Christians & Consent: Powerful Responses to the Brock Turner Case

I wrote this piece for (a sister site of where I'm the editor) and because it's a topic I feel extremely strongly about, I wanted to share an excerpt here. You can find the piece in full here.

She opened with, “You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today.” Reading that sentence was all it took for there to be chills on my body and tears in my eyes.

We know her as the Stanford rape victim. In court, they called her Emily Doe to protect her privacy. We know the name Brock Turner now, because he was the rapist. He was the boy who forced himself onto a woman who was unconscious from drinking, he was the boy who violated her and didn’t even know her name, he was the boy who got off with a mere six months in prison for a crime that deserved more than a decade.

His own father defended him, saying that jail time at all is “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”

I’m horrified by that.

The issue here is not that two young people had sex out of wedlock. (Yes, the Bible says it’s a sin.) The issue here is not that a woman drank to the point of unconsciousness. (Yes, the Bible says not to get drunk.)

The issue here is that a boy raped a girl. There is no other way to define it or justify what he did. She did not say yes, she did not consent, she was not aware of what was happening, and he violated her anyway.

John Pavlovitz wrote a response to Brock Turner’s father, where he said: “The idea that your son has never violated another woman next to a dumpster before isn’t a credit to his character. We don’t get kudos for only raping one person in our lifetime. I don’t believe your son is a monster but he acted like one and that needs to be accounted for. To be sure, this decision is not the sum total of Brock’s life, but it is an important part of the equation and it matters deeply.”

She did not ask for his body to be on hers. She did not ask for foreign objects to be used against her like they were. She did not ask to be on the ground by a dumpster, she did not ask for her body to be hurt and used for the pleasure of another person. She did not consent to any of this.

A woman, no matter what state she is in, drunk or sober or conscious or passed out, is not an object.

You cannot look at this and say, “oh, boys will be boys.”

Because, “When the prevailing thinking is boys will be boys — girls will be garbage,” Ann Voskamp writes. “And that is never the heart of God.”

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