Dear Brock Turner: Alcohol Isn't The Problem

After being convicted of three felony sex abuse charges and sentenced to a mere six months in jail, Brock Turner is choosing to blame his actions on the "binge-drinking culture" of college campuses. Turner's sidestepping of his own accountability in favor of taking the easy way out — only showing remorse for his drinking, as opposed to the actual rape — is a prime example of the dangers of rape culture. And in a society that likes to falsely assert that alcohol is the pertinent issue, we have to remember that the real problem is rape.

The Brock Turner case has been a showcase for rape culture from the very beginning. After he sexually assaulted an unconscious woman, Turner and his attorneys began weaving a narrative that shamed his victim. They heavily relied on the supposed "binge-drinking" culture of college to excuse his actions. In fact, in his statement on the supposed impact the event had on his son, Turner's father said that he would be better served teaching colleges about this very thing.

Dan Turner said in the statement that his son is "is totally committed to educating other college-age students about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity." The fact that he chalks up the rape to "the dangers of alcohol" and "sexual promiscuity" unfortunately says it all.

But we have to remember that alcohol is not the problem. If someone is drunk, they are not able to give consent. It should be as simple as that. As a society, we should be teaching people that it is never permissible to rape anyone, regardless of whether either party is drunk or sober. To blame it on alcohol misses the point entirely. After all, Turner gave his entire account of the night (filled with contradictory statements) while sober.

We have to start charging sexual offenders on the basis of their crimes, and not have verdicts somehow hinge on whether or not the parties were drunk or sober. By ignoring the real problem, Turner, his attorneys, and the judge who sentenced him have collectively decided that it would be easier to address binge-drinking (a problem that should not be intrinsically tied to rape in any way) instead of the real issue of rape.

Image: NBC (1)