Today is Sunday. This means we’ve survived another week of life, an experience made worse by Brock Turner and the man who took his best game to prom. Dearie me.
Hello all, and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. We’ve had a highly controversial sentence in the US, the Queen reaching the big 9-0 and a scandalous week for Turnbull and Co.
Assuming you haven’t been living under a digital rock, you’ve probably heard the name Brock Turner bandied about in recent times. Turner, a 20-year-old student at the prestigious Stanford University, has been at the centre of a significant public debate following a recent court case where he faced three charges, all related to a sexual assault incident 2015.
Turner was arrested after he was found by two graduate students on top of an unconscious woman, behind the Kappa Alpha fraternity. The two Swedish graduate students who found Turner in the act confronted him, at which point he attempted to flee. One of the students chased him down and detained him whilst the other stayed with the still unconscious victim.
The case was thrust into the limelight after Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, gave the surprisingly lenient sentence of six months jail time with three years probation – a sentence for which he will likely only serve three months. Prior to sentencing, it was expected that Turner could face up to fourteen years behind bars.
The judge in question also happens to be a Stanford graduate and was a student athlete much like Brock Turner, understandably raising a few eyebrows. Judge Persky’s justification for the sentence was even more shocking in the circumstances, as he indicated his reluctance to issue a harsher sentence as he feared it would have a “severe impact” on Turner. The impact on the victim appears to have slipped Persky’s mind.
Or maybe he was moved by a statement given by Brock’s father at the sentencing hearing who pled with the judge on the grounds that a harsh sentence would be “a steep price to pay for twenty minutes of action out of his twenty plus years of life”.
Also on The Big Smoke
- Court of Public Opinion: Brock Turner
- Columbia – When rape charges aren’t enough to get you expelled…
Whilst justice may not have been served in the courtroom, it does appear to be gaining momentum now with twenty potential jurors in cases overseen by Persky refusing to serve in protest as well as a change.org petition to remove Mr Persky from future judicial work gathering over one million signatures already. Vice President, Joe Biden, has also penned an open letter expressing his “furious anger” over the case and sentence.
Turner himself has had his mugshot spread far and wide over social media which will undoubtedly make life quite difficult for him following his relatively short stint in prison. The aspiring swimmer has also received a lifetime ban from USA Swimming. All of this appears to have had little effect on Turner, however, who has released a statement in which he continues to allege that the act was consensual, and paints himself as the victim.
Rather than editorialising any further, the words of author Lauren DeStefano in a tweet this week sum everything up perfectly:
if someone’s a rapist and an athlete, they’re not an athlete who made a mistake, they’re a criminal who can also swim.
To lighter news, this week sees everyone’s third nan, Queen Elizabeth II, celebrate her 90th birthday in England. Whilst her actual birthday is in April, her birthday celebrations are traditionally held in June to coincide with better weather. The celebrations are being marked with a parade, a military ceremony as well as an expected appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony. A public street party will follow on Sunday to give the thousands of well wishers that are expected to attend a chance to celebrate.
Her Majesty is bound to receive a wide variety of thoughtful gifts to celebrate the milestone. However, the pièce de résistance must be a reading of Michael Bond’s (creator of Paddington Bear) personal account of growing up to be ninety, read by none other than Sir David Attenborough. If David Attenborough read two pages of the phone book for me for my birthday, I’d die a happy man.
The celebrations also mark the annual Queen’s Birthday Honours list which has seen veteran singer Rod Stewart knighted and British astronaut, Major Tim Peake, becoming a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George for services to space research and scientific education.
Happy birthday, Lizzie!
A faint glimmer of hope has turned into tragedy for an Australian family with news that the body of missing Australian backpacker, Rye Hunt, has been discovered at Marica, 50 kilometres from the centre of Rio de Janeiro.
Mr Hunt has been missing since the 21st of May following a night out in Rio where he was allegedly under the influence of drugs. He and his travelling companion, Mitchell Sheppard, had an argument at the airport the following day and separated at which point Mr Hunt disappeared.
The agony of his family has been amplified with the entire process being handled poorly by Brazilian authorities as well as the media. Two weeks ago, reports emerged that Mr Hunt had been seen alive on Cotunduba Island off Rio after a local fisherman spoke with an injured Australian who had swum to the island.
The family also received pictures from Brazilian media outlets of a body asking them to confirm his identity as well as publishing the pictures in various publications. The family have also expressed their disappointment that the discovery of Rye’s body was published in the media before they received an official notification from DFAT, denying them the opportunity to inform those that knew Rye directly. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has also confirmed the sad news, indicating that the Australian government will continue to work with the family to provide support and with the Brazilian authorities to determine how Rye’s death came about.
PM Malcolm Turnbull has had some more bad PR he can’t afford this week with some of his closest advisors doing very little to soften his elitist image. Senator James McGrath and Turnbull’s principal private secretary Sally Cray were drawn into a shouting match with a protester whilst on a campaign stop with Turnbull on the Sunshine Coast. The protester was questioning withdrawn funding for a local hospital as well as tax breaks for coal mines, to which McGrath replied “Who pays your dole?”.
The exchange continued with the protester asking what was going to be done about the Adani coal mine as well as further questions about healthcare funding. Both McGrath and Cray continued to respond, asking the woman “What are you going to do about jobs?” and “How are you going to fund it?”.
Whilst I’m encouraged by senior Libs actually asking the public what they want for once, I’m still quite certain that working out how to fund healthcare and social security is part what we pay our pollies the big bucks to do. Whether we should or not…
The news for the Libs became worse when their candidate for the Victorian seat of Calwell, John Min-Chiang Hsu, resigned following revelations that he owns a Frankston brothel called Paradise Playmates. At the same time, Northern Territory Sports Minister and Assistant Treasurer Nathan Barrett has also resigned from cabinet after being caught sending videos to a constituent of himself performing a sex act. Barrett is a member of the Country Liberal Party which is affiliated with the Liberal-National Coalition.
Good chance that Bill Shorten is cracking a beer and relaxing tonight as the Libs continue to do his job for him.
Wacky and wonderful
People leave their jobs for many reasons. Perhaps they have a child on the way, perhaps they finally want to write that novel they’ve been planning for the past twenty years. Or perhaps they wish to engage in an adult breastfeeding relationship (ABR – seriously, it actually has an official acronym) with their partner.
Atlanta woman Jennifer Mulford has reportedly quit her job to do just that with her bodybuilder boyfriend Brad Leeson. Mulford achieves this by doing a “dry feed” every two hours which eventually tricks her body into believing that she’s breastfeeding a child and subsequently produces breast milk.
Mulford had been “desperate” to find a partner willing to enter into an ABR, turning to Craigslist with surprisingly no success. Eventually, her ex-boyfriend Leeson mentioned that he “had a thing for big-breasted women” which gave her the opening she was looking for. Be still my beating heart…
Whilst we are on the topic of the wacky and wonderful world of romance, high school senior Chris Burwell attended his prom this week and like many of us, struggled to pick his date for the penultimate night of his secondary education. Proving that love really knows no boundaries, Burwell was not discouraged by the fact that he doesn’t “know any girls” that he would like to take; rather, he listened to his heart and took his prized copy of the Nintendo Gamecube game, Super Smash Bros. Melee as his date for the evening.
Burwell apparently danced the night away with his unconventional date but has remained quiet over whether he got lucky later in the evening. Line up, ladies, he’s loyal – who the hell still owns a Gamecube?!
Have a great week, TBSers!