050704-006A young woman who was intoxicated and unconscious was allegedly raped by a Stanford student names Brock Turner (allegedly because it has not been proven in court). And not just any student, but a student athlete who was heavily recruited for the swim team (swimming is big at Stanford). Normally these kinds of stories have dismal endings for the alleged victim for in addition to the rape itself the allegedly perpetrators are rarely expelled from school or even kicked of their sports team never mind facing charges. But that’s not what happened this time at Stanford.


Two male students on bicycles spotted Turner on top of a woman who was clearly unconscious. Instead of just cycling away or giving a lame, ‘Dude, stop,” they intervened. Physically. They got him off the woman and held him until the police came.

The police actually came and arrested Turner.

The prosecutors are charging Turner.

Turner is not allowed back on campus.


Stanford was previously identified as a school with serious issues regarding their handling of sexual assaults and apparently they have been working hard to improve that, although we don’t know what would have happened had two good people not decided that rape is everyone’s business.  It’s sad that a victim’s word is often not enough and even worse when a woman can’t remember what happened (and so clearly could never have consented) she is simply dismissed.  However, this case is really important to me and not just because the University and the prosecutor and the police did the right things, but because two people thought that it was their business.

Once upon a time I was a young and had too much to drink at a party. Somehow through the Peach Schnapps’ goggles I thought leaving with 3 guys who I had never met before was a good idea. The next thing I knew my friend Jill was pounding on the hood of the car to force the driver to stop and then she hauled me out. I don’t remember anything else except waking up safely in Jill’s bed in clean sweats and a t-shirt. I could not have consented to anything the night before and while those guys could have been sweet gentlemen intent on driving me to my house, the facts suggested an alternate, less savory ending.

We all need to be more like Jill or like these two men at  Stanford. Sometimes we will be able to spot things before and sometimes, sadly, it will be for damage control.

We must talk about changing attitudes towards sexual assault, but we need to remember that also means being prepared to step up and step in.

Rape won’t stop until we all take the responsibility of ending it.





Join the Conversation


  1. Of course, anyone witnessing a crime is duty and honor bound to intervene with the force necessary to stop the assailant. I may be off base here and I have followed this issue closely since the college in my hometown (William Smith) was the subject of a NY Times piece on campus rape. What I do not understand is why victims do not immediately go to an E.R. for a proper exam with chain of custody evidence collection. From there the local police (as opposed to the campus police) are involved and seemingly could be less influenced by sports stars, etc.

    This is by far, not the only piece to the puzzle but if the evidence and the complaint is made independent of the school, it seems (and I may be way off base) that justice is more likely to be served.

    1. Guilt, Daniel Kane. Fear. Shame.
      Knowing everyone you know will know you’ve been raped. You feel stupid and afraid. You feel dirty. He left you with a threat that he’d come back.
      The cops aren’t always helpful and sometimes treat the victim like a criminal. Not much different than campus police.
      And if you know your rapist, everyone says things like she changed her mind. She led him on.
      Most rapists aren’t strangers to the victim.
      Most rapists never go to jail.
      Do you really want to go through a trial and all the stress connected to it when you know he’ll never go to jail?

    2. I counseled a student who went to a party and woke up the next morning hurting on the floor in the basement of the party house. She went to the E.R. to collect evidence. They actively discouraged her, saying “how do you know?” She had to insist repeatedly to be tested, begging the ER, and sure enough she had been raped. Hundreds of rape kits languished in Illinois unchecked. Not so simple.

  2. Glad to hear there are people who would step up like this!
    I just can’t understand that young men think this kind of behavior is acceptable!
    What did their mothers teach them?!

  3. “Rape won’t stop until we all take the responsibility of ending it.”

    Nice one! Which is like another way of saying: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

    But Edmund Burke was a guy so I am tweaking this quote thus, “Evil triumphs and rapes (murders and mayhems) happen because men and women choose to sit on their asses and refuse to be uncomfortable.” (says me)

    Your articles may just make a lot of people uncomfortable Dr. Gunter, but you hit a right note there. Great article 🙂

  4. See The Hunting Ground if you can, just showed at Sundance and deals with this very issue.

  5. Great post! I am glad that some human beings intervened to help another human being who was being harmed, and I think it is a start that the school is taking strong action, but the fact that it takes ‘witnesses’ to force action is still galling.

  6. Dr. Gunter, I’m absolutely certain that you know that this crap won’t ever stop, until males are NOT conditioned from the moment they breathe….the way they have been for centuries.

    I would bet the ranch that nothing will happen to the Stanford person….nor our Dalhousie dental wretches…..

    not to mention the literally thousands of good ol’ boys in the American military…probably our Canadian one too. The stats in the American situation would make your head spin.

    It’s a damned and filthy shame. And every facet of our societies should be shamed into facing their part in this scourge. We’ve all allowed it to go on forever.

    The only people who will stop this….will be strong women…who raise their voices….in concert. AND those same women absolutely must take those convictions and perform the relevant actions required….at home, in every room they live in. Every room.

    We can no longer keep passing the buck…not for a second. The boys who intervened in the Stanford case…must also organize …to help this vitally needed change.

    Sadly, most men haven’t got the courage to do what those young interveners did.

    GK Germain.

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