The foul logic of the media and feminist campaign over the Brock Turner sexual assault case found expression this week when right-wing elements showed up outside his parents’ Bellbrook, Ohio home brandishing weapons and threatening to murder him.
The protesters, who called themselves “anarchists,” were armed with assault rifles and shotguns and carried placards bearing various inflammatory slogans, including: “Shoot your local rapist” and “If I rape Brock [Turner] will I only do 3 months.” Other signs called for the castration and killing of rapists. The open carry of weapons is legal in Ohio.
One of the organizers of the action, Micah Naziri, who sported a .300 Blackout rifle, according to the Guardian, told reporters, “The number one reason why we had this armed protest was to make a militant feminist statement in favor of self-defense of would-be rape victims.”
Another participant, Molly Hardin, asserted that “it’s completely legal to kill a rapist in the act of rape. … If he were to try something like this again … we would help protect the city. We are not going to stand for it.”
Remarkably, the American media treated this sinister event in the Dayton area in generally favorable or at least muted tones, as though it were some legitimate, if perhaps overzealous, response to the immensity of Brock Turner’s crimes. This is the same media that cannot summon up a single serious response to the mass killings of civilians in the Middle East, to drone strikes, to “kill lists,” to torture of detainees or universal NSA spying.
Turner was convicted of three counts of felonious sexual assault in March 2016. A year earlier, in January, two students bicycling across the Stanford University campus intervened after discovering Turner, then a 19-year-old freshman at the university, on top of an unresponsive, 22-year-old woman near a trash bin. Both he and the victim, according to their separate accounts, had been drinking heavily at a fraternity party. The young woman said she had no recollection of the incident.
In line with a probation officer’s report, which based itself in part on Turner’s age and lack of prior offenses, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Turner June 2 to six months of confinement in a county jail. Turner was also ordered to register for life as a sex offender. The university expelled him. Turner was released from jail after serving half his sentence, as is normal in such cases.
The Turner case became the occasion for an outpouring of vindictive and filthy commentary by the American media. The sheer volume, crudity and violence of the attempt to demonize the Stanford student should be enough to arouse suspicion in the mind of anyone alive to American political and social realities.
The media predictably responded to Turner’s release in early September by once again polluting the atmosphere with its headlines and claims, worthy of the worst examples of the gutter press and “yellow journalism” of an earlier day. Often it is the “liberal” media that leads the way. “We All Know A Brock Turner,” claims one stupid piece in the Huffington Post, before reporting once again unsubstantiated claims about the so-called rape epidemic on college campuses.
Feminists like Michele Dauber, a sociologist and the Frederick I. Richman Professor of Law at Stanford, have pursued the Turner case with unrestrained venom, supported by so-called left organizations like the International Socialist Organization. The latter comes as no surprise. The pseudo-left has largely been transformed into a lobbying group for imperialist war abroad, in the name of “human rights” and “women’s rights,” and––as the Turner case now demonstrates––more police powers at home.
Crowds of former “far leftists,” Maoists and others are stumbling over themselves to line up with the state and the editorial pundits in demanding harsher sentences for “sexual predators.” It is entirely appropriate that self-styled “anarchists” should have organized the armed and provocative protest outside the Turner family’s home.
A lynch-mob atmosphere has been created at Stanford and other campuses, accompanied by the effort, spearheaded by Dauber, to remove Persky. In an unprecedented action, the vice president of the United States, Joseph Biden, intervened in the Turner case, issuing an ignorant and anti-democratic “open letter.”
The provocative “protest” this week outside the Turner home in Ohio, in the Dayton area, is the inevitable product of the relentless propaganda campaign instigated by Dauber and her cohorts.
Dauber made an effort to distance herself from the Ohio protest. She told the Guardian, “We do not support vigilante action of any kind.” Despite these efforts to disassociate herself, Dauber—and others who led the campaign against Pensky—bear political and moral responsibility for what has come out of the atmosphere they have fostered.
Dauber has been for some time in the vanguard of the effort to whittle away the rights of the accused in sexual assault cases on college campuses. She also intervened personally in the Turner case, writing Judge Persky on May 24 in regard to Turner’s sentencing. Predictably, she urged the judge to throw the book at the Stanford freshman.
It also comes as no surprise, given the affluent milieu, that Dauber and her husband Ken, a software engineer at Google, are ardent Hillary Clinton supporters. On Dauber’s Twitter account, interspersed with smears against Persky, one finds numerous messages from Democratic Party politicians and countless pieces of propaganda for Clinton.
On October 21, 2015, she tweeted, “Biden’s OUT, #Hillary2016 is the candidate, we will have a woman POTUS [President of the United States] with your help.” A January 2016 tweet from Dauber offered an invitation to “a small event with President Bill Clinton. … Tickets only 1K [presumably $1,000],” and another read “Want to meet Hillary Clinton? Message me, I have 25 tickets to an event in Palo Alto [California] this FRIDAY JAN. 8!!!!”
This is from Ken Dauber’s Facebook page: “Are you afraid of Donald Trump? Looking for a way to support Hillary Clinton? Come meet Hillary at this event in Atherton [California] on WEDS MAY 25 at 5:00pm. There are still lower dollar tickets ($500) left for this event but they are going fast. Meet our first female President in a smaller private home setting. This is a golden opportunity to make a difference and help to make history! Do it now! We need you!”
The Daubers clearly view the campaign over sexual violence as an extension, or another means of supporting Clinton and the Democratic Party. The claims about a “rape culture” and associated matters have the aim of muddying the political waters, confusing the more susceptible layers and generally diverting attention from the endless wars, social inequality and the relentless attacks on the position of the working class.
These developments confirm the position of the World Socialist Web Site. Campaigns over lurid rape allegations have been and remain the stock and trade of the extreme right. The vicious effort to destroy Brock Turner may well end up with his becoming the victim of right-wing violence.