My daughter recently said to me "Daddy, I don't want to go to college". When I asked her why she mentioned being worried about the cost. Kids hear everything, she likely has heard me talk about the burden of school loans on our family. Plus earlier this year we opened an education savings account to save for college and have been talking about our savings and which investments we would do. (She chose 1 share of Tesla and bought at $155!) In the back of my head, I worried about other things...
The Brock Turner sentencing had just occurred and my blood was boiling about the sentencing. And I thought to myself, yes, don't go to college so you will be less likely to be raped. I then nearly broke down and cried in front of my daughter. Penelope is very striking and since she was born she has already commanded more than her fair share of attention due to her looks. Mostly, it comes as a comment like "she is gonna be trouble when she gets older". Or there was the time I was pulled off a plane in Dallas after a woman saw her and insisted that I get a gun for when she gets older. Someone nearby alerted security because they thought I had a gun and I was questioned by airport security. This is beyond irritating, I should not have to get a gun to keep my daughter from being raped.
Sexual assault by an athlete and leniency is nothing new, most of us can make a long list of athletes that have likely committed sexual assault and then gotten away with it. However, this was a very clear case, with many witnesses. And yes, he even got charged. It's just that the sentencing does not match the crime. The average rape sentence is 9.8 years with an average of 5.4 years served. After reading the statement by the victim that was read to Judge Persky prior to sentencing I don't know how he could have given such a light sentence. Over a million people have signed a petition calling for the judge's recall. Ironically I was at a party this weekend where a old college colleague was there who happens to work as a lawyer in the county and knows Judge Persky. She arguedas to why the judge should not be recalled and eventually I agreed that judges are to judge and that while we disagree he should not be recalled unless he commits a crime. However, I do think the voters of Santa Clara county should opt not to vote for his reelection this November.
It doubly pains me that it occurred at Stanford as I am planning on taking my daughter to the The Tech Museum of Innovation next month followed by a visit to the Stanford campus. Yes, I am doing that parent thing where I am vicariously living through my kid as Stanford was always my dream school for undergrad and medical school. Alas I was not smart enough or moneyed enough. I am content with what is, but want my daughter to know she can dream big and that her dad will work hard to make it so she can go anywhere she likes.
So with a heavy heart, I think of "Emily Doe" our nameless victim and the countless other victims of sexual assault, many of whom are my patients. Men, we must follow the examples of the two heroes in this awful story and intervene any time anything like this is happening. Women, the world is awakening, we have got your back. Read prior post on Rape Culture to get links of all the people working for change in this area. Finally, I think of my daughter and hope we can change our world enough before she reaches college.