because he was forced to define himself as a criminal (he has to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life), or is it because he makes bad decisions and would have done that anyways? I can’t tell you. But I can tell you that sadly, my story is not uncommon — the trauma of rape isn’t restricted to just the violent acts. It changes our identities, how we relate to people around us and their responses, how they judge us; the stigma that rape carries. Until rape culture is changed, the needs of the survivor need to come before the needs of the offender.

    • msdamgoode

      @ raven108

      I Just re-visited this page because I’d had some new up votes and replies and read your post. I wish I’d seen it when you posted.

      I’m struck. Really. I hear your story clearly…viscerally. I *feel* it.

      What a powerful testament to the way sexual abuse rips into your identity, rearranges and distorts everything in and around you, and the courage it takes to find a way forward. This is strong, moving, and sadly, so very relatable for way too many of us…both female AND male.

      I don’t know if you’d be comfortable posting it, or if you’re familiar with the site, but I think this piece of writing would make for a great article on Medium. https://medium.com

      Your story is an incredibly moving, and almost painfully articulate, glimpse into how individual identity, gaslighting, self-doubts, and the judicial system all interplay between victims, abusers, and society to create the fractured ways in which sexual assaults, abuse, and the people involved (both victims and perpetrators) are dealt with and viewed.

      Unfortunately, articles like this are ALWAYS “timely” but With Brock Turner (briefly) back in the news due to his release, I think you could reach many people who absolutely *need* to read a story like yours in order to -hopefully- gain some insight into the real, human road so many of us walk. There are far too many rape culture deniers that simply cannot see how broken the body politic is, and instead take the phrase as some sort of personal (mostly male) condemnation because they simply cannot see how small instances of personal affronts by both sexes add up to a larger problem with the whole. We ALL must do better by each other.

      Whether or not you chose to post this elsewhere, I can only hope that those in your sphere now give you both the support you need as well as honoring the fact that this doesn’t define you. It can be a tricky balance. You have my best wishes, and my thanks for sharing your story. It moved me deeply.

  • John Browne

    I’d like to examine Judge Persky’s sentencing record of the past (several) years, to determine if this is “in character” for him generally, or if this is simply because the defendant is a white well-off athlete from a major institution of higher learning. If that’s the case then Persky is as much a part of thre Problem as this defendant. ^..^

  • steveo42

    You should be open to the possibility that women are especially “privileged” where leniency is concerned. Or even as in this case personal responsibility. I certainly hope she is not “all women”, 26 hanging around frat parties repeatedly getting blackout drunk, only an issue when a couple Don Quixotes stumble on the scene.

    https://www.law.umich.edu/newsandinfo/features/Pages/starr_gender_disparities.aspx

    • Pogo

      here is how I summarize your view, and that of many who I see commenting on this case with sympathy for the rapist.

      When men get drunk, they are not responsible for anything they do.
      When women get drunk, they deserve whatever happens to them.

      That said, I agree with the original post here. We’re going down the wrong road when we associate feminist politics with the law and order politics of the U.S., falling for the idea that the only measure of taking crime seriously is throwing someone in prison for a very long time. I do think that we would be better off if we thought about other ways to address violent crime, including rape and murder. There are other U.S> feminists who share this view. For example: http://www.incite-national.org/page/incite-critical-resistance-statement

      • steveo42

        you would be %100 wrong in your summary, it is frankly idiotic in its use of extremes and gender, and oblivious to reality.

      • steveo42

        your summary is idiotically extremist and you are sexist beyond measure, which is a good summary of feminists.

    • ♧BobbiEllen♧

      If you’re taking about brocks victim…. she was 22 and went with her sister.
      I can’t believe how many people are making nasty statements about her when they don’t know much about the case.

      • steveo42

        You don’t know that, she has the privilege of being anonymous. She has the privilege of being told what her story was and then the privilege of people across the nation thinking inappropriate touching is violent rape.

        It is all nasty, you better believe it.

        where was that idiotic pastor who got on the hate train when omar’s dad opened his mouth?

        She had the privilege of millions of idiots supporting her who cannot think critically.

  • texassa

    Violent and non-violent crimes do not compare. Remove ridiculous sentencing for minor drug offenses or drug offenses in general. Violent criminals deserve incarceration. Rape, murder, assault – imprisonment is a consequence. And I find it to be an appropriate one.

  • Joe anderssen

    All you Sanders loving pseudo liberals. You might want to do a little research into the beloved European penal code and how this case would have been treated by the justice system in the Sanders beloved Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Austria or the Netherlands. You’ll be in for a bit of a surprise to say the least.

    The criminal and civil justice system in all of these countries is the quintessential expression of social liberal politics & values. It is completely deprived of any aspect of revenge, the element of punishment is all but absence for crimes committed by youth’s, focusing instead entirely on rehabilitation, re-socialization and second chances especially for someone his age.

