The Gaslighting of Justice: Rape, Murder and Backdoors

In 1969, the Rolling Stones released Gimme Shelter and I’m haunted by  one of the verses, “rape, murder, it’s just a shot away.” Brock Turner, Christopher Belter and Randy Volar; three rapists who “got away with it.” All cases which demonstrate flaws in the justice system.

Christopher Belter pled guilty to four counts of rapes. Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III gave him no prison time saying “It seems to me that a sentence that involves incarceration or partial incarceration isn’t appropriate.” Belter was given 8 years probation with no prison time despite having pled guilty to 4 rapes that occurred at 4 different times.

Brock Turner was convicted on March 30, 2016, of three counts of felony sexual assault. Monica Lassettre, the probation officer, said Turner had no criminal record and “this case, when compared to other crimes of similar nature, may be considered less serious due to the defendant’s level of intoxication. Judge Aaron Persky followed that recommendation and claimed that a prison sentence would “have a severe effect” on the 19-year-old Turner. 

…in February 2018, police arrested [Randy] Volar on charges including child sexual assault. But then, they released him without bail. Volar, a white man, remained free for three months, even after police discovered evidence that he was abusing about a dozen underage black girls.

Child Sex Trafficking Murder

Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty  of the murder of two men he killed in an act of self defense.  Rittenhouse was a minor who crossed state lines and walked around with a semi automatic weapon with the intent to protect property during a protest  is now celebrated  in some circles. Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Rep. Paul Gosar  of Arizona, are all offering Kyle Rittenhouse internships.

“What about Crystul Kizer? At the time, Kizer was a minor who killed Randy Volar, a man who raped her and filmed it. She was found guilty of murder and sent to prison. The case is in the news now because of the verdict for Rittenhouse gaining worldwide attention. Should it take the “not guilty” verdict for Kyle to reexamine Crystul?

The judge for Brock Turner was recalled and  there are petitions now for the judge in the Belter case. However, recalling the judges does not change the sentence. The more recent trends have been, public outcry and recall. That’s not a good look, Judges who enforced civil rights, women’s right’s in the past would have faced recalls. As for sentencing guidelines, that didn’t work out so well either.

There are two issues with the justice system. One is reoccurring issues and the other is how or rather who the laws were written for. If the justice system were an app, there are bugs, places where the system continues to fail and a backdoor where people with malicious intent  can get in and out without notice. It’s well documented and proven the justice system is biased against people of color and lower economic status, these would be the bugs. Things that need to be fixed. What gets less attention is how and who the laws were written for, the back door. For example, the history of rape laws.

Still, critics protested the encroachment on men’s prerogatives and claimed that young women should be responsible for protecting themselves. “I regard the twelve-year-old girl as being as capable of resisting the wiles of the seducer as any older woman,” one Kentucky legislator wrote in 1895. Statutory rape reform lagged in the South in part because legislators explicitly feared that it “would enable negro girls to sue white men” and thus put the “negro female on the same plane with the white female.”

Women’s long battle to define rape

We can do better. It starts with acknowledging the existence of bugs and backdoors in our system as problematic. Which in turn for some may be a radical rethink of justice1. This week, consider the justice system and the concept of back doors and who they protect. How far will people go to keep those protections? What will it take to close the backdoors?

1Capitol Rioter Who Said She Wouldn’t Go to Jail Since She’s White Gets 2 Months Behind Bars

Gaslighting: Psychologists use the term “gaslighting” to refer to a specific type of manipulation where the manipulator is trying to get someone else (or a group of people) to question their own reality, memory or perceptions. And it’s always a serious problem, according to psychologists.


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