By Maggie Turkovich, Contributing Reporter
One of the most controversial rape cases to arise in recent years came to the forefront of American news media in 2016 . In this case, a Stanford University student named Brock Turner had been charged with the attempted rape and sexual assault of an unconscious woman. Turner was given a laughable sentence of six months in prison, compared to the 14 years he could have received.
One of the many reasons Judge Aaron Persky gave for his decision was the fact that “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on [Turner].”
Essentially, he felt a longer prison sentence would ruin Turner’s life and because he was young, had no prior incidents, and had good character witnesses, parole would be sufficient in rehabilitating this “remorseful” young man. Persky did not seem to see how Turner’s life, and his victim’s life, had already been ruined to varying degrees; the victim’s pain and suffering were worth more than six months of jail time.
The anger has grown after Turner’s early release on Friday, September 2, after only three months. Upon his release, protesters began carrying out “street justice.” These vigilantes stood outside of his home, armed with weapons or signs with slogans such as “Castrate rapists” and “If I rape Brock will I only do three months?”
Others have literally taken to the streets to voice their outrage by writing similar slogans around Turner’s neighborhood with sidewalk chalk. On the night of his release, some of these protesters mobbed him at the jail’s entrance, beating him up. Many people believe these actions are justifiable, seeing as the ruling is almost unanimously agreed upon by the general public as unjust. There is absolutely no denying that what he did was despicable, and it is necessary for people to speak out about the injustice that occurred, but there are legal and less hypocritical ways of doing it.
By physically harming him, these protesters are no better than Turner himself. He took away someone’s safety, which is what has happened to him. These actions could also result in criminal charges if Turner decides to take action.
What the nation needs to do is continue this dialog on the stigma of rape victims and how unfairly these cases are carried out; oftentimes the rapist is not viewed as a criminal and receives a slap on the wrist. Society should not stoop to his level, but rather rise above it to do more in the ways of fighting for a more just legal system.