    And in non of those countries would that boy spend any time in jail for these particular circumstances. As a matter of fact in the Scandinavian countries as well as in Germany it is unlikely an actual court trial would have taken place. This would have been handled by a “Jugendrichter” a youth-judge and youth advocates focusing on what the best way is to make sure both offender and victim are on their way to a productive life.

    Given the offenders young age, in many of those countries his full name and clearly visible photo wouldn’t be published to assure his future isn’t in danger. Many of the listed countries do not allow the general public to access sex offender databases to protect the privacy and lives of the offender – those databases are strictly for law enforcement. In Denmark this was reinforced by THE GREEN party and the Social Democrats a couple of years back when an attempt was made by the conservative fraction to emulate a US-like sex offenders registry. Why – because such a registry if publicly accessible would prevent offenders from ever re-entering society in a productive way. Don’t believe me…do your own research. You can do that even if you don’t speak any European language.

    So the next time you pseudo liberals get all euphoric when Sanders says the word “Denmark” or you lecture the country about how our penal system must be reformed to be more like that in Europe where the prisons are empty and its all about rehabilitation…..shove it….cause you can’t have it both ways. And before you piss your pants…I am not defending this boy by any means….I am calling out you hypocrites who lecture us on “Denmark and European Social Values” and then want that kid boy in prison for 20 years or worse. If that is how you feel you are diametrically opposed to everything social liberal countries like Denmark and most other European countries stand for.

  • Evan C.

    6 Months is too short of a time. Period.

    That said, the time should be spent rehabilitating. Not rotting.

  • Michael Irons

    I think the judge made a good judgement call. He took what he had before him into consideration and made his decision.

  • Frank Jackson

    This issue deserves the exposure it is getting. We would like you to please read and share our experiences when our under age child was raped, and authorities harassed our family in order to suppress all information: http://bit.ly/ourNZexperience

  • Shelley17

    I was so relieved to read this article after reading about this case and reading the entire Victim’s Statement. But then I was disheartened after reading many of the comments here. Having worked in the Criminal Justice System as a Prison Guard, a Parole and Probation Officer and finally, as a prison Counselor, I also understand that longer and more severe penalties does nothing to deter or prevent future crimes of the same nature. The length of sentence has NO CORRELATION to a person’s ability to stay crime free after release. If people want Justice, then look to his supervised release conditions. He will have them as part of Probation. They almost certainly require this man to attend and successfully complete a Sex Offender Treatment program. If he will ever “get it” and understand what, how and why he did this horrific act, it will be there. Prison does not stop rapists from being rapists. Therapy and treatment CAN, though there are no guarantees. Prison requires nothing (except staying alive) while Probation (with the jail sentence he got) will hold him accountable to actually accomplish those things that might turn this young man around. And YES, this is what I want for ALL people who commit all crimes. I want judges to give great thought to what they are doing to people’s lives when they send them to prison. I know that mandatory sentencing takes away this discretion. What we really, really want is for judges (and juries and the rest of the CJS) to think of all people as having the same or more value as this young man. That all young offenders, no matter what the crime, deserve to be seen as a whole person. And while I understand and even agree that this sentence was “comparatively” light, a more severe sentence would not have made any difference in this offender’s understanding of his crimes. In fact, it often leaves to a (genuine) feeling of being victimized which is not conducive to seeing their victim as the real victim. My heart goes out to the victim of this crime, and all crimes. But we need to re-examine our knee-jerk reaction to crime and look at alternatives to our horrific, in-humane prison system. And before anyone yells at me, I myself am a multiple sexual assault survivor. I know what it feels like to not get justice because no one who ever assaulted me went to jail. But if they had, my life would not have been any better.

    • Pogo

      I wish I could like your post about 15 times. Well said.

  • AmIJustAPessimistOrWhat?

    I would like to address this case not from the perspective of sentence given, but whether the procedure and logic followed to arrive at that sentence “makes sense”. If the procedure and logic followed do not make sense, then it follows that the sentence is questionable (from the point of view of “making sense”).

    The first point is that the victims statement to a probation officer for the (at the time) accused not to “rot in jail” in response to a question from said probation officer was used as one justification for the chosen sentence. But (from what I understand) this wish was expressed before the bulk of the trial when the victim was cast as a liar and subjected to invasive and insulting questioning intended to discredit her integrity. Ironically, it appears that even her humanitarian spirit (much like yours) which instinctively wanted to protect a fellow human being from rotting in jail, even though he had assaulted her, was used against her to weaken her case – claiming “the prosecutor made her change her mind about the accused’s guilt”. Of course her opinion changed after being subjected to this additional injury, yet this change was not reflected in the probation officers report, and the judge claimed he based his sentence on the probation officers report. Brock Turner himself must hold responsibility for how his lawyer chose to pursue the case, and the testimony which he gave discrediting the victim, said testimony which was rejected by the jury.

