On June 2, a jury found Brock Turner guilty of multiple charges of sexual assault after having been interrupted and stopped mid-act by two Swedish students at Stanford University. The victim was unconscious at the time of the assault due to being intoxicated with alcohol. It was an open and shut case, and no one was surprised at the conviction. (Read the victim’s statement here.)
What was surprising was the sentence: 6 months of prison time out of a possible 10 years.
Today it was reported that the assailant’s father wrote the court saying that his son should not have to go to jail for “20 minutes of action”.
Wow. That sound you hear is a million women’s heads exploding. WTF?!
As a trauma therapist I am beyond appalled. I feel traumatized by this sentence, and I wasn’t even involved in the case.
The message is clear. Women’s trauma doesn’t count for much. White male privilege does. Because, and let’s be totally clear about his, if the assailant had been a black man, they would have thrown the book at him.
I cannot fathom the additional amount of trauma the victim must be feeling, especially since her attacker was found guilty. The message sent by the judge is traumatizing. Maybe more traumatizing than the original event. The message sent by the father is psychopathic (Read the father’s statement here.)
We have a lot of work to do folks. Educating people about trauma, about PTSD, about basic human decency and about equality of rights and protection under the law.
None of us are safe until justice is served. We need to acknowledge that many men, and many men in power, like the judge who sentenced this young man, either do not get it or do not care. They will continue to dominate and traumatize until we take away their privilege.
Here is my call to arms: WRITE. VOTE. DEMONSTRATE. DEMAND EQUALITY. DEMAND JUSTICE.
Our justice system is very primitive. We can do better. We must, on behalf of this and all the other victims who end up further victimized by rape culture’s version of justice. If you want to contact the judge you can get the information here.