With Brock Turner’s release, the news stations and social media outlets are plastered with everyone’s opinions on his punishment (or lack thereof). In case you’re not familiar with the case, Brock is a 21-year old former Stanford University swimmer that raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster between two fraternity houses. Two passers-by stopped when they saw what was happening. Turner ran and they chased after him, pinning him to the ground until police showed up.
According to Wikipedia, Turner was arrested on January 18, 2015 on Stanford's campus and police booked him into the Santa Clara County Jail. He was released the same day after posting $150,000 bail. 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 arraigned on February 2, 2015, pleading not guilty on all five charges. On October 7, 2015, 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.
On June 2, 2016, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Turner to six months confinement in the Santa Clara County jail to be followed by three years of probation. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender and participate in a sex offender rehabilitation program. Despite his six-month sentence, Turner was released on September 2, 2016, having served only three months (half of his sentence). This has enraged many, as his sentence was already considered lenient.
Now that you have the back-story, I would like to highlight a recent article that caught my eye entitled, “Mad About Brock Turner? Maybe You Shouldn’t Be. This should surprise no one.” I appreciated this writer’s approach. What I want to highlight are the statistics that she quoted from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) website. These were extremely shocking!
Out of every 1,000 rapes:
- 344 are reported to the police
- 63 reports lead to an arrest
- 13 cases are seen by prosecutors
- 7 cases will lead to a felony conviction
- 6 rapists will be incarcerated
For every 1000 rapes, 994 perpetrators will walk free. 99.4% of all rapists will not face a consequence for their actions. Perpetrators of sexual violence are less likely to go to jail or prison than other criminals.
This is truly a scary thought. Let’s jump back to Brock for a second. He is one of the 0.6% that has been incarcerated. As short of a stint as it may have been for Brock, he is not a free man. His life will be consumed with restrictions and rejections, which will be his prison for the rest of his life. He will forever be known as a sexual offender, which will bring difficulties in various areas of his life such as buying a home, dating, obtaining a job, etc. We can already see some struggles that he has faced since the incident in 2015. Turner withdrew from Stanford and on January 20 (two days after his arrest) Stanford announced Turner had been banned from campus. Stanford further announced within two weeks of the incident that it had banned Turner from ever setting foot on campus again—the harshest disciplinary sanction it can impose on a student.
Turner had aspirations to swim for the U.S. National Team in the 2016 Olympics, but on June 6, USA Swimming stated that he would not be eligible for membership if he sought to reapply. On June 10 they reiterated that Turner would never be welcome in its ranks, under its zero-tolerance policy for sexual misconduct. That announcement effectively banned Turner from ever participating in a competitive swimming event for the United States. (Sanctioned meets in the United States—including Olympic trials—are open only to members of USA Swimming.)
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to defend him, but I want you to see where I’m coming from. This man has not gone without punishment (even if you believe his jail time wasn’t long enough). He will continue to face difficulties and troubles. What upsets me MORE is that (according to the statistics) 99.4% of all rapists WILL NOT face incarceration. The majority of these perpetrators will go without the lifelong scrutiny that comes with being a registered sex offender.