I try not to be too political or talk much about current events. Today I feel obligated to disregard my previous stance.
I read with absolute disgust and a vomitous feeling of sickness inside me about the 20 year old Stanford swimmer who was found guilty of raping an unconscious woman after a frat party. Random passersby had witnessed the crime and stepped in to help the woman. He was found guilty, which should be the beginning to the best possible endings in a horrible situation. BUT then in steps a judge who decides that his life might be TOO effected by a long sentence. So the rising swimming star gets a whole six months.
And then his father steps forward about how his son’s life was ruined for “twenty minutes of action”.
Twenty minutes of action is a hell of a way to describe a blatant sexual assault. Defending and believing in your child is one thing but at some point you have to say hey, my kid is now an adult and he needs to step up and take some responsibility for his actions. AND HE WAS FOUND GUILTY SO HIS ACTIONS ARE IRREFUTABLE and undeniable.
The online, trolling comments and such only furthered my general distaste for humanity. Women and men both asserting how she deserved it and probably said yes but since was drunk she doesn’t remember. What part of UNCONSCIOUNESS implies consent? Do these people live in a different world from the one I do? Where a jury of twelve average men and women found this man guilty and yet in the court of online media he is not guilty? Or at least not guilty enough, and she is guilty of at the very least behaving in a way that is not becoming of a ‘woman’. Screw that! It’s 2016 people, women have as many rights as men and if we chose to get drunk as skunks and parade naked down the street in front of the capital building… you know what? WE STILL AREN’T ASKING FOR IT!
I read the woman’s victim impact statement with tears streaming down my face. What a strong woman. She amazes me. If you are interested in reading it here’s a link…
The most powerful portion is at the end where she addresses other women in her situation.
“On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought every day for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you. As the author Anne Lamott once wrote, “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” Although I can’t save every boat, I hope that by speaking today, you absorbed a small amount of light, a small knowing that you can’t be silenced, a small satisfaction that justice was served, a small assurance that we are getting somewhere, and a big, big knowing that you are important, unquestionably, you are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you. To girls everywhere, I am with you. Thank you.”
This woman has been through hell and yet she finds the courage, the pure strength to support others. Beyond belief. Add to the fact that her statement was read, by her, in front of the man who had brutalized her and taken so much from her. Bravo.
I worry about the kind of world we live in. I fear for the future, and the past. “20 minutes of action” How on earth can anyone in good conscious say that? The poor survivor (I refuse the term victim because this woman is anything but a victim) she has to live with her abusers actions for the rest of her life why the hell shouldn’t he? There are those who think that for some reason a CONVICTED CRIMINAL shouldnt be held responsible for his actions for longer than six months. And they mourn the star athlete he may have been instead of mourning the random woman whose life his choices affected?
We have to do better. Raise our children (and not just our boys but all our children) to respect others. To understand that just because they “want” something doesn’t mean they can have it. Responsibility and respect, things that should be taught from the time our kids can walk seem to have been left behind. The best time to teach our kids about this is when they are young. We can’t treat them like little princes and princesses for all their lives and then suddenly expect them to be adults who can function within society at a level that is required. They need to understand and learn about consequences. Little Jonny may be an adorable child but if he fails at class – it’s his fault. No one else’s. Not moms and not dads and certainly not the teachers. The time has come for us to stand up and behave like we believe our kids CAN be capable adults. Stop with the coddling and buying them any and everything they want. Teach them if they play video games all night instead of studying for their test they will fail and it is their OWN DAMN FAULT.
I am a feminist and proud of it. I am not a man hater. But until women’s futures and voices are heard equally with men’s - feminists are a necessity. This case only punctuates the differences between men and women and how they are treated in the eyes of the law and the public opinion court. I read something that said (and I am paraphrasing) “Women are judged by their past (what did you wear? How many drinks had you had? How many sexual partners? AND SO ON) wherein men are judged by their Future. (their potential and how their future lives will be affected by this ‘incident’)” This is a prime example of attitudes that need to change. And until we change this the feminist movement and rights of women in general will not be equal to those who were lucky enough to be born with a penis.
To the woman who the focus of the story is. I applaud you, your strength and resilience. You will overcome. Do not let this POS take any more from you. Keep believing in yourself and be proud of who you will become. Know that nothing you did caused this. Nothing you did could have caused it. On behalf of mankind I apologize for the shit storm you’ve been living. I apologize for the misogynist society that holds his worth and value to be higher. But know that while a judge may have believed that not everyone does. We stand behind you and we are fighting to change the old boys club in every way we can.
To the POS judge, swimmer and his father. Time for your precious boy to grow up. He was found guilty. I hope that he can reflect and grow and learn to take responsibility for his actions. No one held him down and forced him to rape an unconscious girl. No one force fed him the alcohol that he uses as an excuse. Instead of giving lame excuses, stand up and say I’m sorry.