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.