Rape on Campus: Protecting the Alma Mater

Stop rape

 

Last week, my eighteen-year-old niece graduated from high school.

She is brilliant, and lovely, and vibrant. In the fall, she will be headed to a university.

Where she will stand a one-in-five chance of being raped.

Today, news broke that Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts – a leading institution in sciences and engineering – crafted a legal defense against a lawsuit from a rape victim which was built around blaming the victim. It then went on to say it wasn’t blaming the victim, in a bizarre form of double-speak.

Let us be clear: no victim is ever culpable in their own rape. Ever.

A convertible parked on the street with the top down does not give me license to hop in and drive away. A handgun left out on a counter does not give me license to pick it up and fire it. Just because a house is flammable does not give you license to burn it down. There is not mitigation of the crimes of grand theft or murder or arson because of the makeup or behavior of the property owner. So why in the world should there be mitigation of rape for the same reasons?

After her assault, a woman I love dearly was asked “What were you wearing? Had you been drinking? Why were you at his place?” I share this with her permission, but it is, as she says “the standard shame and blame line for us girls who were asking for it.”

Let that sink in for a second. She was the victim. NONE of those questions were relevant to the assault. She could have been bombed, completely naked, and in his apartment for an orgy, and unless she enthusiastically gave her consent for the attacker to touch her, IT DOES NOT MATTER.

She is not alone. This is what cold-diarrhea Brock Turner, rapist’s victim had to face in court.

And this is what WPI’s Jane Doe – who was raped by a security guard that was supposed to be PROTECTING her – had to face at the hands of her college. And worse, she is not alone.  There are too many stories to recount about colleges participating in victim blaming in order to protect the old alma mater, but here are just a few, quoted from this Washington Post article:

Sasha Menu Courey, the University of Missouri swimmer, told a nurse, a rape crisis counselor, a campus therapist, two doctors and an athletic department administrator that she was raped, but no one did anything about it. Sixteen months after the attack, she killed herself.

 

At a preliminary hearing known as an Article 32, the [United States Naval Academy] midshipman [who was assaulted] was subjected to days of hostile cross-examination by defense attorneys who asked what kind of underwear she had on and how wide she opens her mouth during oral sex.

 

And at Patrick Henry College [a dry, Christian campus], the [assaulted] women were questioned about what they were wearing and whether they were flirting. One victim was assigned to read a self-help book on modesty. She was told by a college official to delete the e-mails, calls and texts from a young man who apologized for an assault after she asked about calling the police. The dean asked her to trust God, instead.

This happens over and over again, at campus after campus.

In fact, in one report, FIFTY-FOUR percent of college athletes admitted raping their partners. 54%. That’s half of every team. It’s the infield minus the catcher.

You know someone – more than one someone – who is a rapist.

And so do the colleges.

So yes, we should be blaming poor, unable-to-eat-ribeye Brock Turner, convicted rapist. We should be blaming the judge who coddled him, the parents who did not raise him not to rape, the society which teaches girls how to avoid being raped instead of boys to avoid raping.

But we must also blame Stanford, the school with the long history of not doing enough to prevent sexual assault, or to protect victims and punish rapists when it does happen. And the entire university system in this nation, which is in the same rapey boat.

My niece, and the millions of other women in our universities deserve and need better – and urgently.

Be a Swede

This is anthropomorphic dogshit Brock Turner's rapey mugshot.

This is anthropomorphic dogshit Brock Turner’s rapey mugshot.

 

I’m going to be continuing this week on the issue of Brock Turner, rapist.

Because it’s not just about the felon Brock Turner, convicted rapist. There is a whole lot of fault in this story, and a few people who got it right. And it plays out the same way around the country – and around the world – over and over again.

Before we begin, I again admonish you to go and read anal polyp Brock Turner’s victim’s powerful and moving victim impact statement she made to the court before sentencing.  As always, what she has to say matters more than what I or what anyone who has not been in her position has to say. Read. Her. Words.

As we are almost completely the perpetrators of rape (not to minimize the impact of men and boys who have been raped by women, but rather the frequency), much of this post is meant for men. This is a post about choices, and rape inherently removes the option of choice from its victim. Nobody chooses to be raped. It is an act of force, it is by its very nature a denial of sentience, of consent.

As men, we have choices.

In this, we can be  sewer-pus Brock Turner, rapist, we can be his father Dan Turner, the enabler, we can be Judge Aaron Persky, the excuser, or we can be the Swedes, who did the right thing.

Be the Swedes.

Shoe full of vomit Brock Turner is a rapist, and a predator. He got drunk, and then after trying to kiss several women at a party and being rejected (including the rape victim’s own sister), he found the drunkest woman there, and targeted her.

