Despite the outrage of many, Brock Turner was released on Friday after serving only half of his already short prison sentence. In the wake of Judge Aaron Persky’s questionable sentencing of Turner, the women’s rights group, UltraViolet, is calling for action against the judge who gave Turner such a light punishment. They want the judge held accountable for showing bias in this case of a privileged athlete who they believe was given special treatment to the detriment of his victim.
The former Stanford swimmer was convicted of attempting to rape an unconscious girl behind a dumpster during a party. Even though there were several witnesses and Brock Turner was literally caught in the act, he was only sentenced to six months in jail because Judge Persky believed a longer sentence would have a “severe impact” on Turner.
“Brock Turner was proven guilty of raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. There were witnesses and ample evidence. But after serving only three months in jail, Turner is now free–because Judge Aaron Persky simply did not take Turner’s crime seriously.”
UltraViolet co-founders Nita Chaudhary and Shaunna Thomas wrote a piece for Medium on the day Brock Turner was released. In it, they condemned Judge Aaron Persky for the light sentence and called him out for his role in continuing to victimize the rape victim.
Brock Turner faced up to 14 years
Prosecutors asked for 6 years
Judge sentenced him to 6 months
He served 3 pic.twitter.com/PVAwPOjrrI
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) September 2, 2016
After all, Judge Persky handed down a six-month sentence to Brock Turner after his victim read a pretty damning statement, in which she reminded everyone in the courtroom that while he will only serve a short time in jail, she has to live with what he did for the rest of her life.
“You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today,” Turner’s victim read aloud in the courtroom. The entirety of Brock Turner’s victim’s statement was posted on Buzzfeed and after reading the detailed and very emotional account of what happened that night and since her assault, it’s shocking that Judge Persky had the audacity to hand down such a light sentence.
Little did she know, Brock Turner wasn’t even going to serve the recommended sentence for his crime, which was six years. Instead, Persky gave him six months because of the impact he believed a long sentence would have on the rapist’s life, without any thought about how that would impact his victim.
Stanford Rapist Brock Turner is Officially Out of Jail https://t.co/aHKEPl2dTc
— Cosmopolitan (@Cosmopolitan) September 2, 2016
Instead, Persky gave him six months because of the impact he believed a long sentence would have on the rapist’s life, without any thought about how that would impact his victim. To make matters even worse, Brock Turner wouldn’t even serve the entirety of that sentence because he was released after serving just three-months and would only have to submit to the terms of his probation going forward.
Even more upsetting is the fact that Brock Turner isn’t the only accused and convicted rapist who has benefited from these ultra-short sentences in the U.S. It seems to have become a serious issue in this country, where the rape culture abounds, and victims are afraid to even report the crimes of their assailants because the stress and torture they go through with the U.S. justice system isn’t even worth the laughable sentences that are handed out to those who are convicted of rape.
Is a convicted rapist’s life worth more than that of his victim? UltraViolet has been working to reverse the way the system handles rape cases and to hold judges accountable when they fail to consider the impact of their decisions on the victims, especially in cases such as Judge Persky and Brock Turner, where clearly there was more concern over a college athlete’s experience in jail than there was about the damage done to his victim.
For now, the women’s rights group wants Judge Aaron Persky removed. They have also petitioned for cases like the Brock Turner rape case to be handled with much more objectivity when it comes to worrying about the fate of the convicted rapist and more care when it comes to the victims.
[Photo by Eric Risberg/ AP Images]