Judge Persky’s Sentencing Of Convicted Stanford Rapist Brock Turner Fails Millions Around The World

Vito La Giorgia

Brock Turner will only spend three of the six-month sentence handed down by California Judge Aaron Persky for raping an unconscious female student behind a dumpster on Stanford's campus. Millions around the world are reacting to the story that made international news. CNN is reporting that over 1 million people have signed a petition to "oust [the] judge" who delivered what so many feel is a lenient and perhaps irresponsible sentence for a rapist.

How did Judge Persky justify his sentencing, given the fact that the vast majority of rape cases given the evidence and immediate response of this one have resulted in longer sentencing for the criminal?

To make matters worse, Persky's comments have added fuel to the fire whose smoke is being seen by the entire world, when he said this about Brock Turner "a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him (Turner). I think he will not be a danger to others."

The sentencing coupled with this comment has caused the simmering pot of rape on college campuses in the U.S. to boil over. The insensitivity of Judge Persky's comments and leniency of his sentencing could enrage people enough to the point that a revolution against rape culture could occur. People in countries as far as China have recently become part of the social media storm against Turner, Persky, and justice systems around the world for the way in which they deal with the crime of rape.

Three months of intense psychotherapy is arguably not enough to change a rapist's behavior, let alone three months in prison. Especially given the fact that according to BuzzFeed, Turner "denied sexually assaulting her".

The victim in this case has shown incredible courage. She seems like she would be an incredible advocate against rape crimes, if only the same could be said about Brock Turner. During the court processions, the victim became a hero when she stood up to the man who raped her, looked him in his eyes, and read a 12-page letter to him detailing the trauma she incurred. Here is an excerpt from that letter posted by BuzzFeed,

"They (hospital staff) let me shower. I stood there examining my body beneath the stream of water and decided, I don't want my body anymore. I was terrified of it. I didn't know what had been in it, if it had been contaminated, who had touched it. I wanted to take off my body like a jacket and leave it at the hospital with everything else. On that morning, all that I was told was that I had been found behind a dumpster, potentially penetrated by a stranger, and that I should get retested for HIV because results don't always show up immediately. But for now, I should go home and get back to my normal life. Imagine stepping back into the world with only that information. They gave me hugs and I walked out of the hospital into the parking lot wearing the new sweatshirt and sweatpants they provided me, as they had only allowed me to keep my necklace and shoes."
"What's happened and what we're witnessing is really a watershed pivotal moment, because what happened in that courtroom was the victim of these egregious crimes read this incredible letter that she had written to explain to the judge what she had not only gone through during the assault, but in its brutal aftermath and having to cope with that kind of trauma."

Courtrooms do not protect us in our everyday life. The job is ours before it ends up in the hands of law enforcement and the justice system. Judging by the sentencing that took place in this California courtroom, it seems like what happens outside courtrooms gives us a greater chance of protecting human life. The writing is on the wall: when a first time drug user receives a longer sentence than a first time rapist, something needs to change.

Judge Persky's irresponsible comments miserably fail to take the life of the victim into consideration. Persky saying, "A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him" is mind-blowing. Isn't that the point? Aren't we trying to severely impact the man who thought it was okay to rape an unconscious girl behind a dumpster?

The judge's comments were not nearly as pathetic as Turner's father, Dan Turner, who said this about his son, Brock.

"His life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20-plus years of life."

Judge Persky and Dan Turner's infuriating comments help no one. "I think" is not the prognostication any rational person wants to hear coming from a judge who is sentencing a rapist. There is an assumption that Turner dragged the victim behind a dumpster, as that is where the attack took place, if so, when you decide to do that, there is something very wrong, and to say "I think he will not be a danger to others," is obviously going to tick people off.

Rape is one of the worst crimes a human being can commit due to the psychological damage it does to the victim, which in some cases results in suicide. If the justice system is able to hand out six-month sentences for rapists, ignore the message that it sends to society as well as ignore the research behind the effects rape has on the victim, perhaps it is up to the universities and colleges around the U.S. to hold campus-wide conferences, in-class discussion, hand out official memorandums, create zero-tolerance rules and produce any other methods necessary to ensure rape will never happen on a college campus ever again, in hopes that the future of America ensures a better future for Americans when it comes to the crime of rape.

A person who commits the crime of rape should receive severe punishment and intense psychotherapy to eradicate whatever it is that allowed them to commit the act. Dan Turner and other Brock Turner sympathizers should also consider therapy for their comments about Brock's crime.

The fact is, people like Brock Turner are out there, parents like Brock's exist, and the only thing we can do about it is make sure our children, students, friends and co-workers, understand the severity of the crime and work towards eradicating it from our society and influencing the world to do the same. Change starts with you.

[Photo by Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office/AP Images]