Monday, October 17, 2016

Common, Not Normal

TRIGGER WARNING: Graphic description of sexual assault.

We can clutch our pearls all we want over the grotesque misogynous circle jerk of Howard Stern and Donald Trump, but our quivering with moral outrage seems a tad disingenuous when one of those men is this year's Republican Presidential candidate and the other served as a judge on "America's Got Talent," where he somehow managed to serve four years without referring to a single competitor as a "piece of ass." Perhaps we simply feel no need to state out loud what we already know: There is, by and large, very little consequence for misogyny.  Brock Turner's judicial abortion of a sentence was outrageous not because it was an outlier, some monstrous anomaly, but precisely the opposite: because it was so utterly predictable, just the most recent in a long line of egregious examples of how utterly consequence-free rape is.

For the rapist, anyway.

To describe the consequences on the other side of that inequality, I don't think I can touch the statement penned by Turner's victim in terms of its eloquence or power.  But maybe I can shed light on what precedes sexual assault for so many women in America--not the immediate precedents dissected by juries, the media, and legions of armchair psychologists, things like clothing choices and intoxication and dating history and race and socioeconomic status and and and.  But the cultural morass that normalizes sexual objectification, degradation, and ultimately assault from virtually the moment the doctor says "It's a girl!"

What follows is one person's experience only--mine--and I offer it up, like the Brock Turner sentence, not because it is anomalous, but rather precisely because it is so utterly, devastatingly commonplace.