Allow us to be clear – the victim being drunk is not a justification of her rape. It did not enable her participation. In fact, it removed her ability to consent. As she says in her statement, she was the “sick antelope.” Predator Brock Turner was the rapey lion. He saw her, and he saw an opportunity – not to do the right thing, not to make sure she was safe, but to impose his shitty little will on her. They were walking together. The victim fell down because she was drunk. And he raped her.

At trial, rather than blame himself, he blamed alcohol consumption – both his and hers.

That’s what a Brock does. Don’t be a Brock – the whole goddamned world hates skid-mark Brock.

Then there’s Dan. Dan Turner is Brock’s father. It’s natural to want to protect your children – but part of protecting your children is arming them in the first fucking place with the tools to not listen to their howling scrotum, and instead listen to the women with whom they would like to sleep. Dan never did that, clearly. Instead, after cow-farm runoff Brock committed a rape, he went all-out. He paid for an expensive lawyer and private investigator to turn the victim’s life inside out. He made sure that she was dragged through the mud, making sure she was painted as a drunken slut who ruined his sweet-but-intoxicated little Brock Dogshit Turner. Instead of saying “What the fuck, Brock, you vile little mistake,” he said “we’re going to fix this. Go start talking to high school kids about drinking and sexual promiscuity. Drinking is the problem. You are not a rapist.”

And then, after worse-than-Kim-Jong-Il Brock Turner was convicted on three counts of being a goddamned rapist, Dan had the temerity to send a letter to the judge claiming that his genetically and socially fucking deficient ejaculation Brock had never been violent – EVEN ON THE NIGHT OF THE RAPE HE WAS CONVICTED OF COMMITTING.

Don’t be a Dan. Dan’s an asshole, and he makes crusty-undies Brocks.

Then there’s Judge Aaron Persky. Elected (for now) Judge Persky, who was himself once an elite athlete at Stanford, where ingrown-backhair Brock Turner was also once an elite athlete, sentenced the thrice convicted rapist to six months in the county jail. For a crime with a minimum sentence of a year in prison in California. In doing so, he lamented catch-rag Brock’s loss of a scholarship, noted his intoxication as a mitigating factor, and stated that prison would have a “severe impact” on brimstone-smelling Brock.

Isn’t that the goddamned point?

Don’t be a Judge Persky. He creates more victims and makes it harder for the women who have been victimized to come forward and prosecute their cases.

And then there are the Swedes.

Bicycling by the scene of the crimes, Swedish graduate students noticed a man running away from a woman who was undressed and unresponsive. They chased what we now know to be legitimate-fucking-rapist Brock Turner down, tackled his raping ass, held him until help arrived for his victim and the police arrived for him.

They saw something was not right. They acted to prevent it from continuing. And they helped the victim.

Be a Swede, fellas. Be a Swede.

I wish there had been a Swede inside that party. One who saw that she was in no state to consent, and hung out to prevent her rape from happening. I wish there had been one dude who saw her and said “she’s not safe. Let me make sure she stays ok.” If there had been a Swede, maybe we would never have learned of worst-person-in-America Brock Turner, rapist. Or his enabling father, Dan. Or his wrist-slapping judge Aaron Persky.

Maybe there never would have been a victim, raped behind a dumpster, and left for some Swedes to rescue.

Be a Swede, fellas. Please. Be a Swede.

Brock Turner: Rape, Privilege, And The Failure of the Justice System

I’m angry, friends.

In fact, angry doesn’t cut it. A smarter, cooler, more collected person than I might know the words, but I’m the tea-kettle in the second before the whistle. I’m the detonator in the flip between 0:01 and 0:00. And you should be too.

“You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today.”

With that, Brock Turner’s victim began perhaps the most powerful statement on rape I’ve ever read.

Right before she was victimized again by the justice system.

Before you read any more of this, go. Go and read her statement. What she has to say matters so much more than what I, or what anyone else who has not been in that situation has to say. I’ll be here after when you can breathe again. But read it. Now.

If you haven’t yet read it, don’t bother reading on. Her story matters more than mine, and if you haven’t read hers – all of it, fuck tl;dr mentality – you don’t deserve the rest. I’m pretty fucking serious. Read. Her. Words.

Just after making that statement, after telling her rapist (and let’s make no mistake – no matter what the implement of penetration was, this was rape) in full view and hearing of the court that the probation officer’s request for a year in jail was insufficient punishment for three felony convictions, the judge sentenced Brock Turner (an asshole name if ever there was one) to six months in the county jail and probation.

Six. Months.

Three felonies.

Forcible. Rape.

Mother. Fucker.

If you don’t believe in male privilege, readers, there’s your proof.

Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky was once an elite athlete at Stanford. So was Brock Turner.

In issuing this “sentence,” Persky cited mitigating factors, including the attackers intoxication. He gave him a pass, because he was drunk. He also cited the loss of his swimming scholarship, and concluded “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him … I think he will not be a danger to others.”

