Brock Turner: Time To Take Rape Seriously


Photo Illustration by Thara Salim

When someone says the word rape, it brings an uneasy feeling to all that hear it. It’s a topic that has become more controversial over time. So much so that nowadays it is a struggle to even discuss this topic. Despite this struggle, rape should be seen as a huge ethical issue, and because of this, should be seen as a crime.

Brock Turner was attending Stanford University as a student athlete before he became infamous for sexually assaulting an unconscious 22-year-old woman. He was allowed an early release from prison on Friday, September 2. He was originally given a six month sentence, but has only served half of that due to “good behavior” in prison. Despite this “good behavior” Turner should be serving his full sentence.

The case gained much attention here in the Bay Area due to the debate on the lack of severity on Turner’s sentence. There had been talk of a possible 14 year sentence, as well as a six year sentence. Brock’s father Dan Turner weighed in on the issue, and had his own opinion on what his son’s sentence should be. In his opinion, even the six year sentence was a bit too much.

“That is a steep price to pay,” Brock’s father Dan Turner said. “For 20 minutes of action”.

Turner’s dad might have been born in an age when this type of sexual assault had not been seen for the horror that it really is. Ultimately, Dan Turner can’t comprehend that this so-called “20 minutes of action” is a crime. His son should understand if you commit a crime like this and get caught, you will be expected to serve the appropriate amount of time in prison.

The real issue here is that Turner should have gotten a longer sentence but because that can’t happen he should fulfill the rest of his sentence. His so-called “good behavior” shouldn’t be a factor of his early release, because Turner needs to understand the severity of his crime.

In order to fully comprehend his actions, Turner needs to turn towards other rape victims to see how much it has affected them. Victims have had to go through mental and physical help to be able to move on. If he could just have a simple conversation with a former victim, he would begin to understand the torment one goes through in order to move on from this type of event.

If Turner comes out of prison as a changed man, then he will be forgiven eventually. But he cannot come out a changed man unless he fulfills his entire punishment.

Some might argue that Turner’s race played a factor in his light punishment. With all the issues regarding racism, if this crime was committed by a person of color would they have gotten a worse punishment? We can’t know, but if you want to get an idea of what it could be, just look towards recent news. Current events involving black oppression by policemen lead me to believe that if it had been a black male committing this crime, he would have easily been given the 14 year sentence. Brock Turner being a white male brings his race into consideration because he was released so easily, whereas the system is much more aggressive towards blacks based on prejudiced views against them.

“Brock Turner is a free man,” California Representative Loretta Sanchez said. “But for a woman who has been sexually assaulted, she’s a prisoner of fear until we have laws and a system that stops victimizing her and allows us to prosecute and put away for more than 90 days those who would hurt these women.”

Sanchez says it best here. There needs to be change in the way these people get punished. Rapists can’t let go because of “good behavior.” Brock shouldn’t have gotten an early release, he should have gotten a longer sentence. Giving him an early release shows people that rape isn’t that big of a deal. Ultimately, this perception of rape being just “20 minutes of action” will continue to be a common view.