The Public Reaction to the Brock Turner Case: Performing Rape Aversion

It’s official: America hates rapists and their apologists. Or, at least, it hates Brock Turner and his supporters. Recently sentenced to six months jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, the former Stanford swimmer is now a national pariah. So are his father, who notoriously described the incident as “twenty minutes of action”; his friend, who said he wasn’t a “real rapist” and urged the court to resist the temptation of being “politically correct”; and, of course, the judge who presided over the case and is now the subject of numerous petitions calling for his removal.

The case certainly showcases some appalling attitudes, but, as many women know, it isn’t that special. Rape victims are shamed, blamed and silenced in and out of courtrooms every day. The offensive myths propagated in the Brock Turner case — that alcohol makes women responsible for being raped but their rapists “less mora[lly] culpa[ble]”; that the lives of men, especially athletes, are more important than those of female rape victims; that consent is so confusing that you can have sex with an unconscious woman behind a dumpster and still think she was up for it — are normal. Nor are very short sentences unusual…

Read the rest here