On Stanford Swimmer (rapist) Brock Turner, rape apologism, & rape culture

I thought I was about as offended/angry as I could be about this Brock Turner rapist POS and his POS rape-apologist father/family and his rape-excusing POS judge Aaron Persky. But ooh goody, look, there’s another rapist-reputation-protecting agency at work here and this one is totally taxpayer-funded!! So here’s another hearty fuck you to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department, which of course has a mug shot but won’t release it. Kyriarchy hard at work, y’all.

NY mag’s alternate take on the same facts and availability. I think this aspect makes me extra super mad because it so thoroughly reps the institutional bias aspect. I expect a father to be biased beyond all sanity and taste. I am not surprised that the rapist’s cultural cohort (judge) has more sympathy for his figurative lil’ bro than that drunk slutty not-my-daughter victim in the witness box. But for a publicly-funded community-policing agency to be like “no, we are going to keep this unflattering pic of this poor unfortunate boy to ourselves, thanks” is like FUUUUUUCCKCKKKK YOUUUUUUU.

It’s particularly an indictment of the US system and culture. I honestly don’t think it was any kind of coincidence that the two boys passing by who stopped the assault and held him literally on the ground until authorities arrived were from Nordic Europe. Which isn’t perfect, as a region/continent goes, but certainly has a more feminist overall culture.

And since it just came up, I’d like to take a moment to cross-post another silver lining aspect: Sending Internet love, recognition, and thanks to Peter Jonsson and Carl Fredrik Arndt who represent all the true allies and good men in the world, people of conscience and caring. Not only did they take heroic action that night, they gave witness statements on the scene and then testified in court. And it has made a MAJOR difference to the victim’s recovery, as HuffPost reports:

“In her statement read in court, the victim thanked “the two men who saved me, who I have yet to meet. … I sleep with two bicycles that I drew taped above my bed to remind myself there are heroes in this story. That we are looking out for one another. To have known all of these people, to have felt their protection and love, is something I will never forget.”

Anyway back to outrage: After the Sherrif’s Department *finally* released their tidied-up-angel version, Stanford University campus police released a photo from the night of the assault. I guess they wanted to give the govt authorities a chance first? Like many privileged defendants, the Turner family was clearly afforded the opportunity and time to pull his shit together, take him over to the barber, and present him as a more respectable member of society when he came to answer to charges. This photo, however, with him wild-haired, bloodshot, glassy-eyed, looks just like a drunk piece of shit criminal caught mid-assault. Make this famous too.

So a lot of people are mad at Dad for excusing his son, and wondering how he could be so blind to what his child became, or how he could so dehumanize the woman who was raped to devalue her experience so completely. In a way, it would be kind of nice to assume there must be some specific incident that changed him, or some soured personal relationship that embittered him, or some medical or mental condition.

But the same thing would have to have happened to a young woman named Leslie Rasmussen, who one- ups Dad’s apologism with this very unfortunate testimonial as to Brock’s fine character.

(In my opinion, women who enforce the patriarchy are extremely like the kapos in concentration camps. It’s like a gender-based Stockholm syndrome and inherently very upsetting.)

Why are Leslie and Dad running to Brock’s defense? I think it’s honestly just a simple human instinct to say “I don’t want to associate the person I know and like with this unpleasantness.” And we/they live in a culture that allows them to write this fiction in their heads, and find it so much more believable then testimony and evidence from strangers and people unlike and unknown to themselves directly.

It’s one of the reasons that diversity of personal acquaintance is so essential to being a well rounded human. When you spend time with people that are unlike yourself and you see all the things you have in common anyway (despite superficial differences) it makes you recognize there’s such a thing as common humanity, and it’s harder to make strangers into “others” who don’t deserve the same consideration, rights, and freedom that people in your own tribe do. Rasmussen, Persky, and Turner are all of like tribe and everything they’re doing seeks to preserve the status of that tribe. The rest of us are screaming about all the many ways they are wrong.

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About amywinns

Semi-snarky, semi-sincere, occasionally ranting, always paying attention. Feminist who can work a skirt and crack a joke. Grammar nerd who is also fun at parties. Mid-career writer/editor with 15 years’ experience in newspapers & magazines who now helps developers at a major media corporation communicate with the suits who write the checks. Pro-women, pro-family, pro-choice, pro-workingclass, pro-entrepreneur, pro-farmer. Like every other bourgeois Brooklynite, I choose local/organic/raw food — mostly vegetables — whenever possible/reasonable/affordable but I’m not a smug asshole about it. Hometown: Atlanta. Weird hobby: lindy hop. No pets, no kids, no thanks.
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