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Written by: Marisa Gamble, Medical Psychology Center Intern, Franklin Pierce University '17
People across the country were outraged to find out that Brock Turner only received a 6 month jail sentence for the rape of a girl at Stanford University. This verdict was especially shocking considering that the prosecutors only asked for a 6 year sentence in the first place when Turner could have received a maximum of 14 years.
On the night of January 17th, 2015 the victim was found unconscious behind a dumpster after a party at her school. The bra and underwear had been removed and her dress was pushed up above her waist. Her legs were spread apart and it appeared that she had been penetrated by a foreign object. The judge gave a 6 month sentence because he thought that Turner would not be a danger to others due to his lack of criminal history and he believed that jail would have too severe of an impact on Turner. However, many people will still argue that Turner was given a lighter sentence due to the fact that he was an athlete at school. This being said, Stanford has expelled Turner and banned him from ever stepping on campus again, as a student or otherwise. Some people will argue that this sentence was fair not in the terms of length but in the terms of the way it was delivered. The sentence itself was a legal sentence. The judge took into account the defendant's age and prior criminal history before creating the sentence. It is not surprising to find out that people are outraged at the judge's decision and that a recall effort has been made. People say that giving a rapist a reduced sentence is an insult to women and the judge deserves to be taken off the bench because they believe that his sentencing in this tells women that they are on their own when it comes to rape. At the trial, the victim read aloud a twelve page letter that she wrote to Turner. She stated that all she remembers from that night was going to a party with her sister, drinking too much, and waking up in the hospital with no idea what happened to her. She says that she found out the events of that night at the same time as the general public, on the news. She says that people told her that since she can’t remember what happened that night that she can’t prove it was unwanted. The father of Brock Turner also wrote a letter addressing the sentencing. In it he states that his son will never be himself again, that this mistake will affect him forever and that a long sentence would be a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of his son’s 20 years of life.
The real question here is: If a man like Brock Turner can get off of a rape charge with only a 6 month sentence, who is to say that other criminals wont get off with worse?