The Brock Turner case has ignited a viral firestorm. There are issues of race, privilege, and gender inequality at play. There has been victim blaming, blame-shifting, and far too little actual blame for Turner himself by way of the justice system. These are all real and serious issues, and it’s perfectly natural for people to want to share their outrage. But outrage isn’t enough.
In Joe Biden’s powerful open letter to the survivor of the Stanford Rape Case, he writes the following:
Like I tell college students all over this country — it’s on us. All of us.
We all have a responsibility to stop the scourge of violence against women once and for all.
The Vice President — who absolutely has the authority to write a letter like this — is demanding change. Rape does not exist in a vacuum, it is perpetrated by people known to the victim far more often than by strangers. It’s become ingrained in our culture (hence the phrase “rape culture”), and has been well nourished by longstanding sexual attitudes. This is not an excuse for rape, nor is it a valid crutch for Brock Turner, his father, or his childhood friends to lean on. But there’s no escaping the fact that the prevalence of rape on college campuses is something we, collectively, are tangled up in — even if we’ve been out of college for as many years as Biden has.
Though he stands 100% with the unnamed victim of the crime, the Vice President also points to the need for everyone to talk honestly about rape when he writes:
We will speak out against those who seek to engage in plausible deniability. Those who know that this is happening, but don’t want to get involved. Who believe that this ugly crime is “complicated.”
He’s right that rape isn’t complicated. But the conditions that rape culture thrives in — like a special brand of toxic mold — need to be reversed. Because, as Biden points out, the statistics haven’t changed much in 20 years.