Summer is officially over, but white privilege is not.
We all know that Brock Turner’s little slap-on-the-wrist punishment was less than fair, but what’s even more unsettling is that this sort of stuff happens all the time.
Joseph Presley, a 23 year-old babysitter charged for molesting a nine year-old boy on two accounts, was given a 30 day sentence and let off on 5 year probation. The reason being? He’s just a boy and a harsher sentence might be traumatizing to him. Hmmm, sounds familiar. It must be nice being male and white. The justice system is on your side!
My opinion is clear. Both men are just that. Men. Adults. Over 18 years of age. Legally responsible for their own actions. They should be held accountable for their crimes, not excused. And especially not because of their race and gender. Let’s draw a comparison here. Corey Bates, 19 year-old Vanderbilt football player, gets 15 years for raping an unconscious victim. Brock Turner, 19-year old Stanford swimmer, gets 6 months (let out in 3). Both are athletes. Both represent top-notch universities. Both are 19. Both have assaulted unconscious women while intoxicated. Both have been found guilty. So why the monstrous difference in sentence?
Bates is African American. Turner is white.
I’m not saying Bates should’ve gotten a lighter sentence. No. Rape should be taken seriously and it was in his case. Props to the judge. But that standard should not be lowered or flexed for other people. That’s not how equality works. Make Brock serve the time he deserves. It’s only fair.
And while we’re at it, let’s talk about gender inequality. Brock takes advantage of a girl, gets off easy, and when people complain, the girl he digitally penetrated gets the blame.
Don’t like getting raped? Don’t get drunk. Don’t party. Don’t pass out. Don’t be rape-able.
Should girls be careful not to drink too much? Yes. Should girls be cautious about their surroundings, especially in unfamiliar environments? Yes. Does that excuse rape? No.
Saying that rape is a victim’s fault excuses the predator. Blaming her by calling her a slut dismisses the problem at hand altogether. Yes, she should’ve been more careful, but in no way was being raped her fault. As the defendant reinstated many times, she was drunk and he was drunk and they were all drunk. Well, when someone is not sober, they cannot give consent. When someone is not conscious, they most definitely cannot give consent. Drunk sex is not consensual sex and drunk sex performed by one conscious person unto another unconscious person is even more so not consensual sex.
A woman’s body is not a toy readily available to satisfy your carnal desires. Can we start teaching that to young men, please? When a woman is so drunk that she passes out, you don’t have a quickie with her. You don’t touch her. You don’t take advantage of her. You don’t assume she’d be okay with it. You don’t rape her. You don’t turn around and blame alcohol and party culture for your actions. Until people start to learn to respect women, sexual assault will not end. I can’t stress it enough.
But we haven’t even gotten to the gist of it yet: instead of talking about Brock and Joseph and the broken justice system that sympathizes with white men, everyone is buzzing about Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the national anthem.
Whether or not I agree with Kaepernick’s decision has nothing to do with the fact that he’s not what we should be concerned with, as a society. Personally, I think sitting during the national anthem was unnecessary, but definitely not worth the buzz and coverage it’s garnered. I’m glad he’s recently clarified he’s not un-American or anti-military and that he’s donating $1 million to underprivileged African Americans to try and get a grip on the whole fiasco, but can I just say that that is not the issue here? Even if a football player is mad about societal inequity, it’s not that big of a deal compared to other current events, especially ones involving elements of injustice that have been going on for years.
We can blame the media for covering the less significant, but talk is also generated by people. We’re the ones who are debating about whether or not he is patriotic. Policemen are threatening to boycott 49er games until some punishment is inflicted upon Kaepernick. Hello? You’re willing to let a stadium full of innocent people go unguarded because of one man’s (completely legal) action, or rather lack of action. You’re fueling more talk, more controversy, and more contention over Kaepernick’s sitting when it really just isn’t that important.
Let’s talk about the real issues. Let’s debate the real problems. Because I don’t want to identify with a justice system that sympathizes with sex offenders, but I also don’t want to be identify with a society that ignores it for lesser matters.
If you want to read more about some of the topics I mentioned in this short article, here are a few links. I suggest you also look at other sources, just to get a more rounded view.