Unless he gets drunk, apparently, but then it’s ok.

Mother. Fucker.

The loss of a scholarship one has to earn? Boo fucking hoo. This was a man born to privilege, an athlete who expected special treatment, a man-child who saw a woman unable to consent and pounced.

A rapist.

And we say “but she was drunk.” If that’s what you think, if you think that she was drunk and therefore was party to her own rape, kindly never speak to me again. And keep your goddamned sons away from my daughter, because you’re enabling them as rapists. You are part of the problem.

We don’t need to teach our daughters not to drink at parties. We need to teach our sons not to be goddamned Brock Turner. That, as the victim said:

According to him, the only reason we were on the ground was because I fell down. Note; if a girl falls down help her get back up. If she is too drunk to even walk and falls down, do not mount her, hump her, take off her underwear, and insert your hand inside her vagina. If a girl falls down help her up. If she is wearing a cardigan over her dress don’t take it off so that you can touch her breasts.

 

My daughter’s eighth grade health classes this year have been about sex. Last week, I asked her if the word “consent” had ever come up in those classes. She said “I think we’re talking about that tomorrow.” We talked about it right then – that she is the only person in control of her body. That she is the only person who can give permission for anyone to touch her, and that she can always revoke that permission. And I taught her how to hurt – permanently – anyone who was trying to violate that consent. That’s what we need to teach our daughters – that their consent is inviolable, that there are consequences for violating that consent, and that they are powerful enough to immediately impose those consequences.

We do not need to teach them that their rapists will lose a scholarship, but that a prison sentence is too severe a punishment.

Six months in county jail.

In California, the minimum sentence for felony forcible rape is a year in prison.

He was convicted of three felonies.

Six months in county.

Mother. Fucker.

 

Rapist Brock Turner

The rapist in court.

Dads, Daughters, and Dating

Dad of A Long Long Decade Ago

 

I am not the father who will have the shotgun prominently displayed when the first boy shows up to take my daughter out.

In fact, I think that macho posturing is reprehensible. She does not owe me her chastity; I am not the owner of her “virtue.” You will not find me posing in pictures with her date, saying “anything you do to her, I get to do to you.”  You will not find me wearing those disgusting “10 Rules for Dating My Daughter” tee shirts. You sure as hell will not find me at a “purity” ball, where my daughter pledges her virginity to me until her marriage. Does it even get creepier than that? Also, where the hell do we get off saying that virginity is “virtuous,” and “pure,” but only force it on our daughters?

No, instead, you’ll find me teaching my daughter to respect herself, hopefully helping her in making good decisions about the people she wants in her life in any capacity. You’ll find me consoling her when she gets it wrong, and cheering her on when she strives to get it right. You’ll find me giving her honest information, no matter how uncomfortable it may be for either of us. And hopefully, you’ll find her choosing to date people who respect her, who will treat her gently and kindly-and not because they are afraid of me, but because they are the kind of people who treat others gently and kindly. You’ll find me teaching her that she is the only person who makes rules regarding her body (unless, alas, the GOP wins the presidency. Those old white dudes seem pretty into making rules for women’s bodies).

It’s not for me to scare your boys, it’s for you to raise them right.

I say all that because the following anecdote may seem contrary, and I didn’t want to give the wrong impression on where I stand on the matter.

A few years ago, the kiddo had a little crush on a boy in school. Totally benign, the way crushes between fifth graders have been and always will be. She was probably ten years old at this point and we had already started discussions about her bodily autonomy and whatnot, so she knew the following was all in good humor. Also the kid she liked (and she would be very clear in saying today that she has no crushes other than Adam Levine) was then and remains a kind, sweet, smart boy who shall remain entirely anonymous.

Regardless, this boy’s mother happens to be an attractive woman who may or may not be a single parent. I never got to know her well enough to say more than “hello,” and pass some small talk when hanging around in the pick-up lines or what have you – but I’d be lying if I said I had never entertained the possibility of her being single. And so, one day, the kiddo and I had a conversation which went something like this:

“[REDACTED] did this funny thing in school today.”

“Oh really? You and [REDACTED] sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!” I am the paragon of maturity.

“Dad! Stop,” she admonished, blushing and likely developing a deep-seated resentment.

“Ok. Sorry. Did you know his mom is single?” You know. She *might* have been single.

“Ummmm…”

“So. You could date [REDACTED] and I could date his mom! It would be so much fun!”

“Ummmm…”

“Seriously. We could all go out to dinner together. You know. Double date.”

At this she sighed, hung her head, and walked down the hallway to her room. Upon reaching her door, she looked up with hang-dog eyes.

“Dad. I’m a single lady,” she said, sighed again, and closed her door.

At the tender age of ten, I had cracked the dad-daughter dating code. I would date the mothers.

And thus, another step on the long march to king of all fathers was taken.