We All Know You Did It Brock Allen Turner: More Than Just Rape
We All Know You Did It Brock Allen Turner
People v. Turner is more than a rape case, it's a picture being painted of what is wrong with our society
I've never been one to fully keep up with a court case, especially not one that concerns the rape of someone on a college campus. Against all odds, I became interested in the People v. Turner rape case. People v. Turner convicted Brock Allen Turner of three counts of sexual assault. The rape in question took place on the Stanford college campus in January 2016. For some reason, this case has grown to be much larger than any rape case reported in the media as of late. Most news outlets would rather talk about a current sex offense than rehash what happened eight months ago and then go into the post sentence details. The People v. Turner case has turned into a phenomenon. This specific sexual assault has been treated differently than most court cases, and why should it be? Unfortunately, in the first moments of the assault being reported, the media made some mistakes that drastically shifted America's view on the accused Brock Turner.
For those not familiar with all of the intricate details of the sexual assault, here's the basic story. Brock Turner was seen by two bicyclists on top of a young woman who was unresponsive late at night last January. When bicyclists called out to Turner, he ran. One of the bicyclists later told authorities that he saw the man "aggressively thrusting his hips into her".
|The photo used by the media|
When the media began to report the accused rape, they used phrases such as "baby-faced", "promising", and "all-american swimmer" to describe Brock Turner. They reported on the case while accompanied by smiling yearbook photo of Brock Turner. America got acquainted with Mr. Turner, a freshman at Stanford with "Olympic potential". It wasn't until June that the news outlets even showed Turner's mug shot. Why was this assault being reported as Turner's "fall from grace"? Why wasn't Brock Turner being treated the way every other accused rapist is treated? The victim of the assault said this in her letter to Turner which was read in front of the court, "How fast Brock swims does not lessen the severity of what happened to me, and should not lessen the severity of his punishment... The fact that Brock was an athlete at a private university should not be seen as an entitlement to leniency, but as an opportunity to send a message that sexual assault is against the law regardless of social class."
Just like every court case, new evidence arises at a snail's pace. The night of the assault police saw message notifications for the GroupMe messaging app on Turner's phone. One message said "WHO'S TITS ARE THOSE". The boys on the app seemed to have been sending tit pics to each other throughout the night but when authorities went into the app, the photo sent by Turner had been deleted by a member of the group.
Meanwhile, the victim, a 23 year old unconscious woman, had been found behind the dumpster and was taken to a hospital. She had been found with her underwear missing, the skirt of her dress pulled up, and her breasts were exposed. In her eleven page letter to Turner, she wrote "...I was in a gurney in a hallway. I had dried blood and bandages on the backs of my hands and elbow. I thought maybe I had fallen and was in an admin office on campus...A deputy explained I had been assaulted. I still remained calm, assured he was speaking to the wrong person. I knew no one at this party. When I was finally allowed to use the restroom, I pulled down the hospital pants they had given me, went to pull down my underwear, and felt nothing. I still remember the feeling of my hands touching my skin and grabbing nothing. I looked down and there was nothing. The thin piece of fabric, the only thing between my vagina and anything else, was missing and everything inside me was silenced."
America watched as they were updated on details from the case. I remember hearing about the assault for the first time. I remember thinking surely this kid is just getting black mailed by a crazy ex-girlfriend. Poor kid, this could ruin his life. The media has so much power to change the way people perceive a story. The problem with the People v. Turner case is that the news stations took a side. They defended Turner from the get go.
The Stanford women's swim team was pressured to not speak out about Brock Turner. The ladies planned to write a letter to the judge to inform him of his creepy behavior in the pool. One woman told InTouch magazine that "Brock's arrest wasn't surprising to anyone on the team. From the beginning, the women swimmers had found him to be very, very odd. Brock would make comments to the women such as 'I can see your t--s in that swimsuit'." Another woman said that she would never let herself be alone with Brock Turner after seeing how he behaved while drunk at a party.
Brock Turner was found guilty by every member of three juries to hear his case. Based on the severity of his actions, Brock should have been sentenced fourteen years in prison. Instead he was given six months. Even still, Brock Turner's parents and friends wrote letters to the judge painting a picture of the Brock they know and love in the judge's mind.
|An excerpt from Dan Turner's letter to the judge|
"Brock is not a monster," writes a female friend of Brock from high school.
"He is the furthest thing from anything like that, and I have known him longer than any of the people involved in his case. I don't think it's fair to base the fate of the next ten + years of his life on the decisions of a girl who doesn't remember anything but the amount she drank to press charges against him. I am not blaming her directly for this, because that isn't right. But where do we draw the line and stop worrying about being politically correct every second of the day and see that rape on campuses isn't always because people are rapists. It is because these universities market themselves as the biggest party schools in the country. They encourage drinking... [Y]ou are throwing barely 20-somethings into these camp-like university environments, supporting partying, and then your mind is blown when things get out of hand."
The victim also had something to say about alcohol consumption,
"Alcohol is not an excuse. Is it a factor? Yes. But alcohol was not the one who stripped me, fingered me, had my head dragging against the ground, with me almost fully naked. Having too much to drink was an amateur mistake that I admit to, but it was not criminal...We were both drunk, the difference is I did not take off your pants and underwear, touch you inappropriately, and run away. That's the difference."
Under California law, Brock Turner is not a rapist. Rape (in California) is defined as "non-consensual sexual intercourse that is committed by physical force, threat of injury, or other duress." The only reason that Brock is not a convicted rapist is because he didn't assault his victim with his penis. He used foreign objects and his hands.
Overall, Brock Turner is a rapist, just not by definition. He is a sexual predator before a swimmer. In response to the letter written by Brock's friend from high school, I must say that no matter how much of an angel the person was before the assault it doesn't mean he didn't assault someone. It doesn't mean that he wasn't capable of assaulting someone. He still did it. We all know he did it. Brock Turner did confess to fingering the victim although he claimed that she gave consent. The victim was black out drunk and couldn't speak but he claims she gave consent.
Brock Turner served three months of his six month term in prison. He will be released this week on account of good behavior. There is a petition to fire the judge who sentenced Turner. This is such a pitiful series of events. On Monday California passed stricter sexual assault laws to prevent more 6 month sentences for sexual predators. I'm going to leave you with Channing Tatum's thoughts on the Brock Turner case:
"I just couldn't believe it. That is like if you killed someone, if you got caught red-handed murdering someone, and then just because you went to a nice school and you were a good swimmer, you somehow get a lesser sentence than what you would've for cold-blooded murder. I mean, that just doesn't make any sense."
Information from Teen Vogue, LA Times, New York Post, Huffington Post, Rollingstone, Buzzfeed, Thought Catalog, and Daily Mail