Reckless lenience: learning from the Brock Turner case

Nicole Cirra, Contributing Writer

Emanuella Grinberg and Catherine E. Shoichet of CNN accurately described the outrage that erupted when former Stanford University student and convicted rapist Brock Turner served only three months of his six-month sentence. Turner was indicted on five charges: rape of an intoxicated person, rape of an unconscious person, assault with intent to rape an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object, and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object. Following the guilty verdict and the sentencing agreement made by Judge Aaron Persky, which sentenced Turner to six months in a county jail, protesters focused their attention on the decision of Persky, who is, at his own request, no longer hearing criminal cases.

Sexual assault is an issue across campuses nationwide, and I believe decisions similar to this one (which minimize the consequences of rape) increase the risk of future assaults. There is no excuse. While Turner will no longer live a normal life and will have to register as a sex offender, this is a small price to pay for the years of emotional distress he has caused an innocent woman. I agree with others that the case should have been reevaluated.

This is just one out of the hundreds of thousands of rape and sexual assault cases that occur each year. The best thing for us to do from this moment forward is to educate young students about sexual assault prevention. As a first-year at the University, I attended a mandatory Speak UP talk that informed the audience not only about the consequences of committing sexual assault, but what other students can do to help. I believe these discussions should be implemented nationwide to reduce the amount of assaults and to protect victims rather than perpetrators. These talks can hopefully teach potential perpetrators how to make ethical decisions in the future.

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