Treating Sexual Relations Too Lightly

The old popular song, "Seasons in the Sun" (Terry Jacks) was on my mind today on the bike ride home from church, and later, so I was looking it up on line. A bit of spoonerism or something, and I happened on some articles discussing the Brock Turner case.

Do I think the the sentence was too lenient or too harsh?

I wasn't there. I can't judge. I do have a gut reaction, and I have a point of view which I think I want to assert.

I salute the two graduate students who stopped the attack, and I especially salute them for being coordinated enough to both check on the victims condition and apprehend the attacker. And I salute the other passersby who were able to call the police and keep an eye on the victim's condition.

And I salute the victim for standing up to the rigors of the court system, and her family for the support they give her.

My point of view on the general subject:

Star athletes should get special handling in all cases involving violently attacking another person, including rape:

Star athletes should be role models. Their behavior must be exemplary.

Athletics is all about self-control. If they cannot maintain self-control, they are not athletes. Stars? Absolutely not.

On their first arrest for anything involving violent attack, including rape and date rape, they should voluntarily turn in their star status, including scholarships and sponsorships.

This is not unreasonable. They want special status, they must behave accordingly.

If they still can't deal with it, they should be required to give up competitive sports, amateur, scholastic, and professional.

That's the special handling I think is appropriate.

Privately continuing to pursue their sport in a non-competitive way, sure. Athletics does, when pursued correctly, teach self-discipline.

And I do think, if someone like Brock Turner becomes permanently restrained from ever returning to competitive swimming, it may remove the incentive he needs to change his thinking and his behavior.

It seems as if he is not taking his actions nearly seriously enough.

It seems as if he should admit that, whether under the influence or not, the difference between penetrative and what he did does not deserve consideration.

[JMR201607180830 -- Somehow I conflated two parts of Brock's behavior and said the wrong thing:]

I'm going to go out on a limb and say he should apologize for the misunderstanding, for the being drunk, and for the attempted rape. For the whole package. And I think that, if I have the chance to give him advice, he should swear off alcohol and every other artificial mood altering substance.


(That was not attempted rape. Well beyond statutory rape, it was a violent sexual attack. It was actual rape, even if he can claim that, legally, external society cannot impute an intent to attempt forced impregnation.)


The natural flux of hormones is hard enough to deal with all by itself, and it takes no going out on a limb at all to be willing to tell every hot-blooded male that you just aren't a man until you learn to deal with that flux in a way that does not take another person's freedom away from her (or him).

Now, it seems as if the six month sentence is just a shade or five too light (in other words, by at least a year or two).

On the other hand, it seems as if the life-time attainder is way too harsh for a first time offender. (Sex offender registration becomes attainder when it is made permanent.)

It seems to me he needs more jail time, and more chance to change his thinking and his actions. You can only do part of the changing while you are in jail. (And it is hard to argue that you actually can change for the better in today's jails, but that is a topic for another rant.)

And I'm going to go way out on a limb and suggest that the reaction is a bit missing the point. If you don't want this kind of destruction happening to you, don't drink. Stay away from all drugs, and stay away from parties that are fueled by drugs, frat or not, male or female.

And reconcile yourself to the concept that sexual stimulation has certain things in common with drugs. That means needing to take a harder line about promiscuous sexual behavior.

If you are, for example, a person who invites people you barely know to take sexual advantage of you, you are making it all the easier for men (or women) who haven't grown up yet to find themselves unable to control their behavior with someone who doesn't want their advances. Or in the middle of a misunderstanding that turns into rape.

[Wanted to add a couple of thoughts here:

Misunderstandings that become sexual intercourse are essentially rape.

Out of control in sexual intercourse is pretty much the definition of rape.


It isn't just your body, even if society has no right to tell you whom you should date and shouldn't, even if society should have some limits on what it tells you about what you should do on dates.

The more people stay away from such parties, the less people will decide they have to have such parties.

(And the more people continue to have such parties, the more legislatures will decide they have to make laws about what you should do on a date and with whom. Think about this the next time you head out to a rave, too.)

Why do I take the time to post about this now?

I'm writing a novel ( which I am afraid some readers might think treats sexual relationships too lightly. I'm having to rethink certain chapters, and I may need to rethink the novel entirely.

I am especially worried that one specific chapter will be read as approving date rape by some who have failed to understand how hormones, nerves, and pride can get tangled up and lead to wrong conclusions.

Until I read about the reactions to Brock Turner's case, I was thinking maybe I had it okay. Now I'm pretty sure the way I currently handle it is wrong. (I won't point to the chapter, because it needs to be read in context.)

I've got to rethink that novel.

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