Brock Turner. He assaulted a young, drunk woman behind a dumpster, fleeing only when someone caught him. A swimmer turned abuser, who has blamed his unspeakable acts on alcohol and "party culture", spent only half of his ridiculously short 6-month sentence behind bars.
The judge was Judge Aaron Persky. A man.
Larry Nassar. A man who now has to face more time in jail than the number of women he assaulted, but only barely. A doctor turned pedophile (or pedophile turned doctor) who spent most of his adult life assaulting young, impressionable athletes under the manipulation of power and the guise of "medicine" will now spend the rest of his miserable life behind bars.
The judge was Judge Rosemarie Aquilina. A woman.
Both of these cases reached national headlines. Both cases involved a previously well-liked individual, one whose previous successes and lives would be ruined by the allegations. Brock Turner was an Olympic-bound swimmer. Larry Nassar was an Olympic doctor. Both cases involved women reading their testimonies to the court, articulately and heartbreakingly explaining what their abuse did to them.
But Brock Turner sat behind bars for three months, and Larry Nassar was given 175 years.
You can say there are other differences. You can say that Brock Turner was drunk and that it was only one woman. You can say that Brock Turner was a kid, experiencing a party for the first time. Or, you could say what Judge Aaron Persky said, which was that "A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him."
(And, probably more correctly, you could say that he is a young white boy who, in the eyes of the law, can do essentially no wrong. There is no doubt the outcome of the case would have been different if Brock Turner was a black man. However, this specific article is about the astronomical differences in sentencing from a female judge and a male judge.)
But, what you can't say is Brock Turner served the time that made sense for his crime. A 6-year sentence was asked for. He ended up being given 6 months, a sentence which is common for many misdemeanors.
To put in perspective, for 6 months Brock Turner could have:
— Tampered with cable television equipment in Oregon,
— Possessed an ounce of marijuana in Utah,
— Been publicly intoxicated in Indiana,
— Falsified a transcript or diploma in South Carolina,
— Or passed a bad check for less than $200 in Nebraska,
But somehow, the judge decided that assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster deserved 6 months, as well. So, someone who got drunk in public and didn't choose to assault an unconscious woman could get the same prison sentence as someone who did.
Great work, Aaron.
His sentence was light. His sentence was unreasonably, unfairly and unquestionably light. And I believe that if Judge Rosemarie Aquilina would have presided over the case, we would have seen at least the 6-year sentence that was asked for.
Judge Aquililna made Nassar listen to over 100 testimonies from the women he abused. Judge Aquilina threw his complaint letter on the ground. Judge Aquilina stood for the women he abused and gave them the justice they deserved. Judge Persky felt bad for Turner and feared too long a sentence could affect him.
We see a woman showing remorse for the victims. We see a man showing remorse for an attacker.
We see a woman providing closure for the victims. We see a man letting the attacker back on the streets in 90 days.
In these cases, we see a woman being pro-victim. We see a woman doing what is right. And we see a man doing the exact opposite.
And if, God forbid, you ever needed a judge to be an advocate for justice for you, who would you rather see on the bench? Judge Persky or Judge Aquilina? A 6-month sentence for your abuser or the maximum?
A man or a woman?