“Twenty minutes of action” leads to a tipping point

According to Malcolm Gladwell, a tipping point is the moment a social trend passes a threshold and starts to spread like wildfire. The Stanford rape case is a tipping point in our understanding of rape. The circumstances of this case have converged in a way that many people in this country now understand that women have the right to be free from sexual violence.file000704919536 An unnamed victim’s searing statement brought the reality of her experience to everyone who read it. The statement by the rapist’s father that callously referred to his son’s “20 minutes of action” perfectly articulated the reality of rape culture in which a man’s entitlement to enjoy a steak – or a woman’s body – outweighs a woman’s right to bodily integrity. A judge’s sentencing decision that showed more regard for the rapist’s future than for the seriousness of his crime embodied the judicial system’s inadequate response to an act of severe violence.

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