This morning I opened my daily email from “The Week” to catch up on the “10 things I need to know today.”
I was gobsmacked when I read the following.
5. California bill sparked by Stanford rape case passes
California lawmakers on Monday passed legislation to close a legal loophole that let a former Stanford University swimmer, Brock Turner, receive a sentence of just six months in jail after his conviction of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. Prosecutors had asked for him to serve six years, because there was no penile penetration. The bill now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who had not indicated whether he plans to sign it. Turner, 21, is scheduled to be released from Santa Clara County Jail on Sept. 2. [Reuters, New York Daily News]
Yep. You read it right.
“Prosecutors had asked for him to serve six years, because there was no penile penetration.”
This is maddening. Anyone who buys into it is misinformed, ingenuous and naive.
Is sexual assault less evil if there is “no penile penetration?” NO. Rape is rape. Rape is penetration by ANY object. Furthermore, one does not need to have any penetration whatsoever for sexual assault to be immensely scarring, the aftermath wreaking havoc for the victim.
This topic warrants serious consideration, Everyone.
Occasionally, when people hear about my abuse, their first question is, “Well, did he actually (fill in the blanks)” This is a headscratcher. It is also intensely irritating.
Whether he did or did not, did that qualify the degree of sexual assault? Does it make it less horrific? Does it lighten the magnitude of trauma? NO. And furthermore, who is judging?
The details in no way quantify the impact and aftermath.
Laura and I often hear survivors in our workshops (and everywhere, for that matter) preface a statement by saying, “Well, my abuse was not as bad as yours…”
No, No, No Everybody.
Laura and I consistently interrupt saying, “This is not the hardship Olympics.” There is no competition.
Trauma is trauma. Abuse is abuse; There is no yardstick, no measure, no quantification.
That clip this morning unfettered my passion around this issue. Penetration vs. no penetration does not define the crime nor the punishment.
Judge Aaron Persky clearly, is unfit to preside. His ignorant, grossly lenient and frankly, absurd decision to sentence Brock Turner to six months in jail, makes a mockery of the capability of our justice system to protect victims of assault and rape.
Say It, Survivor (sayitsurvivor.com) continues our charge in educating about abuse and what we can do to try to prevent it. The outcome of the Stanford Rape Case is an example of what not to do- it is a worthwhile and heartbreakingly infuriating lesson.