Brock Turner is again in the news. I am sure everyone by now recognizes, if you are current with the news, the name of the twenty something college student convicted of raping a fellow Stanford Student who was overly intoxicated at a party. It made news, not only because of the crime, but the exceedingly light sentence Turner received compared to other people convicted of rape. Affluence and ethnicity all seem to be in play in the sentencing. The news is being lambasted today for reporting that “former swimmer and Stanford student” had to begin registering as a sex offender, for the rest of his life, four times a year today. The outrage is identifying him as anything other than a rapist. Turner is our selected target of hatred.
The problem is that we will use this injustice, and focus most of our energy, in one place and then move on. Is that where we really want to go? We all know rape is a worldwide problem. The answer, I don’t think, should be to say, “Oh, here, we caught one, let’s all get him!” The best it will accomplish is making sure that Turner’s life story goes as negatively as possible. If this rape really makes us angry (and it should), our energies should be much more effectively targeted.
The problem is rape. The problem is the culture that perpetuates it. The problem is the drugs and alcohol which throw gasoline on the fire (and we want to pretend they don’t have anything to do with it). The overwhelming majority of rapists, unlike Turner, get away with their crimes and focusing on one will not change that. Even trying to make his life as terrible as possible won’t change that. Turner, who also was drunk, did not stop and pause and consider the latest sentencing for rapists or how convicted ones are treated. Why do we think the next rapist will pause at all if we all collectively trash Turner? Just this morning, I read of a twenty something woman raped while being a lifeguard at a pool. All the outrage at Turner didn’t stop this rapist (or help his victim).
We need to teach people greater respect for one another. Men, in particular, when they are raised, need to be taught what a loathsome, repulsive, and criminal act rape is. We need to take the shame out of the reporting of these crimes. We need to increase the odds, greatly, that if someone commits this crime that they will be caught and they will be punished. We need to increase awareness so that more people react like the two brave men who stopped Turner in the act of his crime and held him until police personnel arrived.
We should not let ourselves be lulled into thinking getting mad about one story and venting about it online is going to change the problem. An individual rapist might get us mad (and should). But will it make us want to change things, really change things? Let Turner’s story, and his victim’s, inspire us. Let us make this world a better place and this crime increasingly less prevalent.
God calls on us to make the world a more just place. Will we?
What do you think?
Until next time,