David Becker.

David Becker, in court on charges that he sexually assaulted two young women.

We all remember piece of crap Brock Turner, a member of the University of Stanford swim team who raped an unconscious girl outside of a fraternity. At Turner’s sentencing, the victim delivered an incredibly powerful speech and wanted him prosecuted to the full extent. The prosecution team could have asked for 14 years, but asked for six years instead. Even after she delivered her speech, Turner was sentenced to six months — and the term was later reduced to three. 

“A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him,” California Judge Aaron Persky said. Well, here comes another story with a similar narrative.

David Becker, at the time a student athlete at East Longmeadow High School in Massachusetts, was charged with sexually assaulting two female classmates on April 2 of this year.  They were drunk at a party and passed out in a bedroom after many of the guests left.  They both reported waking up to him penetrating them with his finger.  

Related: Shame Withers in Sunlight: An Open Letter to the Stanford Rape Survivor

As with the Turner case, there isn’t much debate on whether or not this happened. In fact, he sent a text message to one of the victims the next day, apologizing.  According to Masslive.com, she replied, “don’t even worry about it,” but later told police that this was her response because “she did not know what else to say.”  

His sentence came down this week: the case was continued without finding for 2 years.  In short, he does not need to register as a sex offender, will not serve jail time and this will not appear on his permanent record if he complies with his probation, which requires him to remain drug and alcohol free, submit to an evaluation for sex-offender treatment and stay away from the two victims for 2 years, according to Masslive.com.  

“We all made mistakes when we were 17, 18, 19 years old, and we shouldn’t be branded for life with a felony offense and branded a sex offender. Putting this kid in jail for two years would have destroyed this kid’s life.”

This statement from Becker’s lawyer is a longer version of “boys will be boys” or “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him.” 

There are unending issues with this line of thinking.  

For one, it’s not only his life, as Turner’s victim stated.  It was his choice to make it about other people when he sexually assaulted them.  

Also, are we really saying that 17-, 18-, 19-year-olds get a literal get-out-of-jail-free card?  Their lives should not be thrown away for one mistake?  I don’t want my life destroyed either. That’s one of the many reasons I don’t rape people.  

I also find it interesting that these sympathetic judges and lawyers all point to the long-term impact; one mistake is going to ruin young lives.  How about the long-term impact of letting adults get away with rape?  I very much doubt Becker was thinking about the Brock Turner case when he chose to assault these girls. But would it have crossed his mind if Turner got thrown in jail for 18 years?  Letting these cases slide by without real punishment permits them to continue.                  

The culture of permitting this to happen also opens the door for responses like “don’t even worry about it” from victims.  The legal system is telling both potential offenders and victims that these incidents are no big deal.  This girl’s text message states that in so many words — even though it’s not how she felt. How many rapes go unreported because of a “don’t even worry about” stance from a victim?  Or, worse, because victims have been taught to themselves?

The legal system seems to be doing a great job of protecting young rapists’ futures.  They should be more worried about protecting against future rapes.  

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