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Stanford Rape Case: We Paid Attention Then, Why Aren’t We Paying Attention Now?

20 Sep

Dielle Ochotorena

Staff Writer

The Stanford rape scandal took the attention of Americans all over the country this past year, and if you’ve never heard of it, I have just two things to say: One, where have you been? And Two, here’s the rundown. Brock Turner, a 19-year-old college freshman at Stanford University, was seen on top of the unconscious victim behind a dumpster by two international grad students also attending Stanford. He was later arrested and on bail for $150,000. On January 28, 2015 he was charged on five accounts: two for rape, two for felony sexual assault, and one for attempted rape. Turner was sentenced on three felony assault charges, jail time of six months, three years of probation, register as a sex offender and a requirement to participate in a sex offender rehabilitation program. The minimum felony jail period for sexual assault in the state of California is 2 years and a maximum of 14 years in a federal state prison if convicted.

In defending his light ruling, Judge Aaron Persky stated in a speech that, “Obviously, the prison sentence would have a severe impact on him… The defendant is youthful and has no significant record of prior criminal offenses.”. Persky continued to imply that, “There is less moral culpability attached to the defendant who is intoxicated.” He even went as far as to say that the news coverage of the case significantly impacted Turner by saying, “The media attention that has been given to this case has in a way sort of poisoned the lives of the people that have been affected… The question I’ve asked myself is … ‘Is state prison for this defendant an antidote to that poison?’” (Guardian) In a short statement to Persky’s open-ended question: Yes. Because it does not matter whether or not the defendant was negatively impacted. Rape is rape and it should be punished in the highest degree legally possible. If there’s anyone who has suffered more than Turner would be the victim he assaulted. Her open letter is nothing but heart wrenching and full of emotion over the turmoil she suffered in the aftermath and will have to live with for the rest of her life. The reason why people up at arms and aggravated by this case and your ruling is because it indirectly tells rape victims that the law is not on their side. That this is a battle to be won all on their own. That somehow, someway this is all their fault. Which it isn’t. It never is.

It should be proper to tell you, my dearest readers that Mr. Brock Turner, the rapist who was given six months of jail time was released three months early of his sentence on September 2, 2016 amidst a crowd of reporters and protesters waiting outside the Santa Clara County Jail (CNN). An already a sorry excuse of a jail sentence, and of which got cut in half for having “good behavior”. In the eyes of the law, or should I be more clear, in the eyes of the people who hold the power and duty to interpret the law, who should be “impartial decision makers in the pursuit of justice” view sexual assault as nothing but a rigged game for the assailant to win and the victim to perish (CSCJA). Whether or not the media pays attention to a rape case, should not matter, whether or not they only received “20 minutes of action” should not matter, their history with criminal charges or not should not matter, the only thing that should matter is whether or not they attempted to pursue sexual activity with someone who is unable to give consent (Guardian).