The Stanford Rape Outrage

“Reason Enough to Make Revolution”

by Sunsara Taylor

June 13, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |



Bob Avakian, "A world of rape and sexual assault"
A clip from Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, a film of a talk by Bob Avakian, given in 2003 in the United States.
Learn more about Bob Avakian here

Bob Avakian has said that the frequency of rape in this society would be reason enough for revolution, even if all its other towering crimes and injustices did not exist. A deep look at the recent rape case at Stanford underlines that—and why a revolution is needed to solve it.

On January 18, 2015 a young woman’s life was shattered. Her evening began with a lighthearted family dinner and a last-minute decision to accompany her sister to a party, but it ended with her strapped to a gurney, with bruises and debris covering her body and the inside of her vagina. She had been viciously raped on the ground, behind a dumpster, outside a Stanford frat party, while she was unconscious.

Brock Turner, 20-year-old Stanford student, was charged. Turner’s lawyer dragged in all kinds of slanders and irrelevant accusations against the victim. He put her through hell on the witness stand. Blaming her for drinking, for being sexually active, for how she was dressed, and more. As if somehow that would excuse Turner’s violent violation of her.

Despite all this, the evidence was overwhelming and the jury convicted him on three felonies.

Then the judge stepped in. He said jail time would “have a severe impact” on the rapist. So, instead of potentially 14 years in prison, he gave Turner a mere six months in jail.

The message sent by the court is that rape is “not that serious.” This is outrageous and wrong.

But that is not all. This case is an X-ray of the whole culture of promoting and excusing violence and degradation against women. It is a concentration of the urgent need for the most radical and thoroughgoing revolution in the history of humanity.

A Courageous and Harrowing Voice

Break All the Chains!

Break ALL the Chains!
Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution

Sampler Edition | Full Work

In a display of tremendous courage, the young woman read a letter aloud to the court that detailed her experience. She brought alive how the damage inflicted by rape does not end when the physical act is over. It unfurls over a woman’s lifetime, radiates out to those around her, and hangs in the air as a violation against all women everywhere.

She explained: “I stood there examining my body beneath the stream of water and decided, I don’t want my body anymore. I was terrified of it, I didn’t know what had been in it, if it had been contaminated, who had touched it. I wanted to take off my body like a jacket and leave it at the hospital with everything else.”

The trauma infiltrated every aspect of her life: “I tried to push it out of my mind, but it was so heavy I didn’t talk, I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t interact with anyone. After work, I would drive to a secluded place to scream. I didn’t talk, I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t interact with anyone, and I became isolated from the ones I loved most.”

With piercing clarity, and without a hint of revenge, she demolished the excuses of her rapist and his defenders. No, alcohol is not an excuse for rape. No, sexual promiscuity (where someone willingly has sex with many people) has nothing to do with rape (where someone is forced to have sex against their will). No, it is not OK that she was asked irrelevant and re-traumatizing questions on the witness stand. She posed, “If a first time offender from an underprivileged background was accused of three felonies and displayed no accountability for his actions other than drinking, what would his sentence be? The fact that Brock was an athlete at a private university should not be seen as an entitlement to leniency, but as an opportunity to send a message that sexual assault is against the law regardless of social class.”

Her letter is 13 pages long and everyone should read it. In its entirety. Out loud. In classrooms. In church groups. In families. On sports teams. On air.

Her pain must be seen. Her battle against despair must be supported. Her courage must be multiplied.

Judge Rebukes Rape Victim and Humanizes the Rapist

Even after this harrowing letter, Judge Persky gave Brock a mere slap on the wrist. In effect, he signaled a green-light to rapists everywhere.

Outrageously, Persky is not an exception. Rather, he concentrates this society’s whole putrid rape culture. In the U.S., as in all “modern” capitalist states, rape is only “wink-wink illegal.” In other words, rape is formally against the law, but for all intents and purposes—especially for the powerful and their enforcers—rape is a protected activity.

Face it: Until outrage erupted over this case, Stanford had never expelled a single student for rape. Thousands and thousands of rape kits sit unprocessed for years in police precincts across the country. Less than two percent of rapes reported to police result in convictions and jail time. It was legal in all 50 states for a man to rape his wife until the 1970s. Only in 1993 did the last state make it illegal. In the U.S. military one in three women is raped or sexually assaulted, but if she reports her rape, she is 12 times more likely to be retaliated against than to ever see her rapist convicted.

Why? Because rape serves a major function under this system. It terrorizes all women, keeps them fearful and constantly reminded of “their place.” It is a violent means of enforcing the many twisted “perks” and privileges promised to men, to make them feel they have a stake at least in some part of this system. This is objectively true, even as some men themselves may not like—and even be sickened by—this particular form of oppression.

