Brock Turner is not just a frat boy issue, it’s a men everywhere issue

Brock Turner
Brock Turner

(Updated with mugshot of Turner which was released by police after requests from the media)

It’s hard to fathom how a 20-year-old convicted of taking an unconscious girl behind a bin before sexually assaulting her can only be subject to a six month sentence.

But the most worrying thing about the Stanford student’s case is Brock Turner’s and his father’s insistence this case was about drink culture and promiscuity.

In remarks made to the court before sentence, both Turner and his dad insisted he shouldn’t be sent to prison.

His father described such a step for “20 minutes of action” as unnecessary and that his son would be more use educating other students about drinking and promiscuity.

It has to be remembered what that “20 minutes of action” involved.

At a college party in January 2015 Turner was spotted behind a bin, seemingly gyrating against a motionless body.

That body was a fellow party-goer, barely conscious, unaware of what was being done to her.

Confronted by two other students, Turner ran but was apprehended.

His victim only became aware of the extent of what had happened as she was subjected to a string of medical examinations.

Her underwear had been removed and she had been assaulted with a foreign object and Turner’s fingers.

We can’t know what else might have happened had he not been interrupted.

You could, and should, read his victim’s account of this incident and what followed here.

Turner insisted the girl, 19, consented, that both had drunk too much but ultimately he had done nothing wrong.

And that’s what makes his educational aspirations so chilling.

Because if he still insists, as he does, that he is innocent, then his warnings about drink and promiscuity must be a warning to other men; ‘don’t get trapped by drunk and promiscuous women or else you’ll become a victim like me’.

How else can his position be interpreted based on what he and his father have said about these crimes?

Since his sentencing last week and the publication of his victim’s impact statement, discussion has centred around rape culture on college campuses.

But that belies the problem.

Last week at Birmingham Crown Court I covered a case which was picked up widely in the press.

Picture from West Midlands Police; l-r Zaheer Abbas and Sajad Hussain
Picture from West Midlands Police; l-r Zaheer Abbas and Sajad Hussain

The case involved a 19-year-old woman, removed from Snobs nightclub after collapsing, drunk inside.

Once outside she was lured into a van where she was abducted, driven to an industrial estate and raped by Zaheer Abbas, 30.

Co-defendant Sajad Hussain, 35, was acquitted of rape but convicted of sexually assaulting the teen in the back of the van.

Both men claimed their victim had consented and been a willing participant despite CCTV evidence showing she could hardly stand.

Even as he was sentenced Hussain denied doing anything wrong and he was sorry he hadn’t got out of the van sooner.

Think about that.

He’s not sorry a young woman was horrifically raped and if he could do things again he would get out of the van and leave her to be raped by his mate.

Perhaps they will set up classes in prison warning fellow inmates about drinking culture and promiscuity?

Of course both of these cases have nothing to do with drinking culture and nothing to do with promiscuity.

Promiscuity suggests a choice to have a lot of sex, and if that floats your boat, go for it.

But neither of these girls had a choice, they weren’t capable of choosing.

Whether that was down to consumption of alcohol or anything else is utterly irrelevant.

What Brock Turner and Abbas and Hussain have in common is they didn’t give a solitary shit about consent. They knew what they wanted and they just took it with no regard for their victims.

This is not an issue about college campuses, frat boys or drinking too much. It’s about men everywhere understanding the meaning of consent.

It’s about recognition that an absence of refusal isn’t a free pass to do what they want.

If a woman, or man for that matter, is unable to say yes or no, that is not tacit consent, it’s a massive no no.

The fact it’s 2016 and we still have to say these things is utterly depressing.

The fact Brock Turner’s parents still insist their son is a victim is also utterly depressing because it’s from parents these lessons should imparted.

Turner’s continued denials and insistence this case is about drinking and promiscuity should have been aggravating factors come sentencing.

His punishment should have been increased to hammer the message home about how wrong his actions were and how seriously they are taken.

Instead he will be home by Christmas and back with a family who for the rest of his life will reinforce his idea that he is the victim here.

It is for parents, and teachers, to inform children as they enter adolescence about consent, where the line is drawn and the damage caused by crossing it.

It’s not hard to see why Turner thought it was fine to take a comatose girl behind a bin and use her as a plaything when his primary role models see nothing wrong in what he did.

It can only be hoped his victim’s powerful statement resonates more than his denials to inform, not only frat boys, but men everywhere.

And until Brock Turner can stand up and say this is about consent, and sexual assault and rape, not drinking and promiscuity, he should have no voice at all.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s