ColumnistsVogue Williams

Vogue: The way rape victims are treated is nothing short of disgusting

Brock Allen Turner
Brock Allen Turner

I was disgusted reading the news on the rape case involving Brock Allen Turner in Palo Alto, California.

I think it shook the whole world that this man was only sentenced to six months in prison for the rape of a young student. 

He was originally charged for the rape of an intoxicated person and the rape of an unconscious person, but after DNA evidence it was dropped. 

The case then continued with a lesser charge of assault to commit rape of an intoxicated or unconscious person, penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object and penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object. 

California state law defines rape as penetration by the penis and in this case it did not occur, but to me Turner is a rapist. 

He took advantage of a girl that was intoxicated, he violated and assaulted her and left her behind the dumpster where he had committed the crime.

This young girl now has to live her life with the horrible thoughts of what has happened to her. 

There is no end for her, it’s a constant pain that will never leave her. 

I have watched documentaries on rapes and sexual assaults in American colleges and have seen the way they are covered up. 

A college doesn’t want this associated with them so it tries to cover it all up so they can continue to receive funding. 

The victim impact statement in this case made me feel sick to my stomach. I worry for anyone who is assaulted, as the way in which victims are treated is nothing short of disgusting. 

I was filming one of my shows a couple of weeks ago and I met a lawyer who is working on a rape/revenge porn case. What she told me was chilling. The victim went to the police in the UK to report the rape, which had been filmed and put online. The police told her that she had no pubic hair so was quite clearly up for it. 

I mean, just imagine being told that because of the way you groom yourself you couldn’t have been raped. 

I can understand why any victim would be terrified of reporting a rape when they come up against things like that. 

In the Turner case, Judge Aaron Persky defended his decision on giving a six-month sentence, citing his age and lack of criminal history as factors in the decision.

“A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him… I think he will not be a danger to others,” he said. 

Why does it matter what impact it will have on him, what about the impact on the victim's life? 

Her life will never be the same after what happened and the only thing that could possibly make it more bearable is for her attacker to pay for what he did. 

The American prison system exasperates me. You have people as young as 12 serving 20 years for stealing a car and then you have Turner serving a measly six months.

Where is the fairness in that? 

Here is just a part of the victim’s moving impact statement: “I tried to push it out of my mind, but it was so heavy I didn’t talk, I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t interact with anyone. 

“After work, I would drive to a secluded place to scream. I became isolated from the ones I loved most.”

America must act on crazy gun laws

My heart hurts for the lives lost in a popular gay Orlando nightclub last Saturday evening. 

The worst mass shooting in America left 49 people dead and 53 wounded, gunned down by Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old Isis fanatic and homophobe. 

The gunman went on a shooting rampage, killing most of his victims in the first stage of the assault, after which he calmly called the police and told them about further carnage that was about to occur. It was a terrorist and homophobic attack, carried out by a man who had access to firearms.

So maybe it’s time for America to look at their gun laws? No, even after one of their worst terrorist attacks, the National Rifle Association will still find an excuse to keep the gun laws the same. 

The loss of 49 people won’t even make a mark on their gun culture, because it’s an American’s constitutional right to own a gun. I am so glad I don’t live in a country where almost anyone can have a gun. If every country had the same laws as America we would be seeing a lot more shootings like this tragic one that hit Orlando.