Party culture does not cause rape
Here, an opinion piece I wrote for last weeks edition of the Whitecourt Star about rape and party culture. Many of these opinions on this specific topic have been expressed time and time again, but everybody can express uniquely shaped views of world events, right?
Early this month a young Stanford student, Brock Turner, was sentenced to six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a garbage dumpster. The three felony counts he was convicted of should have lead to a total of six years behind bars, or two years for each felony, of which he excuses himself from because of party culture.
That’s right, three months in jail after probation, for destroying a young woman’s life. His sentence was not harsher, Judge Persky said, because a rougher sentence would have a ‘sever impact’ on Turner. Not only is this a gross miscarriage of justice, but Turner clearly still hasn’t learned his lesson.
Turner’s letter to the judge makes it clear that he insists on blaming his actions on ‘party culture’. He doesn’t even acknowledge that he assaulted anyone. Instead he continues to whine that somebody should have advised him of the side effects of alcohol.
Well, a bad hangover for one, but certainly there is no label on alcoholic beverages warning that a side effect is turning into a rapist. In fact, Turner is so in the clouds about the whole thing that he plans to create a high school awareness program to warn youth about the ill effects of overdrinking and “party culture”.
No. Alcohol does not cause sexual assault. Many, many people have been drunk and didn’t mount a woman in some prickly bushes.
Something alcohol is responsible for, however, is unlocking our most base instincts. For Turner I guess that means taking advantage of a vulnerable woman. I almost feel badly for the kid, because it’s not totally his fault that his animal nature is to pillage and rape. Almost, but not quite.
As I argued last month, children are taught early on what is appropriate behaviour, and often times that includes objectifying and playing with girls bodies. In fact, Turner’s father wrote to the judge and pleaded with him to go easy on his son, because “this is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”
This is the image of where boys find inspiration to become men?
Turner’s actions are far from excusable, and are a sad, telling symptom of how innately men are still trained to own women, still, in 2016. Rape culture is a real phenomenon, and this young man’s assault, reaction to being caught and how the sentencing was handled shows that there is so much work to be done yet until women are truly respected and seen as more than objects.
Where to start? Well for one, let’s start asking ourselves how we can conscientiously raise our beautiful boys to take responsibility for their actions, and more importantly, instill in them a deep sense of respect for all human beings.
You can view the full article from last weeks paper, and other pieces done by myself at http://eedition.whitecourtstar.com/doc/Whitecourt-Star/whitecourt_star-0622/2016062101/#0