Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Brock Turner: There are words & they are these

There are so many remarkable things about the victim’s statement in the Brock Turner case it is hard to know where to start.

One clear starting point is to read it.  Read all of it.  Right to the end.  If you have children, give it to them to read.  Daughters and, most especially, sons.  This is as essential reading as any textbook a schoolchild will ever see.  It is a very long document but no word is wasted.  The length of time it takes to read a mere thousandth of a fraction of the time its author will have to live with the effect of what was done to her.

Taking what is not yours involves the expropriation of power.  Victims do not lose just that which is taken but, much more significantly, their power.  When sex is taken victims lose their bodily integrity and such a total loss, such complete powerlessness, is unimaginable to those that have not experienced it.

Trying to render experiences such as these into a coherent narrative is a superhuman task.  A trite expression of the social media age is: there are no words.  And true it is that no words can really communicate from one human to another the total devastation affected by the theft of bodily and sexual autonomy.  However that has not deterred this truly exceptional woman from making a painstakingly considered and finely wrought attempt.

An experience which would prompt animalistic anguish in anyone has nonetheless not prevented this extraordinary person from crafting a document of unrelenting reasonableness and power. 
To an outsider familiar with American jail sentences of 100 years plus the six months imposed on Brock Turner seems a mystifyingly inadequate punishment.  But, as the victim observes, prison sentences are served.  The reality is that the truest and wholly deserved punishment for this still very young man is that whatever he achieves in his life these twelve pages of denunciation and defiance will be his epitaph.

I salute her courage and her power.

No comments:

Post a Comment