Reactions To Brock Turner Being Released Stand Up For Victims Of Sexual Assault
Convicted sexual assailant Brock Turner left jail Friday after serving only three months of a six-month sentence. The decision to let the former Stanford swimmer go home drew significant criticism from individuals following the case. Reactions to Brock Turner being released argue that his brief time in jail disrespects sexual assault and rape victims. Turner's attorney, Mike Armstrong, declined Romper's request for comment.
In January 2015, police arrested Turner after two other students caught him sexually assaulting an unconscious woman "behind a dumpster," NBC News reported. Turner plead not guilty, but was charged with three felonies and ultimately convicted on all counts, according to CNN: "assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated or unconscious person, penetration of an intoxicated person and penetration of an unconscious person." The prosecution requested that Turner's sentence for sexual assault include six years in prison, NPR reported. Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky opted instead to sentence Turner to six months in jail.
In Turner's letter to Persky published by The Guardian, Turner wrote that he doesn't want to drink alcohol again and that he regrets his actions:
Persky based Turner's sentence on three factors, according to CNN: that Turner was a first-time offender, that he seemed genuinely remorseful, and that he had been intoxicated at the time. Turner won't return to Stanford, NBC News reported. He'll be on probation for three years and will be a registered sex offender always. But given that Turner could have been sentenced to up to 14 years in prison, there is significant backlash online for both his short sentence and his early release:
Brock Turner was released from jail after only serving 3 months after sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. let that sink in.— katie (@katiebabyxcx) September 2, 2016
Brock Turner being released after spending three months in jail is an absolute disgrace to our criminal justice system.— Riley (@RiWilliams13) September 2, 2016
Brock Turner is privileged all around let alone "white privileged."— Hold A Note (@LittleMixBahama) September 2, 2016
People convicted with minor drug charges have gotten decades. INSANE
Brock Turner served the equivalent of my summer vacation in a jail, NOT prison, for ruining a girl's life.— meghan malone (@meeghanmalone) September 2, 2016
Today is not a good day. Brock Turner needs to really serve time for what he's done. Where is the justice?— spooky jim (@paulaalorenaa) September 2, 2016
Brock Turner, rapist, is scheduled to be released shortly.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) September 2, 2016
I have friends caught with weed who served YEARS. This man served weeks.
Commenters suggested that the tendency for articles to refer to Turner as a "Stanford swimmer" instead of a sexual assailant emphasizes how Turner is already being allowed to move on:
I want to live in a world where we define Brock Turner as a rapist and not a Stanford swimmer— Desi (@DesiJed) September 2, 2016
INTERVIEWER: I need to Google your name and read the first four words that pop up.— Eitan (@AnotherEitan) September 2, 2016
"STANFORD SWIMMER BROCK TURNER"
You got the job!
There is also widespread concern that Turner's release may discourage victims of sexual assault from coming forward, and some are doing what they can to remind readers that the focus of attention should be on the victim.
If you ever say "Why don't rape victims just tell the police?" Please refer to the Brock Turner case and realize that it's not that simple.— tess (@that1mum) September 2, 2016
If you're wondering why more rape victims don't immediately call the police, watch Brock Turner walk out of jail today, after only 3 months.— Chrissa Hardy (@chrissahardy) September 2, 2016
That video of Brock Turner leaving jail is sickening. This is one of the reasons most women don't come forward, the system always fails them— Brandon Evers (@BrandonEvrs) September 2, 2016
Brock Turner was caught in the act still only sentenced to 6 month & served 3. And you wonder why women don't report. What's the point?— Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) September 2, 2016
No way to explain the Brock Turner situation except "our legal system is massively stacked in favor of rapists."— Jim Avery (@TheSoundDefense) September 2, 2016
Brock Turner has been released from prison. So lock up your daughters, because apparently we can't lock up our rapists.— Darby Wood (@darbywood) September 2, 2016
I wonder when Brock Turner's victim will be released from the mental prison he put her in?— Tim Malloy (@T_Malloy320) September 2, 2016
And now Brock Turner's victim has to see his face plastered everywhere as he reaches celebrity status in his infamy. Gross.— Doyin (@doyinoyen) September 2, 2016
Ultimately, many people want to be sure the world doesn't forget the woman Turner assaulted:
Hear the victim of rapist Brock Turner, in her own words. https://t.co/iNZAbrGe0U— Michael Kapp (@michaelkapp) September 2, 2016
The conversation playing out online raises awareness of the case and sustains discourse surrounding the appropriate legal response to sexual assault. Those who feel Turner's sentence was not fair to the victim are working to ensure the nation remembers this story.