    The second point is that criminal (after guilt was confirmed by the jury) never admitted personal responsibility for his decision, only blaming a culture of drinking and promiscuity. Lack of such an admission is clear evidence he cannot reform. Moreover, if the judge did not explicitly somehow reprimand the criminal for his lack of a responsible admission of personal guilt, this case gives no signal to society the lack of a sense personal responsibility in this kind of crime carries any penalty.

    Thirdly there is other new evidence now (perjury by the criminal about his previous experience of drugs and drinking, and some evidence that he took a picture of the victims breast during the incident and broadcast it to a group of friends), which may not have been available at the time of trial, or were overlooked during the trial.

    Now I have to admit that I am neither a legal expert nor do I have proper access to all the facts. That is why I put “makes sense” in quotations, and didn’t say something like “legally correct”. Due to my ignorance of law and the facts, I would not sign a petition for the judges recall. Yet, I feel a review of the case might be in order, not because the sentence itself is necessarily wrong, but because the either the established procedures used in this case could be improved for the sake of future cases, or because the established procedures were not followed correctly in this case, or because new evidence needs to be accounted for.

    Separately, I completely agree that the penal system fails in many ways. I don’t think considering only average sentence length is sufficient for meaningful reform. Recent efforts to distinguish between violent crime and non-violent crime are certainly helpful.

    • msdamgoode

      Agreed…as well, the probation officer *should* have gotten an idea of what sort of time frame she meant, since the time length it takes to “rot in jail” is entirely subjective.

  • Carley Ranson

    When Rape Happens: A Path Through Trauma That Ends In Peace

    There’s a time when we must carry the weight of the righteous anger. We need the momentum of anger. We need the weight to burst through the current methods of punitive punishment. Anger equals action, however it may not always be righteous action.

    My understanding is if we carry weight too long it becomes unbearable. The weight becomes a barrier to progressive change. Frustration and suffering ensues. With heavy hearts and muted minds we become stuck.

    Stuck in dukkha. We turn away from pain and there it is. We bury the pain and it rots with in us. Necrosis consumes our bodily tissues.

    So we must dig up that which rots us. Let our pain and suffering breath.

    Pain must be witnessed and cradled in compassion. It is then when the weight no longer holds us. The walls we so meticulously constructed break down.

    Slowly light enters. Light which enables us to experience forgiveness. Forgiveness is not complacency. Forgiveness is freedom. Pain melts in its path.

    When our spirit returns we see with three eyes. It we can see through the eyes of another. We can know their pain, their suffering, their trauma.

    With this understanding it is possible to see why the violation took place. Trauma and pain not dealt with can turn a person savage and cruel.

    Now this is not justification for the horrendous acts committed. But it breaks our hearts open to start the process of healing.

    First our minds wrap around the fact that we all suffer. It processes the pain and then thinks the healing is done.

    But pain is also stored in the body. Trauma, is not, and can never be, fully healed until we address the role played by the body.

    Pain incomprehensible to the mind gets stored in the body. The aches and pains not dealt with eventually become diseases. Trauma infects the all systems.

    Tap into the innate wisdom of the body. It informs us of our innate capacity to heal.

    When we let the body do what it needs to there is an unwinding. This process is undeniably painful. Tears wash over our faces. We may shake uncontrollably. Just when it feels like to much. Something will shift.

    A release happens and the suffering, which felt endless has passed through.

    Trauma does not have to be a life’s sentence.

    “Trauma has the potential to be one of the most significant forces for psychological, social, spiritual awakening and evolution. How we choose to handle trauma (as individuals, communities, and societies) greatly influences the quality of our lives.” -Peter A. Levine

    When we choose to heal our trauma we are released from our anger, we find compassion in our hearts, which leads the way to forgiveness and freedom. The mind clears, the body releases, and we see with clarity.

    Look curiously at your suffering. Peace is possible.

  • Bud

    >It’s not going to help any of the black men, who, in the federal system, are given sentences that are nearly 20 percent longer than those imposed on white males for the same crimes, for Turner to get a harsher sentence.

    If we are going to use this logic, then we should feel sorry for all men treated disproportionately unfairly by our legal system compared to women.

    Men serve, on average, 63% longer sentences for equal crimes than women do. Women are twice as likely to avoid careration if convicted of a crime. (This gender gap is about 3 times as large as the racial disparity gap.) https://www.law.umich.edu/newsandinfo/features/Pages/starr_gender_disparities.aspx

  • HMarr

    You are seriously beyond warped in your thinking.

  • Trypno

    They just gave Corey Batey, a black man, 15 years of prison for the same crime. But no, lets not turn into proponents of prisons in cases of white boys

  • Chris R

    Used to be people only lynched black men for being accused of rape. Sure wish we’d have dropped the practice instead of expanding it to everyone else too. Well… Almost everyone else… Plenty of female sex offenders have seen less jail time than Mr. Turner without anyone batting an eye, and most of them preyed on children.