Brock Turner: The Elephant in the Room (or should I say behind the dumpster?)

Social media is a-buzz recently regarding Brock Turner, aka The Stanford Rapist. Probably America’s most hated person right now.

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If you have not yet read the statement made by the survivor of Brock’s sexual assault, I HIGHLY suggest you read it (HERE). His slap-on-the-wrist 6 month jail sentence (which will be less than 3 months of actual jail time) has people outraged over what they believe is as a blatant miscarriage of justice caused by what is being labeled a cocktail of white privileged affluenza and rape culture. Don’t even get me started on his father’s letter to the judge for leniency. In it, Brock’s father laments that Brock has lost his love for steaks and pretzels because of the stress that this ordeal has caused him. No, I’m not kidding.

This story has hit a deep nerve and is opening up a major dialogue about rape and consent, as it should!

The rape statistics themselves are flabbergasting!

Adults

  • About 20 million out of 112 million women (18.0%) in the United States have been raped during their lifetime. 12
  • Only 16% of all rapes were reported to law enforcement. 12
  • In 2006 alone, 300,000 college women (5.2%) were raped. 12
  • Among college women, about 12% of rapes were reported to law enforcement. 12
  • A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey on the national prevalence of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and stalking found:
    • 81% of women who experienced rape, stalking, or physical violence by an intimate partner reported significant short- or long-term impacts. 18
    • About 35% of women who were raped as minors were also raped as adults, compared to 14% of women without an early rape history. 18
    • 28% of male rape victims were first raped when they were 10 years old or younger. 18

Many times sexual violence takes on too many shades of grey. What was the situation? What was the intent? Is this a good person or a rapist? What is the victim like? Did this person bring on this treatment somehow? But following this story has made rape a pretty black and white matter. Was there consent or not? We have all learned the “good guys” can be rapists too. I have had more than a few friends open up to me since this story has broken that they too have had an experience with their very own “Brock Turners”. Sadly, like countless others victims, they felt powerless and equally at fault for their assaults. Even more tragic is that their stories didn’t end with Swedish heroes on bicycles. They ended with invisible wounds that haunt, even decades later.

Here is the story of a friend who opened up in light of this news story:

“I haven’t shared this story with many. If I’m honest, it wasn’t until the Stanford Rape that I googled “sexual assault” just to make sure that’s what happened to me. It was never referred to as that, and to this day, I knew I wasn’t making something out of nothing. Sexual Assault doesn’t always look like it does in the movies where you are dragged down a dark alley way. Sometimes, it looks like the elementary school boy sitting beside you in class. Elementary school, that’s when it happened. We were made to sit “boy, girl, boy, girl,” so the girls couldn’t talk. Looking back, they missed the bigger picture on that one. I remember his name and can see his face in my mind. We still had quiet time, lights would go off and heads must be laid on the desk. Sometimes the teacher would sit at her desk and grade papers and other times she would leave the room for several minutes. It was during quiet time that the boy that was made to sit next to me put his hand on my leg underneath our desks. He slowly moved his hand up, and before I knew it, his hand was up my skirt. I was frozen with fear; I knew it wasn’t right, but I didn’t know what to do in that moment.

The teachers questioned me as if I was making it up, they even said maybe it was an “accident” or maybe I was confused. I needed them, and they failed me. That’s all it took: one adult to downplay the event. I was ready to retreat with shame and guilt. The teacher talked to the entire class the next day and pointed me out as the example. I remember being embarrassed like it was my fault for getting him in trouble.  My mom was the only one on my side. I would see him the older we would get and remember still feeling embarrassed and ashamed.”

Child/Teen Victims

  • In a 2012 maltreatment report, of the victims who were sexually abused, 26% were in the age group of 12–14 years and 34% were younger than 9 years. 9
  • Approximately 1.8 million adolescents in the United States have been the victims of sexual assault. 4
  • Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that approximately 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18. 1
  • 35.8% of sexual assaults occur when the victim is between the ages of 12 and 17. 1
  • 82% of all juvenile victims are female. 5
  • 69% of the teen sexual assaults reported to law enforcement occurred in the residence of the victim, the offender, or another individual. 5
  • Teens 16 to 19 years of age were 3 ½ times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.6
  • Approximately 1 in 5 female high school students report being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner. 7

One reason these attacks go unreported is secondary wounding. This happens when the victim reaches out for help and is made to feel at fault. This adds insult to injury and reinforces self-blaming and many times will make that person decide never to share their story again for fear of further shame.

So, what is the elephant in the room (or should I say behind the dumpster?)

Women (and men, let’s not forget females are not the only victims of rape) all around the world are just now realising they too were raped. Sounds absurd I know, but hear me out. 

We will be happy to hear your thoughts