At 1am, on January 17th 2015, two cyclists came across Brock Turner having sex with an unconscious girl behind a dumpster on the grounds of Standford University. His victim remembers nothing and was informed that she was raped when she woke up in hospital.
He was found guilty and on June 2nd, Judge Persky sentenced Turner to just six months in jail and three years of probation for his actions. Turner was also ordered to register as a sex offender. Persky noted that he came to the decision because of Turner’s clean criminal record and that a harsher punishment would have left a “severe impact” on him. “I think he will not be a danger to others,” Judge Persky said.
Brock was considered to be a promising swimmer with a bright future as an athlete ahead of him. A letter from his father to the judge stated that “His life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve,” the elder Turner wrote. “That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”
There was immediate uproar and a petition began to circulate demanding that the judge be struck off (currently holding over 1 million signatures). For perspective, watch this video comparing the case of two convicted rapists, whose cases are almost identical bar one factor, race of the perpetrator.
Last week Turner was released from prison having served just 3 months of his 6 month sentence. And people are PISSED OFF!
Brock Turner just left in silence from jail. pic.twitter.com/DdmXoT6C57
— Averi Harper (@AveriHarper) September 2, 2016
Some feel that Brocks behaviour was inexcusable, that he should be forever branded a rapist and a sex offender. Others feel that maybe the girl concerned brought it on herself by maybe leading him on, or being too drunk to take responsibility for herself. (Note: No girl ever brings rape on herself. Full stop).
How do we educate society that rape is rape and consent is consent? For a start, how about asking each college student, male, female or nin-binary, to read the victim’s impact statement, which is very tough to read, unthinkable to live. This case has caused irreparable pain to so many, and re-opened the wounds for those whose lives are still affected by sexual assault, and who may never be the same again.