Is White Supremacy in Rape Culture present in North America?
by mathildatheprofessional on September 18, 2016 - 7:40pm
January 18, 2015, Brock Turner, former Stanford University swimmer raped an intoxicated and unconscious 22 years old women near a fraternity party. The police arrested Turner and brought him to the Santa Clara County jail for attempted rape; he was released soon after posting $150,000 the same day. Afterwards, 5 charges were indicted on him two for rape, two for felony sexual assault, and one for attempted rape. Generally, convictions in similar cases are sentenced to14 years in prison, but for Turner, Santa Clara County Superior Court sentenced him to six months of jail to be followed with a three years of probation. Turner was released after only 3 months of jail due to good behaviour.
Many ethical issues are presented in this case, like the atrocity rape of course but the one that we will be focusing on is white supremacy in our society. Many people seem to agree on the same statement: the role of privilege in sexual assault cases is very important. This example therefore sends a strong cultural message regarding sexual assault in our society. Like many rape survivors, Turner’s victim will have long term psychological consequences facing this negative experience. However, it seems that the media does not see Turner as a man who took someone’s personal freedom for his own satisfaction, but more like a victim who received a too severe sentence. Many articles headline, describe Turner as a Stanford University swimmer, showing his potential as an athlete but not the irreversible and terrible action that he committed. Most media platforms prefer to show the potential that the man has and how his life is ruined because of this ‘mistake’ that only lasted 20 minutes. As a cry of help, his father Dan Turner send a letter to the judge and asked him to shorten his son’s sentence, writing: “His life will never be the one he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.” Nevertheless, it seems that many people agree with the father’s affirmation. In fact Judge Aaron Perksy sentenced Turner to six months in prison instead of 6 years because this sentence “would have a severe impact on him.”
But the question that we need to ask ourselves is: Would this case have been treated differently if Turner had been black or latino? Yes, his wealth and race made it easier for him. But is it morally acceptable to treat someone differently because of his skin colour? No. Every human being is equal and a specific race should not be treated in another way because they are more powerful. In these cases, a particular sentence should be inflicted on defendant, regardless of his/her life background. Indeed, if Turner had received a six years sentence, his life would probably be ruined. But Turner made a decision that night to ruin a women’s life for his own personal pleasure. Rape is wrong in any case regardless of the situation. In conclusion, is it safe to affirm that rape culture is being normalized in our society?
Thomas Reuters. "Brock Turner Released after 3 Months in Jail for Stanford Sex Assault." Cbcnews. N.p., 2 Sept. 2016. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.
Zeba Blay. "Let’s Not Ignore The Importance Of Brock Turner’s Whiteness." The Huffington Post. N.p., 6 Sept. 2016. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.