We live in a world of fast news and short attention spans. No longer are the days of newspapers stands and local news on the front pages. Now we live in an age where anything and everything can be a news story as quickly as people can write about it and publish it on their blog or news site. So while I believe the Brock Turner rape case is certainly getting the attention and outrage I feel it deserves, I know it’s unfortunately short lived. In the past few weeks, the internet has shown immense anger and heated opinions about restrooms, and the Cincinnati Zoo gorilla just to name a few. Some of these cases warrant the anger and outrage they receive, and others not so much.
I know that by now, people are probably sick of talking about The Stanford case. It has so many deplorable pieces…the slap-on-the-wrist sentence. The letter from his father, which can be read by clicking the image to the left. The support from the Dayton, Ohio band. The victim blaming. The use of alcohol as a means to condemn the victim but excuse Turner. And all this is before we even discuss the inhumane act itself. So many parts of this case have been so hard to hear everyone has had a reaction. And for the first time in a long time, it seems most people agree. People are speaking up about this case that have never talked about the issue of sexual assault before. And honestly, that gives me a glimmer of hope. So before we completely shift our focus to the next news story that’s sure to catch our attention, I need to ask one final thing.
Please don’t forget this. Don’t forget how disgusted this case made you feel. Don’t forget how angry you are at how how the justice system failed this girl. Don’t forget how absurd the jail sentence is. Sexual violence thrives in silence. When we don’t participate in that silence, it helps to fight against the act itself. We have to keep talking. Every case of sexual assault is as disgusting as the Stanford case in it’s own right and deserves our utmost contempt. Sexual violence is disgusting – and not just when it makes the news.
So the next time you hear a story about someone being sexually assaulted, be fucking angry. Don’t ever lose that anger. Let it fuel your compassion for the people who are directly affected. Remember that anger the next time there are accusations against your favorite celebrity and you just don’t want to believe it. Remember that anger the next time someone on your timeline talks about their own experience, and it makes you uncomfortable so you don’t say anything. Please remember. Every case of sexual assault should make us this angry. Don’t stop speaking up about it next week when we hear about a different news story that evokes our emotions. Just because Brock Turner will leave our field of vision doesn’t mean that the issue of sexual assault is gone. It isn’t. And it won’t even begin to leave until every case makes us as angry as this one did.
If you need help remembering those feelings, I leave you with CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield reading the letter written by the woman Brock Turner assaulted. It’s hard to hear, but it’s real. If you think it’s hard to hear or talk about sexual assault, imagine how hard it is to experience.