On January 18th, 2015, a young student athlete from Stanford University attacked and raped an unconscious intoxicated girl outside of one of those 'frat parties' that are so iconic in American universities.The way in which the attack has been addressed by the law and the media has become a trending topic in the past few days, and it has with no doubt reached a level of controversy that has encouraged debate on the topics of privilege and #injustice as well as #Rape culture.
Why this case shows white male privilege, again
During the year of 2016, the number of black citizens' deaths caused by the American police has so far reached a number of at least 180, according to The Guardian's database.
As a matter of fact, it has also been shown that over 5 out of 10 black Americans claim to have been treated unfairly by the police once in their life. Regardless of the endless debates and controversies emerging from this topic in the media on a daily basis, it is without any doubt that the USA has a problem of white privilege under the law and police forces, and the Brock Turner case has only emphasised this problem. The fact that being a white male of a good social class (given that he attended one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the world) has influenced, both explicitly and tacitly, his sanction, as well as his image. He was sentenced to only six months in jail even though it was originally meant to be of at least 6 years. Considering the amount of times that black American people have been shot dead in the street under no justification, I believe there is serious room for debate in how the justice system is working (or failing) in the USA.
A paradoxical and unfair justice system
Having observed the way certain crimes are addressed by the US legal system, I think there is a clear need for change. It comes as a surprise to me how innocent people are heavily condemned and criminalised under no serious offences, such as the many innocent victims of the so-called 'War on Drugs'. Furthermore, there are still at least 30 states that tolerate the death penalty. Having such drastic law reinforcements and so unequally distributed around the country really makes me question why a rape crime (see examples in Europe) could be 'solved' with simply 6 months of prison, and be reduced to only 3 due to 'good behaviour'.
Rape culture is, indeed, a problem
In addition to the unjustifiable legal system that managed to protect Turner's life, there has been a remarkably insulting approach to his actions by himself and his family, as well as the judge. For instance, statements by his father regarding the attack, which he has described as simply '20 minutes of action' makes me wonder about why is rape still not being taken seriously in the 21st Century. It may be caused by the 'frat party' alpha male mentality that anyone can witness on a daily basis, either humorously, such as 'trolling', or more seriously as we can observe on Facebook pages such as the "Men's Rights Association of America" which has been defending the rapist's actions. I believe that behaviours like such can never be justified on the basis that the attacker is 'a good athlete' or a young student with a good future. I have struggled to find any sense behind all those justifications. If someone ever finds an unconscious girl outside a party, the least one can do is look after her, or find someone who could be willing to do so. The last thing anyone should ever do in these circumstances is to take advantage of a defenseless person . And if anything, blaming the good old alcohol should never be acceptable. This event may have 'ruined' the life of a promising young adult, but it has most certainly also ruined the life of an innocent victim, and I truly hope that justice will eventually be applied in this matter. For her family, for herself, and for the numerous rape victims that are fighting this tedious battle.
I've never been more disgusted in my entire life pic.twitter.com/UP1MQWwPT5— ila (@leiaskywalkers) September 4, 2016