Trigger Warning: Sexual Violence
Brock, it has been three weeks since your name scarred headlines across every publication in the nation. It has been three weeks and I still flip through the details of the Stanford rape case in my head each day. I think about the powerful statement made by Survivor and by your own parents' public pleas. I still think about those now infamous twenty minutes.
Your dad says "twenty minutes of action" is no reason for you to go to jail. I wonder if he knows how much time you really stole. You stole moments of laughter and joy from Survivor. You stole countless well-rested nights from Survivor. You stole moments of affection from Survivor and from those she loves. You continue to steal time for every therapy session she will ever go to and for every pause she takes in believing her own self-worth.
Yes, you stole from Survivor, but in reality you stole from all Survivors.
Survivors cannot read the news or scroll through Facebook or turn on the TV or talk with friends or call home to their mother without hearing about the "baby-faced," "All-American" Stanford swimmer who got away with stealing. You have stolen time from all Survivors' healing. Every time they close their eyes your senior-class picture is indelibly imprinted inside their eyelids for an hour, or maybe a day, or a perhaps a whole week.
You stole time from every Survivor who painstakingly relived their "twenty minutes" and disclosed it to a peer, friend, or online community to testify that you are not an isolated incident. Because Survivors know that you are not the thing that goes bump in the night - you are the boy in their Psych class, their Freshman year hall mate, and the guy dancing behind them at the fraternity party their best friend dragged them to.
You are a culture saturated by sexual violence and a face all too familiar to the women of America. We have watched as men have pillaged our bodies through violent acts of sexual assault and rape. We have watched as these acts have been normalized and forgiven by the same system that groomed and created you.
You have grown up watching your fathers steal time. You watched men that looked like you plunder history books, claiming spaces and bodies that they never owned. You saw men that looked like you stand on the backs of women to take power. Did you see the broken spine? Did you see the broken spirit? Women break as men steal.
You now face jail time. Six months of time that your dad and your mom and your friends have sworn is being stolen from you. They think that the six months that should have been fourteen years is somehow unfair to you. They do not realize how much time you, and others like you, have stolen from Survivors. Although you can never give back the time you have taken, you should lose time from your own life for the minds and bodies your action has forever changed. Those twenty minutes could mark survivors' lives forever, but they should mark yours.