By Gloria Adeyeye
And when she got her voice back she spoke to you, and me and all of us together, all women and men, all girls and boys, and all victims.
The worst thing about being raped is that life still goes on; it does not stop because of you.
Living in the midst of your problems, it is almost like learning to walk again. You have to go on with life.
Rape is often left unspoken in an African home and still may not get traction on the African continent; we are taken advantage of by extended family members, by college professors by frat boys.
In Nigeria news broke in March 2016, that a man parading as a police officer in Cross River State allegedly raped a 23-year-old girl with his two friends in January. Suspect Idongesit Effiong, 29 years old, was using his fake police officer uniform to commit heinous crimes according to Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, John Eluu. According to Straits Times “former tennis champion Bob Hewitt will be jailed in South Africa after losing an appeal on Thursday against a six-year sentence for raping young girls he coached decades ago. Australia-born Hewitt, 76, was convicted last year of raping two girls aged 12 and 13 in the early 1980s, and of indecently assaulting a 17-year-old girl in 1994.” Even the United Nations, an international and powerful organization, has a systemic rape culture where UN officers have committed rape, specifically against women in war torn areas like C.A.R, Eritrea, and Uganda.
Eye contact, a soft touch, a free spirit, these and what would be considered friendly social cues are misconstrued by people with a demented mind. Far worse is the idea of unspoken consent based on someone, male or female being drunk, if one does not consent to sex when they are inebriated or when they aren’t it is rape. Period. There is just no way around it.
I was inspired to write this piece by Brock Turner, a promising 20-year-old man and a star swimmer at Stanford University, California, as his father wrote in a scathing letter in his son’s defense. Nevertheless, Brock Turner is a convicted rapist, there is just no way around it. Dan Turner’s letter to the judge included a plea that “his [Brock’s] life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20-plus years of life.” And Dan went on to write Brock is “totally committed to educating other college-age students about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity.” In our pervasive rape culture somehow the victim’s alcohol consumption and “sexual promiscuity” allows for the perpetrator to be the victim.
She allegedly learned of her story at the same time everyone else did. On her phone, as the news broke, she learned in graphic detail. She was rescued by 2 cyclists who had seen Brock thrusting her up and down unconscious and half naked, behind a dumpster, in an alley. They tackled him down until the police came. One of the two Swedish cyclist told CBS News:
“She was unconscious.The entire time. I checked her and she didn’t move at all.”
The victim’s attacker, Brock Turner was sentenced to 6 months and 3 years probation for three counts of sexual assault. He was convicted, getting 36 YES’s of unanimous guilt, by 12 jurors, 3 counts of sexual assault and with this she was validated about her convictions. At the end the judge gave him a shorter sentence because of the “severe impact” it would have on him.
Since he was in one of the best schools, he must be shown leniency? A young man with a promising future as an Olympic swimmer, he was a Stanford athlete. I ask, as she asked why he is different from the guy who does this same thing in the community college, or a small town husband. We all know of people who have spent time in jail for rape, but why is he different? Are they saying he should not be held accountable for this? This short jail stint accounts for the reason why repeat offenders will do the same thing over and over. Let’s cross our fingers and hope it will not happen again.
Listen; rape is rape, if I did not say yes, it means I said no.
She is the face of rape in 2016 in the USA and she got her voice back, in her impact statement obtained by BuzzFeed she writes:
You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today.
The story of rape is not new but the injustice involved puts it in perspective. Why are we judged as victims, why are they quick to say we caused it. That we allowed it to happen, it speaks to gender and power held by a few and not by all.
Gloria Adeyeye is a freelance journalist and event planner based in the U.S. She loves art, history, and writing stories.