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Jun
12
2016

The Unconscionably Low Jail Sentence Brock Turner Received from Judge Aaron Persky

end_violenceBy now, you all know about Brock Turner.  If you don’t, here you go:  In March 2016, Brock Turner, a Stanford swimmer, was found guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.  A jury found Turner guilty guilty of three felonies including assault with intent to rape an intoxicated woman and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object..  This woman was so drunk that she was blacked out lying on the ground behind a dumpster on the Stanford campus.  Let’s repeat that again – this woman was so drunk, that she was blacked out lying on the ground behind a dumpster on the Stanford campus.  And Brock Turner sexually assaulted her.

We fast forward to June 2, 2016, Turner’s sentence hearing, and Judge Aaron Persky handed down a sentence of six month in jail.  It blows my my mind that the sentence was so incredibly weak (prosecutors in the case recommended a sentence of 6 years and the sentence could have been as much as 14 years).  There is now an active campaign to recall Judge Persky.  And it now appears that Turner will only serve three months in a county jail.  This is unfathomable to me.  The normal sentence for this crime is generally eleven years – and Turner is going to be out in three months. Turner must register as a sex offender, but when you do something as awful as he did, yes, you need to be held accountable.  Yes, you should have never have an opportunity to represent the USA in international swimming competitions – and yes, you can’t ever be permitted to step foot on Stanford’s campus again.

It is also unconscionable to me that Turner’s father would refer to this as “20 minutes of action.”  But that’s what he did here.  Yes, Turner’s father called it 20 minutes of action.  Apparently Turner’s father is really concerned because his son can no longer eat his favorite meal, which is steak.  Turner’s mother is having difficulty decorating the new house because she can’t put up photos of the happy family.  Unbelievable.  Turner, himself, of course is taking limited accountability for his actions that night.  He is blaming it on the party culture at Stanford University.

This Turner family really does live in a different area code of reality than a lot of us (probably most of us).

The victim, on the other hand, had this to say:  And I urge you to read the entire letter at BuzzFeed (there has been irreparable damage done to her life).  I can’t do it justice by quoting it – again, I urge you to read her entire letter (it is a very significant message).  The victim’s sister is right that this harm can never be undone.

The Vice-President of the United States, Joseph Biden (who has long been an advocate of better handling of domestic abuse and sexual violence), had this to say in support of the victim at BuzzFeed News.  Again, I urge you to read his entire letter.

John Pavlovitz has some terrific insight when it comes to advice for Turner’s father here.  It’s such a powerful blog post – I can’t quote it – I urge you to read the entire column.

Carl-Fredrik Arndt and Peter Jonsson saved the victim’s life. We need more bystanders like Arndt and Jonsson (these guys are heroes) – people that will say, “No more!” and will step in and protect victims.

And that will lead to my next post (stay tuned for it) – what preventative measures can campuses take to be more proactive in combatting sexual violence.    As the Vice-President says, #ITSONUS to stop sexual violence on campus.

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