This violent terror and degradation of women is a cornerstone, a major glue, of every modern capitalist society—including the U.S. And right now, it is being rapidly and aggressively escalated. It’s fueled by men who are furious that women have entered campuses, corporate board rooms, and sports—arenas that used to be male-only bastions of unchallenged domination. It is also fueled by the simmering anger of other men who face growing economic insecurity and the breakdown of the traditional male-dominated family; men hungry to reassert their control and take out their rage against women.

It’s the mainstreaming of rape porn. It’s the music that derides women as “bitches” and “hos.” It’s the Bible scriptures that celebrate rape as a reward of war. It’s the “guy culture” promoted by coaches and gym teachers, in board rooms and military battalions. It is the way boys and men who don’t participate are bullied, called “fags,” and often sexually violated themselves. It is the culture of strip clubs and “escorts” that pervades Wall Street and Silicon Valley. It is the shaming and threats and virtual-mobs of men who hound women on social media. It’s the words of Brock’s father, dismissing his son’s act of rape as merely “20 minutes of action.”

Rape Must Be Ended—This Means Revolution!

Download the PDF of this pamphlet: A Declaration: For Women's Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity

Bob Avakian (BA), Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, once wrote, “Recently I heard a startling statistic: one out of every four women in the U.S. will be the victim of a sexual assault during her lifetime. One out of four!, and the number is expected to rise to one out of three. Right there, even if this ‘way of life’ did not produce any of the other seemingly endless outrages and genuinely monstrous crimes—all the way to world war—that it does produce, even if what stands behind the statistic were the only thing seriously wrong with this system, that alone would be enough to rise up against it and not stop until it had been overthrown and something better put in its place.”

It is essential that people fiercely resist this whole culture of rape and violence and degradation against women. What this young woman did in refusing to just take the howling injustice of the sentence, what two Swedish graduate students did by physically stopping this rape as it was underway—this is what many, many more people must do.

No more joking about, excusing, or belittling rape. No more shaming and blaming rape victims. No more asking, “What was she wearing?” or suggesting that “She asked for it.” No more getting off on porn that sexualizes women’s degradation and torture. No more treating women like punching bags, like sex objects, or like mere breeders of children.

The Revolution Clubs have it right: “We fight for a world where ALL the chains are broken. Women, men, and differently gendered people are equals and comrades. We do not tolerate physically or verbally abusing women or treating them as sexual objects, nor do we tolerate insults or ‘jokes’ about people’s gender or sexual orientation.”

It’s time to start living this way now. And this must be linked to bringing about the kind of total revolution that can uproot and abolish rape once and for all. The system must be overthrown. It must be replaced with a radically new, revolutionary state power.

With revolution, the courts and media will no longer re-victimize women through victim-blaming questions about what they were wearing or their sexual history. Schools will teach equality, mutual respect, and consent in sexual relations. Sports will be radically re-ordered. Under socialism, it will be the norm—not a rare and refreshing exception spurred by mass outrage—for the media to give backing to voices like this young woman’s who speak out against rape. People will be encouraged to break out of the patriarchal family. And more.

Read this everywhere:

The Stanford Rape Case
Statement from the Young Woman Who Was Raped

Her letter is 13 pages long and everyone should read it. In its entirety. Out loud. In classrooms. In church groups. In families. On sports teams. On air. Her pain must be seen. Her battle against despair must be supported. Her courage must be multiplied.

Read it here

All this will radically cut down the incidence of rape and the way in which this terror serves to damage and confine women. And the new society will foster in many more men the aspiration to be emancipators of ALL humanity, not petty tyrants over women.

But this is just the beginning. Bob Avakian has qualitatively advanced the understanding that unless and until all vestiges of male-domination and patriarchy have been completely wiped out, this oppression will become the basis for dragging all of society back to today’s ugly divisions into masters and slaves. So, the orientation of revolutionaries will be to continue to unleash the fury and impatience of women and others to put an end to all attitudes, family structures, notions of “manhood” and gender, and religious traditions that reinforce patriarchy and women’s oppression. To do this even—and in some ways, especially—when this is disruptive to society and its institutions.

Not a Minute to Waste

This is not a dream. It is possible. But you are needed right now.

Through decades of work and struggle, Bob Avakian has developed the thoroughly scientific approach, the strategy, and the concrete vision for the new society. He has developed the most radical and liberating approach to women in human history: Break ALL the Chains! Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution. Plunge into this!

At the same time, BA is actively leading a movement for an actual revolution in the U.S., theoretically and practically. Spread this newspaper/website ( Join with the Revolution Clubs. How many more women will be battered and violated, shattered and shamed before you throw in with everything you’ve got?




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