I am a 56 year old male. I can not know what it is like to be a woman, much less a woman who has been attacked. I read the statement by the woman who had been sexually assaulted by Brock Turner last year in Palo Alto, California and now I believe I have a slightly better idea than I did before. I suggest that everyone read it here.
This crime affected her greatly, and still does over a year later. My opinion is that what Turner did to her is disgusting and evil. I hope that the publicity around this case will make the next person who encounters an unconscious woman understand that raping her is just outside the realm of what civilized people even consider doing. I would go as far as to suggest making her statement required reading for all students. In her words (and I am taking a few sentences out of context from a twelve page document):
The consequences of sexual assault needs to be severe enough that people feel enough fear to exercise good judgment even if they are drunk, severe enough to be preventative.
While I have no special expertise about sexual assaults, I do know a lot about how the wealthy elite have used their money to gain more political power. I would like to focus on the intersection of wealth and power that The Patriotic Millionaires have been talking about for some time. The victim continued to say:
The fact that Brock was a star athlete at a prestigious university should not be seen as an entitlement to leniency, but as an opportunity to send a strong cultural message that sexual assault is against the law regardless of social class. The probation officer weighed the fact that he has surrendered a hard earned swimming scholarship. If I had been sexually assaulted by an un-athletic guy from a community college, what would his sentence be? If a first time offender from an underprivileged background was accused of three felonies and displayed no accountability for his actions other than drinking, what would his sentence be?
There are thousands of Americans who have received sentences to be incarcerated for far longer than Mr. Turner, for crimes which anyone would consider far less serious, simply because they do not have:
- The financial resources to hire highly competent trial counsel;
- Support from family (his father works for the defense department at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, his mother is a surgical nurse);
- Support from friends – they used social media, including a picture of Senator Lindsey Graham posing with them to raise more money;
- A full scholarship at Stanford.
I would like to live in an America where Mr. Turner and a minority 19 year old who lives on the wrong side of the tracks in Cincinnati- an hour’s drive down I-75 from the Turner’s home- each get the same consideration from the judge and from the probation department.
I would like to live in an America where justice or the avoidance of justice, is not bought and sold, but served in a fair system.