Last month, a 52 year old man was found guilty of repeatedly drugging and raping his unconscious wife over the course of three years. He was convicted of one count of rape and five counts of criminal deviant conduct. Last Friday, he received his sentence. He will serve no jail time or receive any court-ordered therapy.
But before you begin to think that he is getting off scott free, Mr. David Wise will spend the next eight years in, wait for it, home confinement.
No. This is not a joke.
Oh, and did I mention that Judge Kurt Eisgruber told the victim, Mandy Boardman, that she should “forgive her attacker and move on”? Because he did.
We are all aware of how fucked up the courts can be when it comes to rape cases; just look at Steubenville or Maryville and we see a sick pattern of victim blaming and questioning whether or not certain acts should be considered rape and blah blah blah.
However, this case might make my stomach churn even more because although the jury found him guilty of all six felony charges (each one typically carrying a 6-20 year jail sentence), he will spend the next eight years of his life drinking beer, watching tv, and jerking off in peace from the comfort and privacy of his own home. I sure hope that during the sentencing the judge remember to include a firm finger wag and a warning that he “better not do it again”.
This case was the textbook definition of rape. It’s the rape scene that comes to everyone’s mind when we use the word: a woman is slipped a drug and a man violates her while she is unconscious. This should have been a textbook sentencing. This is why we have laws and corresponding consequences (you do crime A and you will receive punishment A). And though it is slightly more complicated than that in practice, I see no line of reasoning for this excessive leniency. The prosecution asked for 40 years in prison. 40 years would have been justice. Hell, 20 years would have been justice. What Wise received is not justice. He’s going home with nothing more than a shiny new ankle bracelet. A jury found him guilty and a judge set him free.
This conviction is a complete slap in the face to rape victims and a shining green light to future rapists everywhere. What kind of message do you think is sent out when a man can admit in open court to drugging his victim, (essentially) admit via email to raping her, video record multiple acts of rape on his cell phone, be found guilty, and still be sent home after only 24 days in jail? Because this is the only thing I’m hearing: rape is ok. rape isn’t a big deal. it is ok for a husband to rape his wife. it is ok for a man to rape a woman who is being “snippy”. it is ok to rape because there will be no consequence for your actions. it is ok to rape because nobody actually cares.
This case is just the most recent in a long, sickening series of rape cases that leave the victim without justice and the rapist in the clear. Cases that promote the idea that rape isn’t actually a crime. Cases that perpetuate this fucked up rape culture that we are constantly immersed in in the most blatant ways.
After being interviewed, Boardman told the Los Angeles Times to print her name, instead of protecting it like they usually do with victims. She says that she wants other victims to know that she’s “a normal person fighting for the same thing they’re fighting for”.
Unfortunately, even now in 2014, in this world of slut-shame, legal injustice, and “blurred lines”, it seems that we still have a long fight ahead of us.