"Assault is not an accident"


Seeds: Brock Allen Turner, a star swimmer at Stanford University, was charged with three felony counts for sexually assaulting an unconscious intoxicated woman behind a dumpster earlier this year. He was facing up to 14 years in a state prison, but only received 3 years probation and 6 months in a county jail. And, he was just released, after serving only three months. 

Core: Many are calling Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge, Aaron Persky’s, (a Stanford alum), sentencing extremely lenient. The day following the sentencing, Buzzfeed published the full courtroom statement from the victim of the assault, wherein the victim (who did not attend Stanford) concluded that the trial was stained with male and class privilege. In her statement, she commented on how the authorities clearly considered how the jail time would disrupt his studies and athletic career: “The probation officer weighed the fact that he has surrendered a hard-earned swimming scholarship. How fast Brock swims does not lessen the severity of what happened to me, and should not lessen the severity of his punishment.” The rest of her statement, which many are calling incredibly moving, can be listened to (a CNN anchor read it aloud) or read here.

Skin: Many people are not only angry about the sentencing, but also about Turner’s father’s words. He called the assault “20 minutes of action” and he said in his statement that he and his son would work to teach college students “about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity” so that he could “give back to society in a net positive way.” Interestingly, the victim commented in her statement about how her “sister teased [her] for wearing a beige cardigan to a frat party like a librarian,” which some state negates that common argument that women are “asking for it” by dressing “promiscuously.” 

Leaves: This case has furthered the discussions of victim blaming in many ways. Recently, a Canadian Judge asked a rape victim why she "couldn't just keep [her] knees together."

*Title is quoted from the victim's statement*

Food For Thought: Do you think the sentencing was too lenient? Do you think that American society is aware enough about campus sexual assault? Do you think colleges are doing enough to prevent sexual assault?

Still Hungry? The Victim’s Statement, The New York Times, CNN, Vox, The Guardian, NBC News, CNN (2), CNN (3)

Think we missed something? Tell us in the comments.