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  • Heidi Broecking

Rape. WTF?


Let's start with some facts:

California Penal Code, Sections 261-169 (That's a lot of sections, here is the link), most relevant: 261.A.2: Where it is accomplished against a person's will by means of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the person or another.; 261.A.3: Where a person is prevented from resisting by any intoxicating or anesthetic substance, or any controlled substance, and this condition was known, or reasonably should have been known by the accused.; 261.4.A-D: Where a person is at the time unconscious of the nature of the act, and this is known to the accused. As used in this paragraph, "unconscious of the nature of the act" means incapable of resisting because the victim meets any one of the following conditions: (A) Was unconscious or asleep. (B) Was not aware, knowing, perceiving, or cognizant that the act occurred. (C) Was not aware, knowing, perceiving, or cognizant of the essential characteristics of the act due to the perpetrator's fraud in fact. (D) Was not aware, knowing, perceiving, or cognizant of the essential characteristics of the act due to the perpetrator's fraudulent representation that the sexual penetration served a professional purpose when it served no professional purpose.

The Brock Turner story/sentencing has given the internets a collective seizure. There are a lot of really upsetting factors in this story. The incident itself, the attempted escape, the letter from the young man's father (..."20 minutes of action...), the light sentencing, the inevitable victim blaming, the harrowing statement of the victim (twelve pages vs. said 20 minutes of action, who's counting)...each aspect is enough to give me reason to rage for days. But there seemed to be one thing that really chapped my ass that I couldn't identify in the mishmash of things to be upset by. Then it occurred to me. How is it that this young man did not know what he was doing was wrong? Seriously, WTF? HowTF? In fact, how could ANY young man NOT know that putting ANY part of his body into someone else's body WITHOUT permission is wrong? I am the mother of a 19-1/2 year old young man. That is what I cannot understand about this case or any other where the perpetrator of sexual violence doesn't seem to understand that what they did was WRONG. I know, wait, KNOW...yelling at you in all caps that I know my son would never, ever, never be capable of this act. Why? Because, moral compass!

I understand there was alcohol involved, both parties had been consuming. Here is the thing...yes, alcohol can lower inhibitions; yes, alcohol can unlock hidden/repressed emotions; but what booze cannot do is change your moral compass. Here's the thing...rape is not about sex, rape is about power. It is about taking something you want from someone, by whatever means the rapist chooses. I believe that somewhere along the line the perpetrator was taught that "you can have/take what you want because you are: special, talented, wealthy, an athlete...." insert whatever statement/noun you want here. Defining rape as "twenty minutes of action", is utterly unacceptable. It really makes me wonder what this young man was taught. Based on that description, I'm going with entitlement. That is where the psychology of this type of rape happens. Opportunity combined with a feeling of entitlement. Then the behavior is then defended/justified through victim blaming. "She was drunk too, and passed out, so how would I know that she didn't want to have sex?"

Let's apply that "unconscious" and "alcohol" defense to other crimes, shall we? "Well your honor, Ms. Jones had been drinking. Ms. Jones passed out and was unconscious. How was my client know that he shouldn't: ...rob her? ...beat her? ...stab her? ...put his penis in her vagina? It's not like she told him not to!" This is theater of the absurd. And there is actually a way he could have known he shouldn't do any of those things...how? Here's how, because it's wrong. Just wrong. Plain and simple.

Moral fuckin' compass. That is all.


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