Frat Boys Don’t Get Prison Time

The potential impact these cases are having on young girls and boys.

 

I woke up this morning to the news that a former Baylor University fraternity president who was accused of rape will not see a day in jail. He won’t serve time, he won’t have to register as a sex offender and because of a plea deal, four counts of sexual assault were reduced to unlawful restraint, three years deferred adjudication probation and $400 in fines and counseling. To add insult to injury, the deferred adjudication could mean that the charges could eventually be dismissed if he doesn’t violate the terms of his probation. [1]

 

In a victim impact statement, she called out both the assistant district attorney and county district attorney for not having enough respect for her, to show up to the hearing. Her words for the accused angry and understandably disappointed in what transpired. A brief excerpt of what she said as reported by the Washington Post: “It must be horrible to you,” she said, “to know what you did to me. To know you are a rapist. To know that you almost killed me. To know that you ruined my life, stole my virginity and stole many other things from me.” [2]

 

As a survivor her statement struck me deeply. As a 44-year-old woman, however, I read that statement with a veil of cynicism because I do not believe he will feel much else other than, victorious. Here is where I plug in that I am obviously biased, given my personal experience on the matter and do not have a psychology degree that might give me further insight into the mind of a rapist. But I think that when you have a legal system that for all it’s truly remarkable qualities still allows rapists to walk our streets without so much as a slap on the wrist, and like the Stanford University case of Brock Turner, where the judge felt a harsh sentence (despite a conviction for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman) would ruin the athlete’s life and therefore only imposed 6-months, you are telling young women and men that they don’t matter. In fact, you are telling all women and men that if they should be assaulted that it’s better to keep silent. Why? Because it’s just so darned hard to prosecute and get a conviction in an assault case. If I sound a bit acerbic, good. It’s intentional. No one plans on going to a party and getting raped. So, forgive me if I forgot to bring my DNA kit with me.

 

It angers me that girls, especially, are taught to travel in packs. They are taught not to dress a certain way in school because it might bring unwanted attention from a boy. If you’re at a club be wary of who is around you and watch your drink lest someone drops a rufie in it. If they’re raped, they’re still held somewhat accountable for what occurred. Why were you at the party alone? Why were you dressed like that? Why were you walking back to your apartment that late, by yourself? If you were drinking, even you’re of age it’s worse. Were you watching your drink? How much did you drink? Didn’t you think it unwise to drink so much? Oh, and if there’s more boys than girls at a party it’s sure to draw a raised brow. Didn’t you think it strange there were so few girls? Weren’t you concerned? However, nowhere, that I’ve seen, is there the same kind of scrutiny with boys. Nowhere, that I’m aware of, do they teach boys how they should act. It is a very imbalanced way we show children and teens how to regard one another and respect one another’s boundaries. How then, we have the audacity to tell them they are equals, I don’t know. I’m sorry, but Johnny and Jane are not equal when Jane has to constantly worry about how she is dressed, whether she is having too much fun at a party with some guy friends or whether she can go out at all, if her girl friends can’t make it. What this is teaching girls is that if they are raped it’s somehow their fault. You could tell them all day that it’s not, but when society tells them that they can’t go to school in spaghetti straps because Tommy might get a hard-on seeing a bare shoulder, there is a problem. And it’s sure as hell not the girl.

 

Maybe it shouldn’t anger me as much as it does. Maybe I should take consolation in the fact that we put away many rapists and just let it go, but I can’t. Is it wrong for me to want something better for all women and men? Something that doesn’t look at the victim as though they had some unseen hand in it all, or that doesn’t penalize them for not doing enough to stop it or prevent it from happening? These cases, while maybe not the norm is getting the spotlight in social media and the news enough where they are shaping the perceptions of young and old survivors. For a victim, it may make them reconsider telling anyone that they were assaulted especially if the person was regarded highly in some way. It shapes the entirety of their lives when the rapist gets a deal and can walk away virtually scot-free, while the victim- the survivor, never gets to walk away scot-free. The rapist, no matter how much you move on and continue with your life, leaves an ineradicable stain there. An imprint of the horror experienced. This kind of permanent violation should come with a price. And I won’t stop being angry about it. I won’t stop fighting for something better for our sons and daughters.

 

 

 

Citations

[1,2] Rosenberg, Eli and Phillips, Kristine (Dec. 11th, 2018) Accused of rape, former Baylor fraternity president gets no jail time after plea deal Washington Post

 

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