On Brock Turner’s Speaking Tour and Valuing a Woman’s Dignity Less Than a Good Steak Dinner
Brock Turner sexually assaulted an unconscious woman, and he and his parents want us to believe it was not a big enough deal to define the rest of his life. They want us to believe that stripping a woman of her clothes, dignity and agency was an unfortunate misstep on the part of an otherwise very respectful guy. They want to convince us that alcohol made Brock Turner’s decision. And continued to make it every second for 20 minutes.
I could watch nearly an entire episode of Brooklyn 99 in 20 minutes. If Andy Samberg has enough time to screw himself over and then fix everything in his life, then Brock Turner definitely had time to think “hold on, this is a human being whom I am abusing for my own pleasure” just once.
I could make a really good omelette in 20 minutes. There would be time for cracking and frying of eggs, and for each one of those 20 minutes I could make the decision of whether I wanted to continue making this omelette or walk away.
I could wrap a present and write a meaningful birthday card in 20 minutes, and not once would I have to question whether I had the right to interact with another human in this way.
Turner spent less time in jail than he would have in a semester at school, and the judicial system failed American women. This case told us that our dignity means less to the court than the mental torture of not being able to enjoy a steak dinner. Our violation is less worthy of the courts’ attention than the “potential” of our rapists. This sentence justified our fears that our bodies are more important to society than our humanity.
(Quick side note: if you haven’t heard of Johnny Manziel, he’s another probably talented but definitely entitled athlete. Here was his father’s response to his latest antics. Honestly, it made me proud to be from Texas.)
The Turners want us to blame alcohol for poor Brock’s misfortunes so badly that Brock Turner is apparently considering a speaking tour where he will warn us all about the dangers of alcohol and promiscuity. (So they want us to believe that it wasn’t a big enough deal to define the rest of his life unless he can monetise his misfortunate miscalculation?)
Give me a repentant speech about the dangers of entitlement, Brock Turner. I will listen to that.
But a speech about the evils of alcohol? Let me explain how alcohol works really quickly. It does not break down your defences, take control of your body like a demon in a horror movie, and then force you to do things you would never imagine. Alcohol simply lowers your inhibitions, letting out whatever was already inside of you.
These “20 minutes of action” sprang from a disregard for the dignity of other human beings. Not alcohol. They were the culmination of a lifetime believing that other people existed to make Brock Turner’s life better, not a regrettable lapse in judgement caused by alcohol. These 20 minutes were the effect of a years of looking at women as things to get off to or in or on, instead of living breathing human beings with their own desires, thoughts and feelings. Alcohol didn’t come up with that either. This is what happens when someone respects another person so little that it doesn’t matter if she can speak or think, because her body is all that is needed. This attitude, that other people are at your disposal, is not something that pops up in someone after a few drinks.
Alcohol may have made you less inclined to overcome your desires, Brock Turner, but alcohol did not put the idea of this assault in your head and then force you to carry through with it.
Until your culpability is the point of your speech, I for one want none of it.