Don’t be a Brock Turner…

If I hadn’t recently looked into all the business surrounding the Stanford rape case and the outrage at his sentencing, I would have sworn that “Brock Turner” was a Simpsons character. It doesn’t sound like a real name, and yes, as the guy from Infinitefreetime.com points out, it sounds like the name of a rapist from a cheesy made for TV drama. Like maybe  he’d be the villain from a Lifetime movie, or a not so great episode of Law and Order SVU… if such a thing exists.

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image taken from USA Network

It’s just such a great show…

I’ve avoided the outrage, for the same reason I avoided the Donald Trump coverage for so long: I’m tired of only negative things getting the spotlight in the news. But I can’t avoid it any longer.

I’ve read the letter his father wrote, and it, too, sounds like something from an episode of SVU. It kind of reminds me of the episode where the frat boys were getting in trouble for hazing, one hazing practice included raping the younger male pledges with a paddle. If memory serves, in that episode the father went to great lengths to cover it up because he had been a member of the same fraternity, and the judge, too… though I’m not 100% certain of the judge bit.

The point is that there’s this system in place where people of wealth (no matter what color) have this way of calling in favors, or asking nicely (probably with a large wad of cash in tow) of getting their spoiled, over-privileged brats out of trouble.

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And Brock Turner’s case isn’t the only time it’s happened… it’s just the most recent.

It touches on a lot of the issues troubling this country for minorities. There’s how the media/police handled the situation. The only pictures available (until today) were of Brock in a suit, instead of his mugshot. People  make comparisons to Treyvon Martin, and how the images shown of him were of him in a hoodie, looking a little thuggish to give the impression that he was indeed up to no good. Proof that hoodies are signs of hoodlums?

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In Brock’s mugshot, he’s wearing a hoodie.

No, I don’t actually believe that, but if the picture on the right (instead of the one of upstanding, good guy Brock on the left) had been what the world saw before the hearing, don’t you think more people would have been like, “hey, that guy was obviously up to no good…”? Perhaps more because his eyes are bloodshot, but maybe, also because he seems to lack absolutely any sense of remorse in that photo. Yeah, he doesn’t even seem to be phased by being caught!

That is what privilege looks like, white or no.

So there is definitely a race angle to this, but at it’s core it’s an issue about that other ugly R-word: Rape.

I’ve been trying to decide what I wanted to say about it, because people keep talking about “rape culture,” and “consent,” and I usually get frustrated because, no, consent isn’t that simple, on either side of the gender line. There’s even that silly tea analogy that frustrates me because the Boy brings it up to show how my wanting intimacy from him was the “Smart girl” equivalent of the “Nice Guy” argument…

But that’s a whole other issue and not something I want to talk about today.

Today, I want to say thank you to everyone who is outraged by this situation and trying to make a change in the way we talk about rape and consent in this country.

First of all, I don’t really believe consent is as simple as the tea analogy makes it out to seem, I am, after all, the girl who totally gets the whole Dominique Francon being proud of her virtue being taken by force because she wanted him but, as a very alpha female, she needed him to out-alpha her.

In the Stanford Rape case, it’s pretty clear: she was unconscious, so she couldn’t give consent (the tea analogy works for this one).

And he dragged her behind a dumpster because he knew what he was doing was wrong.

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But there are some times when it’s a little harder to tell if there is consent, and this is a thing that we need to work on as a country.

Anyone who’s been following this blog knows that I struggle with dating. Not only do I tend to pick the absolute worst guy for me, but I also don’t get the clues when some people are actually into me, or I sometimes misjudge the other person’s intentions. I’m learning that some of it’s an Aspie thing, but I’m definitely not the only person who’s ever had a hard time judging someone else’s intentions. It’s part of the formula for a Rom-Com, for goodness’ sake!!

It’s such a big deal there’s that age old question about intentions:

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So, yeah, it’s not so cut and dry.

Today, there’s something in particular I want to share. I don’t think I’ve ever talked about it on here, fully, but it involves a guy I’ve mentioned.. I’ve brought up that guy who hurt me so bad in the first place, the one with the sword, the first of the married guys who’s used me to cheat on his significant other. That guy.

It’s kind of a thing that changed my life in a great many ways, very few good. In fact, I can’t think of a single good thing that came out of that situation, and perhaps part of it is how it went down.

I met him (though he may not have remembered me) when I went to do my scholarship audition. It was wig day in the shop, and he worked in the theatre over the summers. He was so tall and his voice was so deep, and he was wearing a blond wig in a Beatles’ style cut. It stuck out in my mind.

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That’s not him…

When we met again after I started going to the college, he was flirty, overly so, and as I’d never noticed anyone from my high school flirting with me, had never even had a real date to the best of my knowledge (though people have told me later that they were interested, no one every acted on it), I became enamored quickly.

When I found out he was married, I told him no, and ended things after he and his wife tried to initiate something while I was at their place watching a show with them. My refusal was not met well. His wife even called me one day to ask me to have sex with her husband because she was tired of telling him no…

Should have known then what a bad guy he was.

The following year, when we were again thrown together because of theater, he called me and told me how it hurt him that I’d disappeared, and that he would behave himself. Fast forward to just before spring break when I ended up staying at their place (the reason why has shifted as the memory gets older), and the guest bed was in the living room… He kept getting into bed with me. I told him no several times, and at one point he told me he had his wife’s permission, and I looked at him and said very pointedly, “but you don’t have mine.”

It didn’t stop him.

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When he said something about how he knew I was attracted to him, which was true, I relented. Told him, fine, since it was obvious he wasn’t going to take no for an answer.

After we were through, he woke his wife up so we could discuss it like adults. I was humiliated, and from that point on, he assumed he always had permission.

It was obvious to me, in my 19 year old naivety,  that the problem must be that he was looking for something to spice up his sex life, so if I teased his wife just enough to get them both hot and bothered, then I could walk away and problem would be solved.

That’s not quite how it worked, and less than three months later, they were getting a divorce, she hated me, he was asking me to move in even though she hadn’t left yet, and I was so elated that anyone would want me, since no one ever had before, that I thought it was the most romantic thing ever.

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Less than three months after that, I was terrified of him, as he was physically and emotionally abusive. I was moving out, had lost my sweet sixteen ring, and was the negative talk of the whole theater department, because somehow I was the one who broke up their marriage…

I, who felt like I had been victimized by both of them, and manipulated into a situation that I didn’t want, but found that I enjoyed enough to make it bearable for a while, had no one to turn to, and spiraled out of control quickly. And all because I didn’t feel like I could talk to anyone about it.

Sex was still taboo, and because I relented, it obviously wasn’t rape, so who could I tell? But just because physiologically my body reacted to him, emotionally I didn’t want any of it. Is that rape, or isn’t it? Was me giving consent because I didn’t feel like I had a choice really giving consent?

These are the questions that have plagued me for the past 15 years, making me hyper-vigilant in trying to determine men’s motivation, and usually getting it wrong. These are the thoughts that make me wonder is consent really so easy to explain?

So thank you, to all of you who are outraged by Brock Turner and the joke that is his sentencing. Thank you for standing up against rape culture.

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Maybe one day there won’t be young women who question whether or not they gave consent. Maybe one day men won’t assume that they can guilt or pressure women into sex, or worse, that they can just take it when they want.

And to any males out there who might accidentally read this, for the sake of all YOU hold dear, do NOT be a Brock Turner. Have more self respect than to take what you want from an unconscious woman by rutting around behind the garbage like a rabid horny rat just because you think you can.

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