In a cold night in January 2015, two lives changed forever. 20 Year old Stanford student Brock Allen Turner was witnessed by two passerbys raping an intoxicated, unconscious female behind a dumpster. The case went to court, and in March 2016 a jury convicted him and sentenced him to up to 14 years in prison. Despite this ruling, Brock received a significantly shorter sentence by Judge Aaron Persky of just six months. Perskys rational? He feared a longer sentence would have a ‘severe impact’ on Brock’s life.
Brock is full of regret for the event that transpired, saying ‘I can never forgive myself for imposing trauma and pain on the victim.’
Brock’s father Dan A Turner has come out against the ruling in an open letter, saying that his son’s “happy go lucky self” will forever be dampened because society is going to label him as a rapist and that the sentence is a “steep price to pay for twenty minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”
Sound unsettling? A young woman was raped and the courts are more concerned about the fate of her rapist. Many people have come out in protest of the ruling of Brock, saying that it is another example of white privileged males getting away with propagating a campus rape culture. If Brock wasn’t baby faced, white, and a potential Olympic swimmer, they argue, he wouldn’t have gotten such a light sentence.
This case is inflaming the nation as people get tired of excusing young, white males from being accountable for their actions. It’s almost a given that his sentence would be closer to 14 years if he had been a different race. The fact that Brock and his victim were both heavily intoxicated is no excuse for what he did. And the fact that he was an Olympic hopefully shouldn’t effect his sentencing.
Two lives were changed that January night that can never be made right again. But maybe some small changes will come from it. Maybe society will start to have as much sympathy for rape victims as it has for the illustrious futures of the rapists.