If you remember back to June, headlines were flooded with the story of a Stanford student sexually assaulting an unconscious girl behind a dumpster, following an off campus party. The media was quick to mention, though how this boy was an all-star swimmer with goals of one day reaching the Olympics, an excellent student, and a great friend. Instead of calling him what he is, a rapist, the media portrayed Brock Turner as this clean cut, all around great guy who made a mistake. A mistake? Forgetting to turn in a paper on time or not studying for a test are mistakes. Sexually assaulting an unconscious woman is a felony. However, all of these swim times, statements from Turner's friends and families, and headlines stating his future hopes and dreams and how they had been shattered, turned it into anything but that.
What about the victim's goals and dreams? What about the life she led before she was assaulted on a night she was just trying to enjoy partying with her sister? She will never get that life back because he took it from her the night he made his choice to assault her. I read an article that the victim herself wrote. She described how she hadn't even wanted to go out that night but decided to after her sister begged her. Maybe she got too drunk, maybe she flirted, who cares? Enough is enough, this case is just the tip of the iceberg for a much too prevalent problem on college campuses today. It doesn't matter what someone is wearing, how much they've had to drink, even if they're kissing you all night long. The minute someone says no, or heaven forbid is unconscious, you don't get to have sex with them.
Brock Turner was only sentenced to six months in prison. Six months. What does his victim get? A lifetime of anxiety, trust issues, PTSD, etc. All while knowing her assailant only had to serve six months behind bars for what he did to her. At least it was something, right? No, Brock Turner has recently had his sentence reduced and will be out of jail in September. Two months. Brock will have spent two months in jail for what he did that night. For everything he took from that girl, her family, and her friends, two months. That's not even the length of a semester in school. Doesn't that make you angry? How would you feel if your child/sibling/cousin/friend/niece/nephew/etc. was the victim? Enough is enough, its time we take action.
The most recent statistic shows that nine out of 10 college women will experience sexual assault during their college career and less than five percent of those cases will be reported to the police. Meaning 95 percent of college campus assaults will never be reported to authorities. Do you know why? Because we treat victims the way that Brock Turner's victim was treated. Glorifying Turner for all his accomplishments and plans for the future. Instead of showing the public his mug shot, they showed us his squeaky-clean Stanford yearbook photo. No victim is going to feel safe coming forward when all they see all over the media is: "Stanford student accused of sexual assault! But don't worry! Look at his swim times and how smart his family and friends think he is!"
It's time to end rape culture, it's time to stop shaming victims for what they were drinking, wearing, doing, saying. It's time to stop. Everyone deserves to feel safe on campus. Everyone deserves to be able to feel safe coming forward if an assault does occur. Everyone is responsible for standing up to end the silence. Brock Turner may have gotten off with an unfairly low sentence for his crime but we don't have to let it happen again. Enough is enough.