Last week, we shuddered in disgust at Brock Turner, the 20-year-old Stanford student who was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman behind a dumpster while she was unconscious and had the audacity to blame his crimes on the culture of drinking on college campuses. As if sexual assault is what happens when you drink. (FACT: Nuh uh. Sexual assault is what happens when you sexually assault someone.)
We women and friends-of-women collectively shuddered and choked on our own vomit at the absurdly light six-month sentence Turner received, and the are-you-effing-kidding-me?!?! claim by Turner’s father that his son’s life shouldn’t be ruined over “20 minutes of action.” (Wherein “action” is one heckuva real gentle euphemism for sexually assaulting a woman behind a dumpster.)
And you know what? We aren’t quite done shuddering because Brock Turner isn’t done whining that somehow, he is the victim. Won’t someone please shed some tears for poor Brock Turner because all the mean newspapers have written about him and his heinous crimes:
— Jenny Kutner (@jennykutner) June 8, 2016
Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. If only he weren’t so super awesome at swimming, he wouldn’t be famous now for [sorry, but all-caps is required here] DIGITALLY RAPING AN UNCONSCIOUS WOMAN BEHIND A DUMPSTER! Ugh. UGH! Brock Turner, you get a gold medal in not getting it at freaking all.
And it’s not as if Brock Turner is the one guy in all the galaxy who doesn’t get it at freaking all. If that were the case, we wouldn’t have an epidemic of sexual assault and violence on our college campuses. Even the fancy private college campuses like Stanford:
Stanford University reported a sexual assault every two weeks in the three years leading up to Brock Turner’s rape of an unconscious woman in 2015.
The elite college reported 26 rapes on campus in 2012, 2013, and 2014, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education, or about one sexual assault every 14 days.
Then, almost exactly two weeks into 2015, another woman was raped on campus.
And those were just the reported assaults. At one school. At other schools, and in our military, and across the country, it’s the same. Or worse. So yeah, we have a problem.
During a speech Tuesday at the United State of Women Summit, Vice President Joe Biden offered a solution. He said it’s on you — that means you, you boys and you men — to change the way our society treats women. Tell ’em, Joe:
“You guys in the audience, we’ve gotta overcome this social discomfort of calling out the misogyny that happens when no women are present: the locker room talk, the bar banter, the rape jokes,” Biden said Tuesday in a speech at the United State of Women Summit in Washington, D.C. “As a man, maybe it makes you uncomfortable, but if you let it pass because you wanna become of the one guys, you become an accomplice.” […]
“As I point out to these young men on college campuses — it’s a fraternity party, you see a co-ed that is absolutely stone drunk, you see one of your brothers walking her upstairs,” Biden said, setting up a hypothetical scenario. “If you don’t have the courage to walk up and say, ‘Hey, Jack, not in my house,’ you are an accomplice. You are an accomplice.”
In case that isn’t quite clear enough, let the vice president spell it out for you nice and slow:
“I speak directly to the young men and point out it’s their responsibility. Alcohol abuse on campuses certainly makes the problem worse, but the answer isn’t to shame women for drinking,” he said. “We have to educate everyone about the importance of respect and mutual and affirmative consent. And consent isn’t, ‘Well, I didn’t hear no.’”
“Sex without consent is rape,” he forcefully continued. “It is full-stop rape. And if you cannot consent because you are unconscious, it is rape. It is rape. Period.”
Not all men are rapists. Not all men are bad dudes. Some men are even pretty OK dudes. (And our heartfelt thanks to the both of you. Really.) But as the vice president said, all men have a responsibility to speak up and speak and do their part to end our nation’s shameful epidemic of sexual violence and misogyny. And if you’re not actively being part of the solution, then yeah, you ARE part of the problem.
Here’s this week’s good, bad, and hideously ugly:
- Are you a seething straight white Real ‘Merican who seeks a soulmate to share your love of super-sexist, racist, pretty-much-fascist presidential candidates? There’s an app for that!
TrumpSingles.com, a new dating site started by 35-year-old David Goss, matches up singles who all share an affinity for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.
- Even though the feminists won, sexism is dead, and it’s time to finally let men catch a break, not so much, ACTUALLY:
The [LedBetter Gender Equality] index ranks 230 brands and companies based on female representation on the board and female representation in executive leadership on a scale of 0 to 100. There are a handful of brands — including a handful of beauty brands — who flunked, because they have absolutely zero women represented on their board or in executive leadership.
Do give yourself a chuckle on click on the index to see how many companies that sure seem targeted to women are run mostly, if not exclusively, by men. Kotex, for example, the maker of tampons, pads and panty liners? Yeah. Its board is dominated by men. Its competitor Tampax is too. The highest ranking brand is H&M, but that’s not saying much. Sure, its womantastic board is “only” 42 percent men, but its CEO is a dude and dudes comprise 59 percent of its executive leadership. And that is literally the best corporate American can do. For now. Maybe we’re not quite done just yet.
- In May, Oklahoma’s very conservative, very anti-abortion governor, Mary Fallin, vetoed a bill that would have criminalized abortion. All abortion. Not because she woke up on the women-should-control-their-own-bodies side of the bed that day, but because even she recognized that such a blatantly unconstitutional law would inevitably lead to litigation the broke-ass state of Oklahoma can’t afford. So you have to wonder why she signing this bill into law isn’t just as bad an idea:
Information distributed as the result of house Bill 2797, also known as the Humanity of the Unborn Child Act, “shall clearly and consistently teach that abortion kills a living human being.” […]
Oklahoma Democrats did at least try to include things like comprehensive sex ed and and family planning services in the bill, but both amendments were shot down by Republicans. So, yes, teens will learn that life begins at conception but, curiously, they will not be taught about sex or how to prevent pregnancy.
Great plan, governor! Direct the state to spend money it doesn’t have to teach kids in public school that abortion is bad, m’kay. Because if you just tell kids abortion is bad — and you don’t even bother teaching comprehensive sex education so kids will know how to actually avoid pregnancy and reduce abortion rates — that will surely create an “abortion-free society.” Oh, except that it won’t. There’s no such thing.
- This probably won’t come as a surprise to you moms out there, but “stay-at-home” moms are not actually just staying at home and eating bon bons and watching soaps. According to a recent survey, they might identify as “stay-at-home” moms, but they’re working too:
the moms they surveyed: 62 percent contribute to the household income; 34 percent work an average of 4.5 hours a day and earn income; 23 percent volunteer often and are “heavily involved with school and activities”; 19 percent are parents with children under the age of 2, 59 percent of whom plan to go back to work in the near future; and 12 percent are caregivers with special-needs children.
Slate writer Elissa Strauss asks some important questions about the ways we think and talk about work and caregiving, as if caregiving isn’t work, to “illustrate how muddy, and ridiculous, the notion of a ‘stay-at-home’ parent is. It’s time to ditch the term.” Amen, sister.
- Now sit back, relax, and watch Donald Trump get his ass kicked by a girl. An Elizabeth Warren-shaped girl:
Join us next Wednesday for another round of reporting. Unless we’ve won the war by then.