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By Tammi Pitzen, Executive Director of the Children’s Advocacy Center

I am angry.  I am disappointed.  I am disheartened.  I pay very close attention to the outcomes in rape cases across the country, especially those that are deemed “news worthy” as they tend to be a gauge of what we as a society think about sexual assault and sexual abuse.

If you follow this blog at all (I am so thankful you do) you know that I have spent many years of my life trying to help victims find their voice…trying to coax them out of the shadows so that they can know there is nothing to feel shameful about, that it was not their fault.

Yesterday I read all the news stories about the young swimmer Brock Turner.  I am appalled.  We are living in the Stone Age—as in we are still throwing stones at victims.

I am not going to rehash the whole story.  Please google Brock Turner.  What comes up near the top is a picture of a fresh faced young man smiling, not a mug shot.  This man was found guilty of sexually assaulted a young woman.  Not only did he assault her, she was unconscious when he did it and there were two witnesses AND it was done outside on a college campus.

After he was found guilty, his father wrote a statement to the court bemoaning how his son had lost his appetite and happy-go-lucky life after the verdict.  The Judge gave him six months in jail because he did not deem him a threat to anyone and because he bought into the victim stance grandstanding performed by the father. 

I have to say I almost lost my mind reading these stories yesterday.  The father had the audacity to say that “20 minutes of action” in 20 years of life as a demonstration of how his son’s life was changed.  He blamed alcohol and wants his son to use his experience to educate college students on how drinking in excess can damage your life.

If your child’s college brings this man to your child’s college, I urge you to recognize how dangerous he is and to dis-enroll your child if they follow through with having him there.  He is a rapist.  He is a rapist that is not sorry for what he did.  He is clearly sorry he got caught.  He absolutely felt he had a right to have sex with this young woman, even if she was unconscious, as he did so out in the public view.  This is dangerous.

I first want to look at “20 minutes of action”.  This is how the father referred to a rape committed by his son.  What does that even mean?  Is he using action as a peer might ask if you got any action?  As in “getting lucky”?  As in sexually getting lucky or getting sexual action?  I hope you can see why this is not okay.  I hope there is at least one other person out there who finds this beyond disgusting.  As a parent, we set the tone.  As a parent we teach our children what is right and what is wrong by modelling appropriate behavior.  I am going to just leave that here.

Our court system is protecting RAPISTS. 

We are once again tipping the scales against sexual assault victims.  We are giving power to RAPISTS.  I feel like no matter how good a guy this judge is, it is time to demand that he step down.  This sentencing is a joke.

I have read how alcohol made him rape her.  Consider this….Many people drink alcohol to the point of being very drunk and do not rape women.  Heck, there has been a time in my early twenties when I regularly drank copious amounts of alcohol and never once have I raped a person, and particularly not an unconscious, helpless one.  And never once did someone rape me.

Alcohol does not make you do anything that is not already a thought in your heart.

She should not have been drinking.  She should not have left with him.  She should not have allowed him.  She should have fought him.  Her sister should have taken better care of her.  Her parents should have taught her better.

NO!  I REJECT all these arguments.  I refuse to live in a world that accepts rape and teaches girls to be afraid.  HE SHOULD NOT HAVE RAPED HER!

This is not about whether she fought him or whether she said no.  It is about whether she said yes.  There was no consent.   No consent equals rape. 

If he had said he was sorry.  If he had said that he knew that she could not defend herself.  If he had said he abused his power—maybe and that is a BIG maybe—there would be hope that he would and could change his behavior.  As it is now, he is a risk to women.  As it now stands, he is dangerous.  He is an unrepentant rapist who feels his only crime was drinking.

My husband and I are raising a son.

We teach him to treat others as he wants to be treated.  We say this so much that I hear our son using this as an argument to compel others to apologize to him when he feels he has been wronged.  We not only talk to him about it, we model it for him.  We talk to him about treating girls with respect.  We talk to him about not giving hugs or affection if the other person does not want it.  We talk to him about asking if he can have a hug and then honoring whatever the response is.  If it is no, then we offer a handshake.  It is important to us that our son learns empathy.  Actually, it is important to us that it goes further than learning it.  We want him to practice it.  At 7 years old, we demand it.  When he is 17 we are hopeful he practices it because it is the right thing to do and because he is a kind, respectful human being.

I invite you to follow this story.  I will be.  I want to see what changes we see on campuses across the country.  I want to see the response of the DA’s office.  Will they file a complaint against the Judge?  I want to see what happens. 

Are we a country that says raping someone is okay?  What message are we sending?  Will this even warrant a mention in anyone’s political platforms?  Will everyone remain silent and hope it goes away?  Will we all say, at least the young woman is strong and was able to address him in court?  I hope not.

The next time someone comes forward and reports being sexually assaulted, will we blame the victim?  Will we shame the victim?  Will we accuse the victim of wanting to make money or ruin their rapist’s life?

Or will we stand strong in support of the victim and say we will no longer tolerate the rape culture?

THIS HAS TO STOP.  I cannot be complicit in this by going along with this.  Please do not be complicit by feeling sorry for the offender.  His life is ruined.  He can’t enjoy his food anymore.  He cannot find his zest for life.  His father is so upset that his son’s “20 minutes of action” have ruined his life.

Give me a break!  Who is responsible?

What about the wake of destruction left behind in the victim’s life that she now has to work to put back together?

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