Things that take 20 minutes (or less)

*Trigger warning*

A response to Brock Turner’s father. Click here to read the letter Brock Turner’s father wrote regarding his son’s sentencing.

If you ask anyone about what their most defining moments are; the things that have lifted them up or turned their world upside down or damaged them beyond repair, the things they will mention will likely only have lasted moments, epiphanies that occur from reading something powerful, from seeing their child take their first breath, from seeing a loved one die, from the time they went from feeling safe and happy to feeling afraid for their life and the lives of those around them.Twenty minutes is twelve hundred seconds. A lifetime. You can save someone’s life in 20 minutes. You can listen to six and a half songs. You can go for a walk, cook a meal, read a chapter of a book, drive to work, have a deep and meaningful conversation with someone – well, you probably can’t, but the rest of us can. Your son can swim 2000 metres in twenty minutes! I know that because his swim times were posted with some of the articles written about this case. Because, you know, that matters in a rape case. You can take twenty minutes out of your day (because, to you, apparently, twenty minutes is no time at all) and read the beautiful words written by your son’s victim. I hope you have. I hope you do. If that doesn’t change your mind, then nothing will.

But I’m going to try anyway, just in case you have a spare twenty minutes. You can read this, and I hope that when you do, you hear the voices of all of us in your ear, for a full twelve hundred seconds and maybe, just maybe, begin to comprehend the reprehensibility of your actions.

Here is a list of crimes that take 20 minutes or less, itemised so that your micro brain can comprehend them.

  1. Shoplifting.
  2. Mugging someone.
  3. Breaking into someone’s house or car.
  4. Shooting someone.
  5. Assault and battery – I guarantee you that if someone were beating you for twenty minutes, you would likely be dead.
  6. Raping someone – Yes, I included it! Because you seem not to realise that however long someone is being raped for, whether that be twenty seconds, twenty minutes, twenty hours, twenty years – it is rape.

What has happened in their lives prior to this life altering, devastating, damaging twenty minutes does not count. The twenty minutes is what counts. That’s twenty minutes of him panting in her ear, rubbing himself against her bare legs, shoving his hand inside her, while she lays there, uncovered, unconscious, unable to say no. Twelve hundred seconds of her being pressed into the dirt, gravel and pine needles being pushed into her skin because your son was taking what he wanted; doing what he felt like doing. Twelve hundred seconds of her lying there half naked, without responding. ‘Twenty minutes of action’, as you so charmingly put it, or, ‘the rape of a human being’, as decent people put it.

You know what takes longer than twenty minutes?

  1. Raising a son that believes women are his equals. That he is never, ever to take what he has no right to. That if he does something wrong, he should apologise. That he should mean it. That he should spend the rest of his life making up for those twelve hundred seconds of devaluing, degrading, dishonouring another human being. Of putting his hands where they do not belong. Of taking what he had no earthly right to take. That, my friend, takes a lifetime. One that your son has been granted. Use it. 
  2. Realising that your son is not the victim, and that you are not the hero. This will take more than twenty minutes for you because you have demonstrated no aptitude for introspection. Why would you ever have to?  When you can hire an expensive lawyer and casually watch said lawyer tear apart your son’s victim and then write letters stating your son’s punishment was too harsh, a tendency toward quiet reflection and seeing-things-from-the-other-fellow’s-point-of-view is seldom necessary.*  You probably spent less time on that letter than your son spent assaulting another human being.
  3. It will take the girl your son assaulted much, much longer than twenty minutes to recover from this nightmare.

She will heal, gradually, because she is brave and strong and has the support of millions. She will go on to be a productive member of society. She has already inspired people around the world to stand up and be counted. She has proven herself to be compassionate and intelligent and wise beyond her years.

She has given a voice to anyone whose voice was stolen from them by people like you, with your casual, indifferent dismissal.

With your entitled, arrogant world view.

With your fancy lawyer.

With your silly little letter.

 

 

*Thank you Sir Terry for those words. I trust that you won’t have a problem with me using them here.

 

 

 

Will You Still Love Me When I’m No Longer Young And Dumb?

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Yes, Miley’s VMA performance was weird. Strange, even. Unsettling. For some, downright wadafaaaa? She’s clearly doing her darndest to shed her image – she’s had a ratchet makeover and has twerked her way into the twittersphere to prove it – and the performance wasn’t even all that good with shaky vocals and limbs flying about willy (oo-er!) -nilly and the whole thing is rather awkward and train-wreck-y in a “I’m young and dumb and having fun” sort of way, but why is no one talking about Robin Thicke?

He’s 36, married, and a father to a 3-year-old boy. Thicke has been quoted as saying that his son, Julian, “has changed everything — every move I make, I know that it will affect him, his growth and his happiness”, which is really lovely and all, but I would take that more seriously if his only response to the VMA matter wasn’t a tweet that said, ‘that was dope’. Why did he let it get that far? Why didn’t during rehearsals he say something like,

“Hey, Miley, you’re 20, you can’t even drink legally yet, so maybe don’t stick your butt into my crotch, lick my chest and stroke my junk with a big foam finger?” 

The backlash has been full-on Miley-wise, while Robin has escaped with no more than his mother coming out and saying, “Him? Loved it. I love that suit, the black and white suit,” then follows that up with, “I don’t understand what Miley Cyrus is trying to do. I just don’t understand.”

There is something deeply, deeply wrong with this. Not only with the double standards we’re all apparently happy to adhere to by placing the blame entirely on Miley’s shoulders, but also by our willingness to overlook worrying song lyrics because it’s catchy and we like their outfits. Please, mothers, please don’t be proud if your son’s career shoots into hyperspace with a song called ‘Blurred Lines”, featuring such charming lyrics as

“I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two…

and so on and so forth. Of course, it was Miley’s choice to say yes to this collaboration – I am in no way saying that Miley shouldn’t be responsible for her own actions; she is, after all (as she is so fond of reminding us) a woman now and her own person, but she is still in the process of finding out exactly who that person is.

Thicke, on the other hand, is in a drastically different stage of life to Miley and should have enough self-awareness by now to recognize that grinding his junk against a 20-year-old’s backside probably isn’t the best thing to do. Maybe it’s a side effect of being surrounded by naked ladies in his film clips all the time that has warped his brain into saying, “it’s fine, it’s all entertainment, that’s show business baby,” but if so, how sad is that? Not only sad, but dangerous. To be surrounded by those ideas day in day out numbs you not only to the weight your words and actions carry, but also to the disturbing undertones present in this song, the film clip and this performance.

The awful thing is, Miley’s behavior isn’t any worse than what you encounter in any night club on any given Saturday night. Girls think it is okay to dance like that to music like that, because they’re young and dumb and having fun, and they know they shouldn’t enjoy music like that but they do because it’s catchy and it’s dark and there’s alcohol and who’s going to notice anyway? In Miley’s case however, everyone gets to see it– whether we want to or not.

So, yeah, she crossed a line somewhere, or ‘blurred’ it somehow (har har, see what I did there?), but so did he, and his part in this is, for me at least, a little less defensible.

They both did this; all I’m asking is that someone points the (foam) finger at Robin, too.