The Brock Turner case has stirred endless controversy in the news. Partly because it a involved a promising young Stanford student and partly because of the endless publicity and public outrage over college sexual assault cases. Men, can and should learn an important lesson from this case.
The lines of what constitutes rape and sexual assault is a deadly gray area. In today’s hostile climate against Men, even the slightest touching can constitute sexual battery, land you in prison and have you labeled as a sex offender for the rest of your life. We should learn an important lesson from the tragedy of the Brock Turner case and educate ourselves, our friends and children on this issue.
What is interesting about the Brock Turner case, is that even though it has been branded by the media as a college campus “rape case”, interestingly, Mr. Turner was not convicted of rape, as legally defined. Rather, he was tried and convicted of three felonies: assault with the intent to commit rape, sexual penetration with a foreign object of an intoxicated person and sexual penetration with a foreign object of an unconscious person. The alleged victim, a 23-year-old Palo Alto native and UC Santa Barbara graduate, had drunk whisky and vodka and had a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit. She said she had no memory of the encounter and woke up hours later at the Valley Medical Center in San Jose, where she was told she may have been sexually assaulted. Turner testified that the victim, who was 22 at the time, was conscious and that he never intended to rape her. His blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit.
In California, as in other states, there are a whole host of sexual assault and battery laws on the books that Men are simply not aware of and do not fully understand.
Under the lengthy definitions under Cal. Penal Code Section 261, rape includes sexual intercourse by means of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the person or another. The definition of “duress” is very broad and includes actual and implied threats.
Under the same statute, the definition of “rape” also includes sex with a person who is unable to give lawful consent because of their legal status as a minor or due to some other disability, or is intoxicated, unconscious or asleep. The definition of rape also includes sex with someone, “who was not aware, knowing, perceiving, or cognizant that the act occurred.” (See Penal Code Sec. 261). The definitions of rape, are extremely broad and often accusers of rape can fit their story into any one of the many definitions of rape.
It’s important for Men to know that rape is not the only sexual assault law on the books. In California and other states, as demonstrated by the Brock Turner case, sexual assault does not require that the offender engage in actual penetration or sexual intercourse. And it is important to understand that you can be convicted of sexual assault even if you are involved with the accuser in an on-going sexual relationship.
Even broader is the crime of “sexual battery”, which prohibits touching, against that person’s will, the intimate part of another person for purposes of sexual gratification, arousal, or abuse. (See Cal. Penal Code 243.4 PC). This crime can include for example, touching the breast or butt of that person (even if it is over their clothes) if that act can be construed as having taken place against another person’s desires or wishes.
Now, I wasn’t at the Brock Turner trial and do not have the benefit of looking at all the facts of the case, but what is undisputed is that both Mr. Turner and the alleged victim were highly intoxicated, her more than him, and that Mr. Turner did not have sexual intercourse with the alleged victim.
He was also not responsible for getting her drunk and her unconsciousness or semi-unconscious state. The alleged victim herself did not have any first hand account of what happened other than what was later reported to her by people who arrived at the scene and what was then reported in the media.
Judge Persky sentenced Mr. Turner to 6-months in jail and probation as opposed to some lengthy prison sentence. Feminist groups, the media and uninformed citizens were outraged over this sentence, even though they were not fully informed of the actual facts of the case.
But for Men, the verdict is out. Since this case and the irrational public hysteria that has followed, the media and politicians are calling for harsher penalties against Men. For example, in California, following accusations of lenient sentencing in the Brock Turner case, California legislators on June 20 introduced Assembly Bill 2888, which would effectively mandate a minimum sentence of three years in prison for those convicted of sexual assault. Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), Assemblymen Evan Low (D-Campbell) and Bill Dodd (D-Napa) are the three Northern Californian legislators behind the bill.
As a result of the Brock Turner case, you should expect that Men will be prosecuted for sexual assault cases at a much higher frequency and given much stiffer penalties.
The police and law enforcement will not be on your side. Given the public hysteria and increased lobbying by victim’s advocacy groups, the politicians and law enforcement authorities will almost always side with the complaining “victim” of the alleged crime, even it is a “she said” and “he said” situation.
It is almost certain that even the most casual sexual encounters can and will be construed as “rape” or “sexual assault” at the hands of an alleged victim seeking to use law enforcement against Men.
Be vigilant, be wise, and make sure you know your partner or date well before you decide you want to engage in a sexual encounter with them. After all, it will be very easy for an alleged victim to accuse you of a crime. And it will be her word against yours.
As a Man, you will always certainly pay the price in this situation. If the Brock Turner case has taught Men anything, it is be careful, know the laws, and know your accusers.