So you have presumably heard of the case of the young woman who attended a party, got drunk, blacked out, and was assaulted by a hitherto-squeaky-clean Stanford student, on the ground behind a dumpster (so romantic!).
She wrote and presented to the court a victim impact statement that has gone viral, as they say, outlining what happened, and stating some of the physical and emotional results of the assault, which will no doubt continue to affect her for the rest of her life.
The perpetrator’s father wrote a completely risible and tone-deaf letter to the court requesting leniency for his precious baby, saying that the son’s “20 minutes of action” with this woman have already had such terrible impacts on his life, including losing his swimming scholarship, that going to jail wouldn’t serve any purpose. It becomes apparent where the son learned his concepts of right and wrong, cause and effect, and appropriate behaviour.
They blame the victim for being so drunk she can’t remember what happened, or that (Brock Turner claims) she consented.
Setting aside the fact that the “consent” of a drunk person, if it was actually given, is invalid on its face, what kind of person thinks that it’s OK to have “20 minutes of action” on the ground behind a dumpster with a person who is drunk/passed out? (The witnesses who chased and captured Brock Turner at the time of the rape did so because the person he was lying on top of wasn’t moving in any way and appeared to have passed out.)
How does being drunk at the time you commit a crime make it OK, as his father seems to believe? if you have a car accident while driving drunk, do we consider that OK? If you were drunk when you stabbed someone who was drunk or passed out, would we just write it off and let you lecture highschool kids on the dangers of alcohol and say “Oh, that’s OK! you were drunk, it doesn’t count!”? how is that any different than committing three felony sexual assaults on someone who was drunk/passed out?
And then we get to the sentencing. Brock Turner was convicted of three felonies:
1. Assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated woman;
2. Sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object; and
3. Sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object.
The judge, Aaron Persky: “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him. I think he will not be a danger to others.”
The prosecutor recommended 6 years (that is, less than half of the maximum of 14) in state prison. The judge thought 6 months in county jail would be more appropriate. It seems that the severe impact of being raped pales in comparison to severe impacts on rapists, who we don’t, apparently, want to suffer too much. Brock Turner is apparently going to appeal his conviction, apparently agreeing with his dad that he shouldn’t have to face any consequences at all.
While I am the first person to agree that getting blackout drunk is a bad thing, and something one should strive to avoid for any number of reasons, I don’t in any way think that anyone who does so deserves any horrible thing that happens to them. The consequences of getting blackout drunk should probably include…having a horrible hangover, being ashamed, and working on exercising more self-control in future. They should not include being assaulted by some punk who thinks just because you’re drunk you agree to anything he cares to do to you. They should not include having to go through the physical examinations and probing. They should not include hours of police questioning. They should not include being blamed for what another human being decided to do to you while you were unable to verbally or physically defend yourself. They should not include the misery of a trial where the roles of “victim” and “assailant” are poorly defined. And they definitely should not include having your suffering and the violation of your person and your rights being considered immaterial to the judge gently sentencing your rapist.