Twenty minutes. This is how long it takes to read an article in a magazine, make and drink a cup of tea or coffee, do your nails or fall asleep.
It is also the length of time it takes to ruin a life.
Brock Turner didn’t have to do it. Calling a rapist an animal does a disfavour to animals. Calling him a man would be unfair to mankind. Under the influence of alcohol, Brock raped a young woman, another student at Stanford University, the latest in a series of sexual attacks at college campuses across the United States. His victim displayed astonishing courage in standing up for her rights and giving her version of the facts, and in facing the devastating short custodial sentence for Brock.
And why? Because he was an elite sportsman, young, gifted and born into a life of privilege, with no previous history of violence. Because his dad pleaded with the judge not to ruin his life because of ‘twenty minutes of action.’
And here I am, a week later, unable to get the shocking, calculating, emotional detachment from that statement off my head. The complete disregard for the life and dignity of others.
And how do you rehabilitate someone like this when the socioeconomic structures of power remain solidly in place like chains?