Former Stanford Swimmer Receives Lenient Sentence After Sexual Assault Conviction
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Politics and Activism

Former Stanford Swimmer Receives Lenient Sentence After Sexual Assault Conviction

Yet another student athlete rapes someone and is viewed as a helpless victim of circumstance.

Former Stanford Swimmer Receives Lenient Sentence After Sexual Assault Conviction
Shelby Shepard

Former Stanford Swimmer Brock Allen Turner was convicted of three felony counts of sexual assault after attacking an unconscious woman outside of a party hosted at a fraternity in January of 2015. He was mid-assault when two Swedish graduate students came across the scene, which was unfolding behind a dumpster; he attempted to flee, but the students were able to pin him down until police arrived.

The victim, identified only as Emily Doe, delivered an emotional statement during the trial, which has been released to the public. In her statement, the victim describes Turner's blatant refusal to acknowledge that what occurred was rape and not simply a side effect of heavy drinking. Essentially, Turner's defense relied on the fact that copious amounts of alcohol were involved, and the victim made it clear that his being intoxicated was not the issue; the issue, she explained to a packed courtroom, was that he then sexually assaulted an unconscious woman.

In her statement, the victim decried his defense strategy and his attempts to make the events seem like the aftermath of drunken confusion.

"Even in this story, there’s barely any dialogue; I only said a total of three words before he had me half naked on the ground. I have never been penetrated after three words. He didn’t claim to hear me speak one full sentence that night, so in the news when it says we 'met', I’m not sure I would go so far as to say that. Future reference, if you are confused about whether a girl can consent, see if she can speak an entire sentence. You couldn’t even do that. Just one coherent string of words. If she can’t do that, then no. Don’t touch her, just no. Not maybe, just no. Where was the confusion? This is common sense, human decency. " - Victim's Statement

However, despite the heavy victim's statement and her obvious suffering, Judge Aaron Persky viewed Turner not as the attacker, but as additional victim.

According to Fox News, after giving Turner a shockingly lenient sentence (six months in jail and three years of probation), Judge Persky defended his decision with the following comment, "A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him... I think he will not be a danger to others."

Judge Persky effectively decided that the victim's future, now forever scarred by the emotional trauma of the assault, was not worth this ex-athlete's future endeavors. Evidently, he thinks that a number of years locked behind bars considering the impact of sexually assaulting someone is not healthy for Turner. The idea that he "will not be a danger to others" is equally ludicrous; he already is a danger to others, and he proved that one violent January evening.

This sentencing speaks to a much larger issue: sexual assault on campus is rarely taken seriously. This judge has perpetuated this horrific problem by attempting to protect Turner from serious jail time and disregarding the weight of the victim's statement.

This woman was raped, while unconscious, behind a dumpster. Turner was inebriated, but he wasn't unconscious. He made the decision, drunk or not, to force himself on a woman who could offer no consent or self defense. He did not choose to help her up and take care of her. He did not decide to call for assistance in case she was hurt or had alcohol poisoning. Instead, he peeled off her clothing and violated her to the core of her being. He felt so entitled to her limp body that he took every advantage of her that he could before being interrupted. Then, in court, he tried to make the entire affair seem like one simple misunderstanding. The judge bought it and gave him a slap on the wrist.

That slap on the wrist sends a clear message to men and women alike in universities across the country. Men have access to young women and parties, and they are entering these situations with the understanding that if they violate someone else's body sexually, there is a huge chance that they'll get off easily. Women step onto campus with the knowledge that if a man takes advantage and rapes them and they choose to press charges, they face months of humiliation and defamation. Even if they survive the ensuing circus act that our criminal justice system calls a "trial," it's more likely than not that their attackers will walk away with a gentle chiding.

Essentially, our country views rape as some sort of weird, confusing accident that happens sometimes. Our country sees both the rapist and victim as victims of the situation. Well, actually, our country sees the rapist as a victim and the true victim as a nuisance. Until there is a major attitude adjustment regarding rape in our criminal justice system, women will be victims of entitled, fearless rapists who move about campus with the understanding that the judge will be on their sides.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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