As a widely described pessimistic cynical person, it is hard to find something that lowers my already unimaginably low view on society. Brock Turner and his trial found a way.
I have heard rumblings and opinions about the Brock Turner (former Stanford collegiate swimmer) rape case that would have probably never been brought to my attention without the sports connection. One of the few friends that I haven’t unfollowed on facebook posted a blurb about the story. A few google searches lead to the sobering realization of how awful people can be and how corrupt the criminal justice system remains to be.
As someone who spends an unhealthy amount of time immobile in front of a computer I do a lot of google searching and Wikipedia gazing to read anything that will dull the pain of boredom. There are times when I am reading something so horrifying that my body goes still and I lose sense of everything around me. Music is playing through ear buds in my ears, the constant traffic of people is still walking by my cube, but I don’t sense them. I have tunnel vision reading my dimly lit screen, the only movement is my eyes scanning the words and my finger on the mouse scrolling down to consume more appalling details. This is one of those times.
Brock Turner raped an unconscious girl behind a dumpster.
Turner was seen and caught by a couple of bikers after he tried to flee. He pleaded not guilty, changed his story to the act being consensual, and hired expensive attorneys to defend him in trial. This led to him losing his scholarship, being kicked out of school, and sputtering transparent lies that even if true, do not eliminate his guilt. A gut wrenching 7000 word response written by the victim and a letter written by Turners father defending his son are impossible to read without feeling depressed and angry.
All of that is hard enough to absorb but after finding out that Turner only received a 6 month jail sentence makes it nearly unbearable. A white privileged swimmer attending a private college was only sentenced to 6 months in jail after 12 jurors found him guilty of raping an unconscious girl. Turners father explained in a letter to the judge that Turner is having a hard time dealing with the situation. He writes that Turner isn’t eating his favorite foods like steak, and that he is a victim of the college drinking culture and the sexual promiscuity that comes with it. According to his father, the rape victim was assaulted because Turner drank too much alcohol at his frat party, not because Turner wanted to get laid.
There are so many aspects of this story that make it infuriating to live in a country where this happens. Sexism, economic inequality, sexual assault laws, all put together in one tragic event that expose most of what is wrong with American society. Women are second class citizens, sexual assaults against women are under criminalized, and rich white people have an opportunity to use their inherited advantages to convey an image and defense that results in a lenient sentence.
People in this country (mostly minorities) serve longer sentences for consuming drugs. A man of color is serving years in prison for ingesting illegal substances (a victimless crime) while Brock Turner is just a few days into his 6 month jail sentence for raping a vulnerable unconscious girl.
Brock Turner lost his ability to swim at the collegiate level, his victim lost her old independent self, and I have lost my remaining faith in humanity.