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White rapist freed

Commentary by Sol Marquez |
March 19, 2017
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Los Angeles, CA - Brock Turner is a 22-year-old white Stanford University swimmer jock who nobody cared about, until he decided to rape an unconscious woman (“Emily Doe”) behind a dumpster. His disgusting face should be familiar to all of you.

Turner faced five counts against him: two for rape, two for felony sexual assault, and one for attempted rape, but was only charged with three counts of felony sexual assault. Judge Aaron Persky, who let Turner off with the slap on the wrist sentence has a victim-blaming history. In 2011 Perksy allowed into evidence seven photos of a gang-rape survivor taken at a party she attended - approximately a year after the gang rape. The photos would help get accused members of the De Anza basketball off the hook.

The most unfortunate part of it all is that the survivor remembered nothing from the assault, so the entire trial would be molded and twisted by Turner. Turner completely denied any guilt or wrong-doing, and even stated at one point he thought the survivor had consented when she “rubbed his back.” Per Turner’s attorney, the survivor had only said three words the entire night, “Yes.”

“Emily Doe” will always be remembered as the brave survivor who addressed her attacker in the courtroom by writing him a jaw dropping letter. In her letter, the survivor addressed the following: Turner never once admitted to his guilt and learned nothing from the trial, when the media blasted Turner, they always included his swim scores to make people sympathize with him, and the two Swedish students who caught Turner helped convict him.

As women, and especially as working-class and oppressed nationality women, we are not surprised that Turner would be released so soon. Turner’s own father said his son’s “20 minutes of action” should not determine the rest of Turner’s life. The survivor was subjected to horrible scrutiny and questioning; all of which perpetuate a long U.S. history of victim-blaming and a biased opinion that women who are raped are responsible for their own rapes.

In freeing Turner, the U.S. justice system shows its priorities; white, upper-strata men are free to rape and attack women. Meanwhile, working-class undocumented Mexicans and Central Americans are deported for trying to simply provide for themselves and their families. And Black men and Chicano men are gunned down for buying iced tea, as with 17-year-old Trayvon Martin from Sandford, Florida, or graffitiing a wall like 14-year-old Jesse Romero from East LA.

Today I learned a valuable lesson: if we want justice, we have to make the U.S. ungovernable. Stop rape, not teach women how to “not get raped.” Let us liberate ourselves from the oppression we experience not only in our neighborhoods, workplaces, while we try to jog or walk, but even in our homes. And as a working-class Chicana, say you side with us and not the well-off, white, rapists like Brock Turner.

Sol Marquez is a Chicana member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization.