Mistake Vs. Wrong-Doing – An Outburst Regarding the Stanford Rape Case



If you have been on any type of social media or news app over the last few days, you have probably stumbled across the the letter that the victim within the Stanford Rape Case wrote and read aloud to her attacker in the courtroom. If you haven’t, click here to do so, but brace yourself, this is some heavy stuff.

For those who haven’t read it or don’t really care to, I will give you the quick run down:

  • 23-year-old female goes to a party and drinks.
  • 20-year-old male goes to a party and drinks.
  • 20-year-old male is caught by 2 people sexually assaulting said 23-year-old female as she is unconscious behind a dumpster.
  • 23-year-old female wakes up in a hospital room, not knowing what happened, until she is told that she has been sexually assaulted and notices some things that didn’t match up (no underwear on, pine needles in her hair, etc.)
  • 23-year-old female still doesn’t really know what happens until she starts reading about it in the media.
  • 23-year-old female is forced to suffer through a year long trial because said 20-year-old male does not plead guilty…to an assault…he was caught committing…with witnesses to testify.
  • 23-year-old female reads statement to judge directed at 20-year-old male (piece that has gone viral, link above).
  • 20-year-old male is found guilty, by a jury of his peers, for 3 felony counts of sexual assault.
  • 20-year-old male is sentenced to 6 months in prison with 3 years’ probation, has to register as a sex offender and has committed to leading talks for high school and college students regarding binge drinking and sexual promiscuity.

Okay, now that you are caught up on the necessary information…let me start by saying: rape is awful, wrong, ruthless, cruel, inhuman and any other word you can think of when pondering an act that strips an individual, of any gender, of their dignity and self worth.

Society has quite a way to go in regards to rape culture, its’ view of gender roles and, well, the justice system as a whole, but the Stanford Rape Case, in my opinion, is not necessarily a new low, but a close up on the flaws and gender bias that lye within the legal system. The sentencing in this case made me wonder many things but one thing in particular:

Did the judge accidentally walk into the wrong courtroom?

I mean, that seems like valid reasoning right? A judge stumbles into the wrong room and announces a completely ridiculous judgment. Fearing the ridicule due to this silly mistake, he just stands behind his judgment. That could be the only reasoning behind 6 months of jail time, probation and registering as a sex offender…for the rape…of an unconscious woman…that only came to a halt because 2 random people saw something wrong happening and stopped it…

Fact of the matter is, the judge was not in the wrong courtroom. He thought this punishment fit what he seemed to not believe is a crime. The judge felt that this young man’s life, potential swimming career, reputation and education were already effected so much, that it wasn’t necessary for him to be “punished” any further. His exact words when delivering the judgment were “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him…I think he will not be a danger to others.”

But your honor, he was already a danger to others.

Look, I could talk about this for hours, so I am just going to do a little bullet pointing here in order to keep on task…play along, won’t you?

The Man:

A lot of the time, people will say things like “he’s not a man, he’s a boy” when a male is making poor decisions or not acting appropriately. I am going to take the other route here – I am underlining ¨Man” when I speak about this case. Why? Because he is 20 years old. He is not a child, he is an adult and I refuse to lessen his responsibility by calling him a child, hence, stripping him of his ability to know better.

This man has been described as a gifted athlete with a bright future throughout the media and in the courtroom. Please read very carefully:

 Your accomplishments do not negate your wrongdoings:

Bad people have accomplishments just like good people experience failure. I am exhausted from hearing this guy’s father go on about his happy go lucky son and the media talking about his swimming record…let me put it this way:

If I go out on a date with a guy and he is charming, attractive, super witty, subscribes to The Curvy Millennial and laughs at all my jokes but then tells me that he believes it is okay to have sex with women who are unconscious and unable to give consent (yunno…rape) all the other stuff isn’t going to matter anymore. No matter how many cat adoption flyers are being sent to my home and sponsored dating site ads are popping up on my Facebook, this guys’ positive characteristics do not negate the horrible thing he shared with me.

I don’t care if you are really good at swimming. I was pretty good at baton twirling way back when and no one mentions that when I do something wrong.

Mistake Vs. Wrong-Doing:

Let’s discuss the difference between the two.

A MISTAKE is when a person does something incorrectly accidentally. For example, it’s a mistake when I misunderstood my GPS and took a right down the wrong street.

A WRONG-DOING is when a person knowingly does something wrong. For example, I’m driving down the street and see a stop sign, acknowledge its presence, understand it, but don’t stop at it.

Rape…Sexual Assault…call it what you wish but don’t call it a mistake. Calling it a mistake means that the individual assaulting an unwilling and/or unconscious person is simply using poor judgment, when in reality, they are just doing something wrong. Also, don’t bother arguing the drinking factor. I don’t care how much he had to drink or she had to drink, drinking may blur judgment but it does not blur character. You can disagree – but I am right.

This isn’t to say that everyone who has ended up in prison or in a courtroom should be doomed forever because they knew what they were doing was wrong – but if you know what you are doing is wrong and you have a negative, permanent impact on someone’s life – the consequences are yours.

“20 Minutes of Action”

“20 Minutes of Action” is what the 20-year-old man’s father used to describe the sexual assault in a statement he read to the judge and the court. Now, is this guy ignorant or stupid? Honestly, this short statement alone makes me feel as if the entire trial was a waste of time for everyone involved because even the guy’s father seems to have no clue what his son was on trial for.

Was he also in the incorrect court room? Did the father and the judge both get together and decide that they were going to celebrate Opposite Day in terms of what is an appropriate reaction and definition of rape and sexual assault?

Dude, your son wasn’t on trial due to a romp in the hay, he was on trial for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. This wasn’t “20 Minutes of Action”, this was 20 Minutes of your son attacking someone who had the inability to fight back.

Educational Talks

This guy committed to giving talks to high school and college students regarding Binge Drinking and Sexual Promiscuity.

That’s awesome that he decided that it would be best to discuss topics that have absolutely nothing to do with his felony charges.

Binge Drinking does not lead to rape.

Should you Binge Drink? No. It can be very dangerous and obviously lead to you not thinking clearly, blacking out or even death. However, one thing that is not a side effect of Binge Drinking is raping or being raped.

Sorry. It’s just not.

Oh, while we are clarifying – just a heads up – you also can’t be sexually promiscuous if you are unconscious. That’s also not a thing. So, if he is “educating” high school and college students about Binge Drinking and Sexual Promiscuity, I can only assume it is from another situation he heard about, because it has nothing to do with this particular incident.

The woman that was sexually assaulted says, in her very well written statement to her attacker, that if he is not going to admit to what he did wrong and speak on that, she will follow him to every school he goes to and give a follow up presentation.

If this is the case, she will have a co-presenter. It will be me. I will bring the road trip snacks.


I would be doing us all a disservice if I didn’t at least touch on the role that race and socioeconomic status play in this case. This is a white man that is basically being let off with a slap on the wrist because the judge believes he has suffered enough and being in jail for a longer amount of time would have such a severe impact on him. We have individuals who have committed non-violent and, therefore, crimes of much lesser severity, in prison for decades.

I am not saying one law is more important than the other but…

Wait…actually…yes I am.

We have a judicial system and are responsible for enforcing laws in order to create a society of order; that being said, how is this person, who took it upon himself to try and steal a part of a woman’s worth, seen as a life with more value than someone who didn’t do anything remotely violent. Altered mug shots, favorable verbiage in media descriptions, the sentencing as a whole – all show a clear display of what privilege and expensive lawyers can get you.

If my memory serves me correctly, I have not seen any articles with a headline regarding a black man charged with Sexual Assault – because it usually reads Rape. Just like I haven’t seen any articles boasting about a black man’s athletic achievements when being charged with a crime. But you all already know how the media depicts people who are not white…I mean, that’s not a secret, right?

I’ll conclude by saying that, as a woman, the anger I feel towards this sentencing is overwhelming. To think that in 2016, when we have a female running for president (Hey Hil!) and have come such a long way as a gender, a person within a higher up position of respect, can deliver a sentence that shows a total lack of regard towards women and their worth.

While I feel intense anger regarding all of this because I just don’t understand it, I have also learned that a woman can honestly get through anything. This woman was made to feel like a prisoner in her own body, appears to have gone through hell and back and yet still stood tall and assertively (with a little wit thrown in) while facing her attacker and explaining all she has been through. She proved that your soul can be ripped from you without you even being there to see it happen, you can feel like the world is closing in around you and that karma, much less justice, doesn’t exist, but there’s still purpose in your life, reasoning behind your existence and empowerment to be found and grasped.

To this woman – I don’t know you – but I hope you know that just by being who you are and speaking out so boldly, you have altered many lives and forced countless people to stop and think about important things that may have been too uncomfortable for them to reflect on in the past. I know I am not alone in saying that I wish you peace, comfort and some kind of solace in knowing that the rest of the women, and many men, in this country are as disgusted by this sentence and your mistreatment as your closest friends and loved ones are.


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1 Comment

  • Reply
    June 9, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Perfect Article, Gina. Well said and I am just sorry that it had to be said in the first place.

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