The Stanford University rape case and its aftermath illustrate why this problem remains so difficult to solve.
It is extremely challenging to change behavior when the people committing crimes don’t believe they are doing anything wrong.
Brock Turner, 20, was convicted of three felony counts of criminal sexual assault for raping an unconscious 23-year-old woman behind a dumpster on the Stanford campus.
For this, he received the ridiculously lenient sentence of six months in jail (the maximum sentence in this case would be 14 years).
It’s difficult to tell who is the most clueless in this case: Turner, his father, or the judge.
One thing all three of them have in common is that they seem much more concerned with the welfare of the attacker in this case than the victim.
This was a callous, vicious attack against a woman who was unable to defend herself. She was unconscious, and therefore unable to give consent. It was rape. Period. No attempt to make it sound like something else can change that.
And yet, the judge, and Turner’s father, are preoccupied with how the results of his actions will affect Turner’s life. They don’t seem to care at all about how this assault might affect the victim’s life.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky reportedly took the fact that Turner was a champion swimmer, a student at a prestigious private university, and had no “significant” prior offenses, into account when sentencing him.
It’s difficult to understand what these factors have to do with the case.
It appears Turner encountered an unconscious woman and instead of helping her, he assaulted her.
His swimming ability or academic career have nothing to do with that.
He was arrested, not because he turned himself in, but because witnesses discovered him on top of the unconscious woman and intervened, holding him until police arrived.
The judge is worried about Turner’s future.
Turner’s father refuses to even acknowledge this was rape.
He coyly stated “Brock’s life has been altered forever by the events of January 17 and 18.”
Well, he damn well should experience some consequences.
Let’s be clear. This was not an accident. Turner deliberately ripped the clothes off an unconscious victim and assaulted her. He exploited another human being for his own gratification.
Turner’s father also stated, “This is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action.”
How can we not take offense at a comment like that?
Finally, still avoiding calling this a crime, Turner’s father stated, “These verdicts have broken and shattered him and our family in so many ways.”
What about the ways this despicable attack altered the life of the unconscious victim?
The verdicts were the result of the criminal actions of his son. They were not arbitrarily thrust upon him for no reason. Turner is not a victim.
The law, at its best, protects those who are unable to protect themselves.
Justice should not be dispensed based on bank balance or social standing.
Persky has clearly lost sight of this, based on the sentence he imposed.
The fact that Turner has shown no remorse for his actions, and his father doesn’t even acknowledge it was a crime, are indicative of a larger problem.
Far too often, we have heard about cases in which young males assault females out of some warped sense of entitlement.
I specifically use the word “males” here, because I don’t find it appropriate to call them “men.”
A man stands up for what is right, and defends those who can’t defend themselves.
Turner, and others like him, are not men. They are unscrupulous predators who prey upon vulnerable women.
The lenient verdict sparked a campaign to give Persky the boot, and that is promising news. Judges like him are part of the problem, not the solution.
Until we change the climate in which young males feel a sense of entitlement, crimes like this will continue.
Unless there is a change to ensure that there are significant consequences for anyone who commits such a crime, regardless of what school they went to or to which country club they belong, these crimes will continue.
And, until we demonstrate clearly and consistently that we will not place the blame for rape on the victims, women in our society will continue to be victimized.
Women all women deserve the full protection of the law, and predators like Turner deserve to be exposed for what they are.