Let’s be clear about a few things, shall we? Rape isn’t sexual promiscuity. It’s an act of violence. A consensual sexual relationship requires…I’m betting you know this one…yes, that’s right, it requires consent! If an individual does not give consent, or for any reason is incapable of giving consent, then any sexual acts performed with or upon that person are rape. There is no such thing as a ten-year-old who “wanted it.” An adult who engages in sexual intercourse with a ten-year-old is committing rape. End of discussion. A young woman who is drunk and incoherent is incapable of giving consent. It is not illegal to be drunk. It might not be a wise decision to get drunk, but it is not illegal. It IS illegal to rape a woman who is drunk. And her being drunk is not a mitigating circumstance. Rather, one might consider that others have a duty of care for those who are incapacitated.
Brock Turner raped a young woman who was drunk. He tried to say that it was consensual. A jury saw through that and convicted him. A jury didn’t care that he was a star athlete at Stanford University (although the press seemed to think that this was relevant when they first reported the rape. Were the reporters expecting that rapists, like the villains in Dick Tracy, are all career criminals who “look the part?”).
Once Turner was convicted, he cried his crocodile tears and said that he regretted his actions. He said that he wanted to do good work and teach about the dangers of alcohol. Alcohol didn’t make Turner into a rapist. He was already a rapist when he went out that night. He just hadn’t had the opportunity before. Oh, to be sure, alcohol works as a disinhibitor. But plenty of people have been drunk and haven’t committed crimes. Plenty of people have had too much to drink and then didn’t get behind the wheel of a car. Plenty of people have had too much to drink and then didn’t kill anyone. Plenty of people have had too much to drink and then didn’t rape anyone. Alcohol didn’t rape the young woman. Brock Turner did.
Dan Turner, Brock’s father, wrote a letter to the judge, detailing all the reasons that his highly privileged son, who has been given everything in life, shouldn’t spend time in prison for his violent crime of raping another human being. In the letter, Dan Turner makes his son out to be the victim! He talks about how depressed his son has been, yet he never once mentions the life-altering effect his sons actions have had on his victim. He says, “This is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action…” and then goes on to say that Brock could do so much good by educating other about the consequences of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity. Sexual promiscuity?
There are people who are sexually promiscuous who have never ever raped anyone. Brock Turner’s issue isn’t sexual promiscuity. It’s that he’s a rapist. And until he and his father recognize that, they will never be any good to anyone. This is what rape culture does.
Brock Turner learned that he had the privilege of raping women somewhere. I suspect he learned it from his father, who seems to think that his son is the victim in all this, and that he made a mistake related to alcohol and sexual promiscuity. This is the very embodiment of white male privilege. It’s not about the devastating effects on the actual victim, it’s about how it’s ruined this promising young man’s future. Please! Spare me!
But this is what happens when we continue to promote a culture of rape in our society. So let’s be clear — Bathsheba didn’t seduce King David. King David raped Bathsheba. Brock Turner didn’t make a 20-minute mistake. He’s a rapist. He deserves to be treated as the criminal he is. No one ruined his life but he.
A judge sentenced Brock Turner to six months in the county jail and probation. The judge thought prison might be unpleasant for poor, sensitive, Brock Turner. Funny, but I thought the point of prison was that it was supposed to be unpleasant. It’s punishment. For serious crimes. I guess that the crushing sentence that Brock imposed upon his victim doesn’t count. This is how rape culture plays out. This is why only 3 out of 100 rapists ever see any prison time, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.
I’m a pastor. I believe in universal salvation. I do believe there’s hope for everyone. But I don’t believe in cheap Grace. Until Brock Turner, Dan Turner, and the judge can admit their grievous sins, they will be like the rich man who, in death, still sees Lazarus as a servant. They will never have peace. Perhaps the rest of us aren’t so thick.
That’s my mite. That’s all I’ve got.
Update: Under pressure, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office has finally released Brock Turner’s mugshot. Today. A year after the fact. Note well in the article on Jezebel that mugshots are often released right away. When the suspect is black.