Brock Turner was released from prison on September 2, 2016 after serving a three-month sentence for three different felonies, including the sexual assault of a woman on Stanford’s campus in California.
Judge Aaron Persky initially gave Turner a light sentence of six months, and allowed him to serve only three months of that six. Turner’s shortened sentence has inspired outrage, and rightfully so.
At his sentencing Turner was convicted of assault with the intent to commit rape of an unconscious person, sexual penetration of an unconscious person and sexual penetration of an intoxicated person. Sexual assault has a severe impact on its survivors, but Turner served only three months of a six-month sentence.
Turner is required to register as a sex offender, and his neighbors will be notified whenever he moves to a new location. Turner has also been banned from swimming on any U.S. swimming team.
Persky, Turner’s sentencing judge, said, “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him.”
We The Threefold Advocate believe that “a severe impact” is exactly what Turner needed to realize the severity of his actions.
Instead of pleading guilty, Turner plead innocent to all of his charges, forcing the Stanford victim to testify in court if she was to receive justice. Despite this ordeal, she did not receive justice.
We The Threefold Advocate believe that the Stanford victim suffered at least two wounds: One from Turner when she was physically assaulted, and another from the U.S. justice system, specifically Persky, when the consequence of her degradation was valued at only three months in prison.
We The Threefold Advocate believe that this mockery of justice should produce righteous anger. When a person survives a degrading crime, it is the job of the surrounding people to say through the justice system, “You have value. This person degraded your value. Therefore we will seriously punish this person.”
We The Threefold Advocate believe that is exactly what the Stanford victim did not get. Instead, the U.S. justice system essentially told her, “You have little value. The way Turner degraded your value is not serious enough for us to give him a long sentence. Turner has more value than you. It is ok if you suffer, but not if he suffers.”
News reports have frequently listed Turner’s swimming times, his desire to swim in the Olympics and his previously bright future. These reports talk about Turner’s value. But when it comes to justice, he should be viewed as human with value equal to the victim. That’s it. Maintaining his potentially bright future and his privilege is not important.
Civil law is based on balance. A punishment should be equal in severity to the crime that was committed. For this reason, we The Threefold hold that three months out of six is a sad joke.
It’s a joke because the system failed at its job to grant credence to the victim and to display the consequences of a crime. It’s a joke because this case in particular has been widely publicized, the details of the case outlined and the feelings of the victim broadcasted.
It’s a sad joke because one in six women experience sexual assault through their lifetime, and because 11.2 percent of college students will experience sexual assault during their undergraduate years. Roughly eight percent of those students will be female.
We The Threefold Advocate will say what has been said but must be said again; this is rape, an evil, destructive, thieving act that carves scars into the bodies and minds of its victims. Turner committed this act against another human being, scarring her and ingraining the trial and the act into her mind for years to come.
In the victim’s own words, “When you are eighteen in this country, you can go to war. When you are nineteen, [as Brock was] you are old enough to pay the consequences for attempting to rape someone.”
We The Threefold Advocate speak against lenient cases such as this, and we do so for the sake of recognizing those survivors who have been robbed and decreasing the frequency of the crimes against them.
We The Threefold Advocate also speak to respect those persons against whom these crimes have been committed. We know the world is not as it should be, and our hearts and prayers go to you.
Finally, we The Threefold Advocate speak to the reader to understand the gravity of this matter. All the statistics were pulled from rainn.org and have been presented to communicate the frequency of rape both on college campuses and in life.