Conscious Sexual Self

Connection Requires Consciousness

"Twenty Minutes of Action"

No doubt many of you have heard, and been outraged by, the outcome of the recent rape trial of Brock Turner here in Northern California. This case has highlighted rape culture and the ways in which we as a society disregard the damage done to victims and criminality of the perpetrators.

 In a letter to the judge the father of the perpetrator is quoted as saying that his son shouldn’t face harsh punishment for “twenty minutes of action”. This statement hit me harder than all the rest that has gone wrong in the course of this case. “Twenty minutes of action”???!! This is so offensive I can barely breathe.

The decision to sexually assault a person does not happen in 20 minutes. It must take a lifetime of missed lessons about human kindness and decency. It must take years of ugly ideas about women and their rights to safety and respect. It must take years of warped impressions why we have sex and a blindness to the potential and humanity of shared sexual experiences. It must take a learned sense of entitlement and dismissal of others people’s rights or feelings.

To suggest that anyone of us could get drunk enough that it would suddenly seem like a reasonable idea to assault an unconscious person is reprehensible. This is not a miscommunication about sex! This woman did not regain consciousness for 2 hours after being taken to the hospital. This was not even common consensual sexual interactions! The woman had abrasions to her vagina from having sticks and dirt inserted, not something one could reasonably assume would be okay with someone. This was violence. You do not become the person who would do this in twenty minutes.

Documents state that one of the two men who stopped the assault was crying when he talked to the police about what he witnessed. That is a natural human response to seeing someone violated. Most people in our world would not have the impulse to rape, or sexually violate an unconscious person, even in their worst twenty minutes. Young men do not need to be protected from their worst impulses because most of them grow up without a desire to hurt other people. I believe this. It is important to me to believe this.

We grow up together, with years of being shown how to treat one another. Years of playing, communicating, collaborating and seeing each other as worthy of dignity. Years to develop sexuality that kind and interactive and vastly different from perpetration. And yes, years of learning that there are consequences for hurting one another.

We as a society have to stop making excuses for sexual perpetration and to start taking responsibility for raising people for whom perpetration is simply incompatible with desire. It never comes down to twenty minutes. It comes down to what one person believes is okay to do to another person. And they will have spent their whole life learning that. We are teaching them. Which is why this court’s decision is so devastating.


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