I have been sitting back reading coverage of the Stanford rape case, statements, messages of support for both sides.
Two weeks ago I stepped into a psychologist’s office to begin treatment for PTSD 25 years after my own rape in January 1991. Like the Stanford victim I too was unconscious, having passed out on a college campus in America.
Unlike this case I knew my attacker. I became a statistic of another Freshman victim of acquaintance rape when I passed out, fully clothed, in the room of a guy I knew.
My life was forever altered.
I had been elected Freshman class President.
I had plans to join the Peace Corps and eventually become a Human Rights lawyer.
Instead I became numb with the help of alcohol, sick physically once my body gave out, shame filled, fearful, angry, and risk taking in a disturbing battle between trying to reclaim my strength and control alongside wanting to end it all.
It has taken me 25 years and 6 months to finally begin treatment that may help me heal.
At my first appointment one of the questions asked was “what do you hope the result of treatment will be?”
Having never articulated it before I simply said “I want to be free.” “I want to stop feeling angry and afraid all the time and I want to feel like a normal, whole person again.”
Twenty five years and I still feel broken every day.
I am disgusted and angry at Brock Turner.
I am amazed at the outpouring of support for the victim.
I am glad to see outrage over the sentencing he received.
What I want to ask though is “What is enough?”
Twenty five years ago I personally knew of no one else who was raped on campus even though I knew it happened- we did not talk about, it was rare for someone to press charges.
Twenty years ago rape cases always focused on the role the victim played- what were you wearing? How much did you drink? Did you flirt? Did you kiss him? Why were you there alone! How did YOU let/make this happen?
Ten years ago I heard of many cases of women strong enough to speak out, file charges, seek support from their college administrators, but almost always ending in dismissals or being swept under the rug if not completely sabotaged by school employees and lawyers.
Today we have a man digitally raping an unconscious women out in the open, with witnesses who interrupt the attack before California can call it rape, capture and hold the man for the police and STILL justice is miscarried.
What is “enough” to result in a criminal who is convicted of these serious crimes and actually serves jail time that reflects the crime?
If this case can provide an unconscious woman (unable to give consent so there should be no doubt), willing to fight for a year to be heard and stand strong, witnesses, and jurors who convict on all counts and still a judge can sentence so lightly that the criminal will be out before the seasons change… I want to know what will ever be enough?
If Brock Turner had confessed to the attack or at least admitted his guilt would it have been enough for the judge?
What message are we still sending to victims- you are not worthy? you are less important than your attacker? You are not heard?
If Brock Turner had been in the middle of a bank robbery and two witnesses jumped on him, gave statements and he was convicted of robbing the bank, would the judge have been so cavellier in his sentencing.
I may not know her name, but I stand with the victim in this case.
I may not know your name, but I stand with you, my fellow survivor.
For all the men, women and children who have been violated, ripped apart and left to heal on their own, I see you, I am you and I hold space for you. I hope you will seek out help regardless of how much time has passed, what has happened since that day/period of your life. It is never too late to “want to be free”.
For those in positions of power currently expressing outrage and support- I beg you to make your mark, stand here and now and change the laws (so all states have gender neutral rape laws, including objects and digital rape, including rape of spouses and partners) and higher minimum sentencing (per count). Do not just stand and say you support this victim, stand in support of all victims. Stand up and make the changes needed so that victims know that they are not on trial, and that they have the full protection and support of the law.
love and light to all,