Tag Archives: victim

Does the Reaction to the Stanford Rapist Signal a Cultural Shift?

By now you’ve probably heard that Stanford student Brock Allen Turner was sentenced to only 6 months in prison for raping an unconscious woman at a party. You’ve probably also heard his father shamelessly attempt to downplay Turner’s actions as “20 minutes of action”.

Hopefully, you’ve also read the letter written by the rape survivor. In it, she breaks down many of the myths around rape, myths Turner’s defence used to attack her testimony and represent Turner as some kind of victim instead. Her heartbreaking personal account has broken down the defences of almost everyone who has read it (except Turner and his father, it would seem). According to Buzzfeed, one of the main sites to release her letter, her words have “gone viral” in a way few conversations about sexual assault ever do.

And as the word has spread, almost everyone has gotten behind this brave woman. Her story has brought light to the problem of systemic injustices, like light penalties for many cases of sexual assault and disproportionate penalties based on racial or economic background.

More than anything her story has prompted a united public outrage. Every comment I have read expresses distain and anger towards Turner and sympathy for his victim. Even internet trolls who would normally find a reason to challenge the victim’s story (i.e. some members of the Men’s Rights Reddit page) admit that “outrage over this issue is legitimate” (although their comments inevitably lead back to criticizing feminism).

In some ways it’s encouraging to witness the attack on Brock Turner. It seems like we’re experiencing a massive shift in the way we talk about rape and sexual violence. As this story has unfolded we’ve seen few if any attempts to slut shame or victim blame in the media or public conversation.

As glad as I am that this conversation has come out in favour of the victim, I can’t help but wonder if the public condemnation of Turner actually signals for a yearning for justice, or if perhaps other factors are at play. I’ve been struggling with two questions in particular. Continue reading

Can’t Hang ‘Em Thrice: Dzhokhar and the Death Penalty

Friday saw a federal jury sentence Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the culprits behind the horrific bombing of the 2013 Boston marathon, to death by lethal injection. When I saw the headline pop up on my news feed, all I could think to myself was-

What’s the point?

Readers, no one- even the defendant- disputes Tsarnaev’s guilt. Tsarnaev’s cowardly attack murdered three innocent people and wounded over a quarter thousand others. That Dzhokhar and his brother, Tamerlan (killed in a standoff with police shortly after the bombing) are monsters is likewise not in question.

But with all of that in mind- the guilt, the heinous nature of the act- what’s a lethal injection going to solve?

Now this isn’t the first time I’ve talked about the death penalty on this blog, but I think there’s hardly a better example of how fundamentally useless the thing is. And don’t for a minute think this is some bleeding-heart outcry against killing- I’ve got no problem with that, and I actually think we don’t resort to violence nearly as fast or often as we should.

I. Just. Don’t. Get. It.

What are we trying to acomplish here?

It’s Not Justice

It’s not.

Tsarnaev murdered three people and mutilated hundreds of others. If we take a balance-the-scales approach to justice (which I don’t- but that’s another discussion), then we’d have to find some way of killing and reviving him three times and subject him to years of physical and emotional torture.

We can’t do that.

Morally or practically.

You can pick whichever you want, but it’s just not going to happen. If you want to you make justice your sticking point, then fantastic. And I don’t say that with an iota of sarcasm, I really and truly to laud that. But again, this isn’t justice. Continue reading

Stripping Jennifer Lawrence: The Difference Between a Scandal and a Sex Crime

If you’ve been online today you’ve probably read the statement Jennifer Lawrence made about the nude photos of her, which were hacked and published online in late August. In case you haven’t, I’ve included part of her response below:

“Just because I’m a public figure, just because I’m an actress, does not mean that I asked for this… It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime. It is a sexual violation. It’s disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change.”

Along with Lawrence’s response to the “scandal”, Vanity Fair featured this photo of her on the cover.

Continue reading

Talking [And Continuing to Talk] About Sexual Assault in the Animation Industry

Last night Adventure Time storyboard revisionist Emily Partridge went to twitter to identify Skyler Page, creator of the Cartoon Network series Clarence, as the person who had sexually assaulted her, an incident she revealed earlier via the same method.

Cartoon Brew covered all of this about as thoroughly as it could be, so I’m not going to hash out for all of you exactly what went down. They compile tweets from not only Partridge, but also others in the industry such as Regular Show storyboard artist Ryan Pequin and Steven Universe writer and board artist Lamar Abrams. Again, it would be great if you could read it.

This isn’t going to be a post on mental health, which is a factor that can’t be ignored in this incident, and which reading through the article above would help explain. The reason I’m coming to the internet and adding my drop to what’s already becoming an overflowing bucket is because of how I initially heard about it, as well as follow-up commentary along the exact same lines. Continue reading

Why I Do Need Feminism

This was originally going to be another of “Gordon’s Happy Monday Posts”. I’m serious, folks, I had every intention of changing things up from my typical doom-and-gloom tone and write about some lighthearted stuff for once. That’s what I had prepared for today. Wouldn’t ya know it, but I just happened to come across something so supremely stupid that I felt compelled to switch out our happy, uplifting topic with another message from the trenches.

What was that thing that robbed you all of sunshine and butterflies and stuff? It was a series of pictures on imgur of young women holding up signs explaining why they “didn’t need feminism” [sourced from the Who Needs Feminism? tumblr -Ed.]. I scrolled down, hoping at first they’d just be sarcastic comments, and once it became clear that wasn’t happening, that they’d really just be criticisms of the most off-the-wall elements of the movement (as Kat mentioned in her post this past Saturday).

They were not.

So let me take this time to go through ’em, picture by picture, and explain just how wrong they are. Continue reading