Crime vs. Culture
I use this image because, to me, I see it as the hand of justice with the snake of culture coiled around it, ready to strike, and this will be relevant to my series of posts.
I don’t want to start this out with some witty opening. That’s getting old, and this is a serious matter. I want to talk about this not because I am learned in the topic, but because I have seen and observed how society reacts to rape. It is disturbing and insulting to the “modern” century that we claim to live in. There are several concepts that I want to cover, and this would never blow over as a Facebook post.
Women and men alike suffer from this crime. I feel the need to reiterate that because it is often brushed over. We cannot associate crimes to genders. The reason why men who are raped do not come forward is because of that: society scoffs in the face of the idea that men are raped. How can a woman rape a man when women are inferior to men? That is a cultural mindset, and I have always felt that, for the sake of being helpful to victims of rape and not hurtful, that we as a society need to start removing culture from crime. Those two should never be put together. A portion of being a decent human being is realizing that laughing in the face of victims because of what society taught you about a concept is wrong and sick.
Men do not want to step forward as rape victims because men are supposed to be strong in the eyes of society. Removing that concept and allowing men to be human and not robots forged through the eyes of societal stereotypes is what will allow us to move forward. Rape is not a crime that occurs due to a person’s personality or gender. Rape is a crime that occurs when a rapist wants to dominate a victim, and it can be anyone. Rape doesn’t care if you’re a man or a woman, and neither should justice. If a man is raped, he has the right to come forward. If a woman is raped, she has the right to come forward. In the eyes of the law, there should be nothing else but serving justice and allowing the victims to see their rapist go to jail for their crimes. That is what should happen, however, we all know that that is not often what happens. Why? There are many reasons.
Privileged, we know, is one. Brock Turner is the face of that. He raped a young woman behind a dumpster during a party, got sentenced to 6 months in jail (which many of us found abhorrent) and only served three out of those six months, after he was released after displaying “good behavior”. He was white, he was a start athlete, and came from privileged. That is the formula for creating a monster who can get away with murder. How do we know that? Society. Culture. What we perceive in our lives. Mix that into the law, and Brock Turner is what you get.
In a perfect world, he would have served his time and the entire time, because he is a rapist and he deserves the maximum prison sentence. But because culture had a part to play in his trial, he got off easy. We know that is not okay, so why do we continue to allow culture to mix in with the law? Why do we stand for men like his father chalking an actual crime down to “20 minutes of action”. Instead of mugshots, we got his smiling yearbook photo. Instead of discussing a crime, we got in swimming records. Society only wants to focus on what will paint a white, male criminal from a privileged background with the most positive brush. If culture didn’t have a place in the law, which it doesn’t, that would not have happened.
Mixing in societal culture with the legal system is why everyday we are failing rape victims.
We need to view rape as a crime, not as a culture. Rape Culture is the same thing as Legal Culture. It’s like mixing oil and water. They do not and should not ever go together. When you take a cultural aspect into a courtroom, you get your Brock Turners, and once again we are left sitting here, wondering what is wrong with the court system. Why do women not come forward more? Why do men not come forward, essentially, at all? Why do rapists get lenient sentences? Why aren’t we doing more? All it takes it removing culture from the court room. Look at a case as it is, and do not bring society into it.
Brock Turner is not a student or star athlete. He is a rapist. He raped a woman. He committed a crime. If that was all that was on the judge’s mind, he would not have only gotten three months in prison.
That is all for Part 1, I will post Part 2 soon!