OPINION BY MIA BLONDIN
As I’m writing this, Brock Turner is leaving jail after spending only three months in his cell.
Brock Turner sexually assaulted a woman after a night of drinking at a party on Stanford’s campus. The woman was unconscious when he assaulted her and instead of taking responsibility for his actions, Turner decided that alcohol was the thing to blame.
Despite being found guilty, Brock Turner was sentenced to only six months in jail, a term that was cut in half for “good behavior” before he even arrived on the site.
Now, I’m sure you’re thinking about how crazy it is that a person can sexually assault someone and receive such a short sentence. But let’s consider the following: Brock Turner is a white male who was a member of the swim team and had dreams of being an Olympian.
But wait, should his dreams of going to Rio cause us to overlook the fact that he sexually assaulted an unconscious woman on the ground behind a frat house dumpster? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Brock Turner sexually assaulted an unconscious woman and only stopped when two bikers noticed. He was convicted of this crime and faced up to 14 years in a prison cell with the minimum recommendation for his convictions being two years.
Judge Aaron Persky handed down an even shorter sentence because of his fear of a “significant impact” on Turner, but it kind of seems like that’s just what Turner and his family needed.
Part of the reasoning behind Turner’s embarrassingly short sentence was the character statements made by his friends and family. When reading those statements, I became even more enraged.
Turner’s father referred to the sexual assault as “20 minutes of action” and talked about how, because of the chaos surrounding the case, Turner couldn’t eat his favorite foods anymore. Excuse me if I don’t pity the boy for not being able to keep his steak down.
Thankfully, I’m not the only person I know who is genuinely upset. Thousands of people signed a petition for the judge who handed down the ridiculously short sentence to resign. I think it’s worth noting that the judge was a Stanford athlete himself.
Luckily, Persky has since asked to stop receiving criminal cases, a move I’m hopeful will put an end to his light sentences.
I was raised on the phrase, “If you do the crime, you should do the time,” which was mostly applied to time-outs when I was four but is still something that affects how I look at the legal system today.
Bottom line: Brock Turner did the crime, but he didn’t do the time. He spent three months in a cell, but the woman he attacked will have to spend the rest of her life thinking about his horrible actions. If one in five woman are assaulted on college campuses but little to nothing is done about the assaulters, what will stop them? Persky could have sent a message, and he did, but he sent the wrong one.
By giving Brock Turner such a short sentence, Persky sent the message that you can get away with very little time even if the crime you commit will impact someone for the rest of his or her life, and that just isn’t okay. The court system is supposed to be a place where justice is served, but it seems like the scales were unjustly tipped in Brock Turner’s favor.