This has been one of the most disturbing and mind-boggling news to read ever since the victim’s letter to her perpetrator was released online. Like most people, I immediately empathized with the victim’s horrifying and heartbreaking experience that will haunt her every night when she tries to fall asleep, for the rest of her life. Like many, I voiced my opinion about how this case was handled by the court, the media, and society.
The Stanford Rape Case is the epitome of many on-campus rape cases that happen to people all the time. But this case received particular attention because the victim and rapist were both students at an elite school, and because the explicit details to Turner’s sentence were revealed for the media to criticize. The moment Brock Turner raped Emily Doe (the victim’s pseudonym), everything changed for both of them. None wanted the explicit details the media revealed about the event, and though the victim was able to be heard while remaining anonymous, neither individual will be able to continue with their lives normally.
Yes, I am enraged by the leniency given to Brock Turner in court, I despise the media for not bearing in mind any consideration for the victim when revealing everything about how she was raped by a stranger, and I am pissed that society is only now reacting to this particular case because of where the victim and perpetrators studied.
But the most important thing, more than anything, is what we can take away from this case. Regardless of whether you’re male or female, this case concerns you equally. As the victim, you will have to live with this blurred and scarring event for the rest of your life, knowing that you have been violated in the worst way possible. As the perpetrator, who never meant any harm, you will deal with the remorse of doing something you never truly meant to do, and the backlash of every one in real life and on media.
I remember watching the US TV series “Switched at Birth”, Season 4, that reminds me so much about this case. In the series, Bay (female protagonist) attends her friends’ college party after a fight with her then-boyfriend (who isn’t present at the party), and ends up getting drunk with an ex-boyfriend, Tank. She wakes up the next day besides him and realizes that they had sex. But… all she remembers if feeling awful, while her male friend feels perfectly normal so far.
The events that followed after this incident affected them both greatly. Bay talked to some trusted adults about the situation, trying to draw as little attention to it as possible, but because the events of the incident were so blurred, things got out of hand. Everywhere Bay went, people would whisper about her. Tank was expelled from the university, of course, and lost his reputation. He would never be able to go on a date because as soon as someone searches his name online, the word ‘rape’ would appear.
And they were just two college students trying to have fun.
What I’m trying to say is, in a situation like this, no one wins. The perpetrator will be as implicated in the aftermath of the event as the victim, and both will suffer the legal and social consequences in their own ways. But because the victim will always be the female and the perpetrator will always be the male (considering that a male can’t be ‘raped’), regardless of the guy’s intentions, he will always be seen as the bad guy in this situation.
Girls have to watch out for their actions in social situations like parties; guys must watch out equally, if not more.
It pained me to watch the incident in ‘Switched at Birth’, and it pains me now to see two former college students’ lives ruined.