Written by Darla Halyk and originally posted on her blog at NewWorldMom

Can we change the sentence Brock Allen Turner received?

No.

That’s a hard no by the way.

It. Is. Done.

Are we able to alter the fact that a rapist, Brock, is scheduled for an early release from jail, on Monday, September 2nd, 2016? Three days before my forty-fourth Birthday. Thirty one years after I was raped.

No, but we can make changes to stop this from happening ever again. Although, we can only do that by actually opening up the conversation. We have to be brave and stand up against victim shaming, and end Rape Culture.

On Monday, a rapist will be set free, and much before the pain of an unjust sentence will have subsided for the victim. As well as the agony of the rape itself. Another unhealed wound left open as Rape Culture festers inside it.

I wish this case, my rape case, and many others ended differently. Believe me; I want nothing more than justice for rape victims. I have lived with unjust results concerning my rape. Nevertheless, the results are still the same. No one can take back what has already occurred.

WE need to start being proactive. It is the only way we can change Rape Culture.

We as a society are appalled by verdicts, outcomes, and travesties. I believe this is because we are a reactive community. It’s easier to become angry after something disastrous happens than to get off our asses and do something to stop it from going on in the first place.

Hashtag, Rape Culture.

To put it bluntly, YOU don’t want to hear about rape. Okay, maybe not you in particular. But the mass majority, would rather contentedly watch The Bachelor from their lazy boy chair and pretend rape doesn’t exist. Rather than initiating a discussion to help prevent rape, it more often than not is a conversation swept under the rug of shame and discomfort. Which leaves us with only one choice, to react to another senseless act of rape and the culture in which lies around it.

Only when something like the Brock Turner case comes along, and is widely covered by the media, do the masses jump on the offended bandwagon and speak up. Their regularly scheduled programming is interrupted with news of a rapist’s shocking sentence, and people are disgusted. Left to wonder how something so heinous could happen. At least until the publicity dies down, and then we rape victims; we are left to be the stifled survivors once again. To be muffled and told, our stories are troublesome to hear. The first rule of rape culture, don’t talk about rape culture. A sad truth which I believe we need to change.

Believe me when I say I am thrilled when stories of this magnitude come along and force us to discuss a topic too many are frightened to speak about, to hear. At least we are talking, right? But I despise that it has to be an appalling sentence or gruesome victim impact statement with the enormous media attention Brock Turner’s case saw that gets the masses up and shouting. We need to be screaming and changing the way society views rape more often than just in these moments.

No more shame.

When the news of Judge Persky’s immoral sentence swept across the internet, numerous survivors stood tall. Writing poignant and heartbreaking stories about their personal rape experiences.

We bled our words; our stories left tears on the page and metaphorically we screamed until our voices became hoarse.

Victims and supporters wrote and shared letters, signed petitions. We asked for an impeachment of said judge. A magistrate, who, in my opinion, belittled rape victims everywhere with a miscarriage of justice. An immoral discernment when he delivered a minuscule sentence to a rapist, only adding to the many issues surrounding Rape Culture.

At the least, this case brought to light the loopholes in the justice system. We the people changed something. Our voices were heard, and California lawmakers passed a bill that would require prison time for those convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious victim, an effort inspired by the sentencing of former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner.

But now we are here again, the sting of this case is like salt poured into a fresh wound. The scars haven’t healed, while Brock Turner is set for an early release. And as our reactive society raises their fists hoping to burn a man at the stake, everyone has something to say. I am grateful, as I am sure is the victim and all other survivors. But, and yes there is a but.

This isn’t the only time we should be talking about it. WE need to discuss it when there aren’t cases streaming our media feeds. I am grateful it is being addressed, as I said, but to change Rape Culture, we have to start from the beginning. Be proactive, not reactive. WE need to change the way society views rape, and its victims, please, I beg. If not for me, but my daughter, our children.

WE need to make this conversation one that is accessible to everyone and far more often than when it is newsworthy.

I don’t want to teach my daughter or son that rape is inevitable, or that society doesn’t care about them. Because the overwhelming statistics stating rape is an every day, almost every minute occurrence is real. And yet, no one wants to talk about it. And nearly as often as a woman is raped, she is shamed for it.

“Somewhere in America, a woman is raped every 2 minutes. 22% of victims were younger than age 12 when they were first raped, and 32% were between the ages of 12 and 17. 25% of girls and 17% of boys are sexually abused before the age of 18. 70% of rape and sexual assault victims know their attacker prior to the assault.”

If we don’t start talking about the severity of rape, we let victims sit silently in shame. Fearing judgment from a society that may look at them as broken or unworthy. We need to tell our children this is wrong; we need to teach them that we stand behind them. There is no shame in discussing what has happened to me or any other survivor of rape. Ever.

If we become proactive, if we decide as a society that we will no longer stand for victim shaming or Rape Culture, we have the ability to save at least one person from the utter pain of an innocence lost. Can’t we at least do that for our children, our daughters, our sons? Please?

Open up the conversation, end Rape Culture. This can only be done, if we start talking, sharing and discussing what rape does and how it affects a person, for life. FOREVER.

Fuck Trigger Warnings, I am a living trigger warning, we NEED to make this conversation a part of the norm, again, NO MORE SHAME.

I’m talking, I’m writing, and I am sharing, will you join me?

#EndRapeCulture.

A huge thank you to the women (and men), I surround myself with, who have exposed themselves, and written their naked truths, you are and always will be my warrior friends.

Please read these unbelievably brave stories. This is how we will change #RapeCulture.

This is how we are being proactive.

Recovery and Rape

Call Them Out

Stronger Together

Brock Turner’s Name Can Light Up My Timeline

20 Minutes of Action

Sex After Rape

Rape and Rubio

Why Survivors Play The Game of Silence

This is Why Girls Don’t Tell

What Are You Reading

I was taught my greatest failing lay between my legs

The Events In My Life That Broke Me

Your Kind Of Love Ended Trust For Me

12 Years Later, A letter To My Rapist

Midnight Blue

Midnight Blue part Two

When it Happened

Justice Begins With Sorry

Parenting a Son can be a Revolutionary Act

How I became a SuperHero

In addition, these are pieces I have written:

Rape is Not an Ugly Word

Your Honor, There is No Honor in Your Sentence

Please Don’t Rape My Daughter

The Time I Screamed and Nothing Came Out

I was Raped as a Thirteen Year Old Girl

I’m Afraid of The Dark

Trapped

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