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Why I am not Defending My Family Member after He Sexually Assaulted Someone

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UWF chapter.

When I was notified that my ex brother-in-law was charged with two felonies of video voyeurism and sexual battery on March 28, I was shocked. I have known this man since I was 7 years old. I have thought of this man as my brother for over a decade, and I could not imagine him being capable of rape.

Upon reading the Northwest Florida Daily News article about the case, I was appalled by my former brother-in-law’s behavior.  After attending Roy Jones Jr. boxing match at the Pensacola Bay Center, the victim and my brother-in-law rode in his limo.

The article states that witnesses told authorities the woman was “wasted” and incapable of walking on her own, so my brother-in-law had to carry her fireman style to take her from the limo to his car. As he drove back to Destin, the victim continued to throw up, so he pulled over at the Destin Middle School parking lot about 1 a.m.

At this point in the article, I had high hopes that he would be the man I knew him to be and make sure she got home safe. But, he didn’t. The article went on to describe how he performed oral sex on her while she was too intoxicated to respond or consent.

Days after the incident the officer asked the woman if she had given consent to have intercourse, she said, “No, because I don’t remember. I don’t even remember getting into his car.” She also stated to the officer, according to the article, that even if she was sober, she wouldn’t have given the man consent.

My brother-in-law even admitted to police “That she might not have been in the right frame of mind to tell me to stop.” 

This article with the officer’s, the victim’s, the witnesses’ and my brother-in-law’s statements were enough for me to be convinced of his guilt.

The Northwest Florida Daily News article was shared on their Facebook page. The comments are filled with statements from the friends of my brother-in-law arguing he is still “a good guy” and that “he would never do this.” Several other people resorted to victim blaming by arguing that “Both parties are to blame here.”

As someone who has been close to this man for a majority of my life, I could not imagine explaining away his disturbing behavior. Yes, this is still the same man who cheered me on during all of my volleyball games and celebrated birthdays with me, but I cannot bring myself to forgive or excuse his behavior.

During the Brock Turner case in 2016, Turner’s family and friends argued relentlessly that Turner was a commendable young man even though witnesses caught Turner raping the visibly incoherent woman. I remember thinking that maybe their love for Turner is blinding them from recognizing that he is a monster.

Now that I stand in their shoes, I realize no amount of love could stop me from seeing my brother-in-law as anything other than a rapist. I pray the court comes to the same conclusion and gives him the maximum sentence.

Gina Castro is a junior at the University of West Florida where she is double majoring in English Literature and Journalism. She is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus UWF and an editorial intern for Ballinger Publishing. Since her sophomore year, she has been an active member of her university's Her Campus chapter. When she's not researching new stories to write articles about, she is watching knitting tutorials or obsessing over Toni Morrison.
Abigail is a Journalism and Political Science major minoring in Spanish. She has a penchant for puns and can't go a morning without listening to NPR's Up First podcast. You can usually find her dedicating time to class work, Her Campus, College to Congress, SGA or hammocking. Her dream job is working as a television broadcast journalist on a major news network. Down time includes TED talk binges, reading and writing. You can follow Abigail on instagram and Twitter @abi_meggs