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.