Recently, a young twenty year old Stanford University student, Brock Turner was the center of the discussion over rape allegations. He has been accused of raping an unconscious woman at a party on his college campus. Although there has been many people who condemned Turner’s actions, there are others, who support Brock Turner. The Bill Cosby sexual assault fiasco also falls along the same premise. Some people condemn him while others rally behind him and defend him. Thus the parallels between the defenders of Brock Turner and the defenders of Bill Cosby can be seen by observing their words and actions.
Rape is a serious and detrimental crime. Rapists bare the guilt and conscience of knowing that their wrong doing has serious consequences and negatively affects the mind, body and intuition of their victims. Some rapists are remorseful for their actions while others aren’t. Unfortunately, 98% of rapists never serve time for their crimes against women’s bodies. Rape isn’t exclusive to women either. There are many male victims of rape as well. From judging Brock Turner’s and Bill Cosby’s expressions, neither of these men seem remorseful or even regretful about their actions towards women. Worst of all, patriarchal leaning and rape culture enables others to turn around and blame the victims for their own abuse while protecting the penetrators of the crime.
Brock Turner was given six months imprisonment by the California jury. His father and others close to him ran to his rescue and claimed that both Turner and the victim were intoxicated during that night. Turner claimed that he didn’t believe in rape culture until he was charged with rape himself. He blamed his actions on the ”party culture” and that his actions weren’t rape since he raped her when she was intoxicated and unconscious. Fortunately enough, he lost his spot on the swimming team due to his actions at the party he attended.
As for Bill Cosby, his trial is scheduled for July 20th. He will be put on trial for allegations that he drugged and sexually assaulted former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand. If he is convicted of sexual assault, he has to register as a sex offender and could spend ten to fifteen years in prison. Many of his defenders claim that there isn’t enough evidence to convict Bill Cosby of any wrongdoing. There are others who claim that it is a conspiracy to bring down a successful, Black man. On the bright side, Bill Cosby’s honorary degrees has been revoked and reruns of The Cosby Show are no longer aired on television.
Why do some people defend the likes of Brock Turner and Bill Cosby?
Those who defend Brock Turner defend him out of the belief that he was this normal, college student that made a mistake. I remember reading Facebook posts from those who didn’t believe that Brock Turner’s crime of raping an unconscious girl at a party in a dorm was anything serious. However I believe them defending him goes beyond just a young man making an ”innocent” mistake. Brock Turner’s Whiteness and male privilege protects him from fully being reprimanded and face serious repercussions for his actions. Many of his defenders including the judge and his father want to uphold White male privilege to get away with their wrongdoings. There has been incidents of White males being punished for their crimes but much of them getting away with their crimes has to do with the fact that being White and male grants them the privilege to not deal with the consequences of their crimes. Many if not most of his defenders want to maintain the systematic and social privileges that White men have in society. Hence why Brock Turner’s conviction might even be cut to a mere three month stint in prison for raping an unconscious girl at a college party.
Those who defend Bill Cosby defend him out of the belief of ”Black unity” and ”standing by a Brotha’ ”. Many people, who defend Bill Cosby, argue that there isn’t enough evidence to convict Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand. There are conspiracies going around that these sexual abuse allegations came to light because Bill Cosby tried to buy NBC. As more women came out and spoke about being sexually abused by Bill Cosby, their claims sounded more bizarre and weird. Many Black people particularly older Black people defended Bill Cosby because they felt that these allegations can’t be true. It wasn’t the Bill Cosby that they grew up seeing in comedy stand ups, movies and on The Cosby Show. So it was weird for these allegations come to light after so many years of success and accolades associated with Bill Cosby. Part of the reason why so many Black people defend Bill Cosby is due to racial pride and angst. Bill Cosby was one of the most respected yet successful Black people in this country to the point that many of them looked up to and admired him. So it was pretty much a blow to hear about these sexual abuse allegations(angst) that they refuse to believe that he is capable of doing such a thing. Due to Black males’ history of being lynched and denied opportunities based on his race, many Blacks feel compelled to stand by Bill Cosby. However, the real reason why many Black people particularly Black men defend Bill Cosby is because they want Black males to get away with crimes that they commit the same way White men have historically gotten away with their crimes. They really want the power and imagery to get away with their crimes and be seen as men. The same power and imagery that they were denied for centuries. Hence their reasoning many Black males firmly defend Bill Cosby despite all evidence to the contrary that exemplify his predatory nature.
Ultimately, both Brock Turner and Bill Cosby are repulsive, morally defunct individuals, who deserve to be held responsible for their crimes. There are parallels and similarities of those who defend such creatures. Hence the defense or lack of it only enables and keeps rape culture and misogyny alive in our society.