By, Ho Yuen Tsang, English Martyrs Catholic School, Alumnus of The Young Investment Banker Programme 2016
The social media outrage over the rape case verdict of Brock Turner led me to research why it caused such a stir. From reading multiple articles I found out that Turner was indicted on January 28, 2015, on five charges: two for rape, two for felony sexual assault, and one for attempted rape. He was arrested on February 2, 2015, pleading not guilty to all five charges. On October 7, 2015, after reviewing the results of DNA tests, the two rape charges were dropped by prosecutors. The trial began on March 14, 2016, and concluded on March 30, 2016, with Turner's conviction on the three remaining charges of felony sexual assault.
The convictions carried a potential sentence of 14 years in prison. Prosecutors recommended six years in prison while probation officials recommended a "moderate" county jail sentence. However, he was only sentenced to a lenient 6-months even though there was overwhelming evidence to suggest he raped the intoxicated/unconscious person. Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Turner to sixth months in prison based on his background, age and lack of criminal history; also some say Turner’s father letter had played a role by stating it was a "steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life”.
Persky said "A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him…I think he will not be a danger to others." It seems as though the judge does not acknowledge the issue of 'rape culture’ but blames it on college ‘drinking culture’. Furthermore, justice has not been served for the victim as she will have to live on with this traumatic experience whilst knowing that the person who raped her will be free in 6 months. It is argued that the judge failed to send the message that sexual assault is against the law regardless of social class, race, gender or other factors. When compared to an almost identical rape case, a black former Vanderbilt University football player - Cory Batey - was sentenced to 15 years in prison, therefore, the argument of white privilege is put forward. From the Brock Turner case, there needs to be justice served for rape victims - sexual assault is should be punishable with the same severity regardless of social class, race, gender, age or other factors.
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