I was Raped. And I Believe The Brock Turner Sentence Is a Success Story [opinion]


On the morning of June 12, 2016, a small plane circled over Stanford University’s commencement ceremony trailing a banner reading, “Protect Survivors. Not Rapists. #PerskyMustGo.”

The plane’s voyage was commissioned by feminist group UltraViolet to protest former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner’s six-month sentence handed down by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky in 2016 for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman on campus the previous year. The sentence ignited an outcry and an effort to recall Judge Persky. Over 1 million people have signed a petition to remove Judge Persky, and even members of Congress have joined the chorus. Now, Santa Clara County Assistant District Attorney Cindy Hendrickson is running to replace Judge Persky should his recall go before voters.

There have been a few voices criticizing the recall movement. Some have warned that the effort could threaten judicial independence by pushing judges to buckle under pressure from public opinion in individual cases. Others have warned that the recall could scare judges into giving harsher sentences to all defendants, which would likely disproportionately affect underprivileged and minority defendants. And others have pointed out that the recall effort creates a tension between feminist anti-rape advocacy and other progressive, anti-carceral social justice movements.

But with few exceptions, those critical of the scrutiny of Judge Persky have not defended Turner’s sentence. I will do so here. I am a rape victim engaged in a lawsuit against the Memphis Police Department for systematically failing to investigate rape cases and I believe that Judge Persky’s sentence was just.

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I really admire objective writing. It has become so rare. So many writers are only looking for what will go viral. That is sad.

Spin stories only create and support crazy and un-constitutional actions.

Judge Aaron Persky needs to hold his ground – His decision was based on information at hand and recommendations of the legal system. I find it so odd that the protesters have no interest in “all” the information. Without being properly informed a rational course of action cannot be made, at all.

I wholeheartedly agree with the writer’s stance on that judge. I’ve made no secret of my opinion that most judges just rubber stamp the DAs recommendation (always the maximum) and was pleasantly surprised to find there is one judge in the US that actually uses his own discretion, as is so often authorized but rarely used.

I just as wholeheartedly disagree with much of the rest of the article though, particularly the remark about how sexual assault convictions are supposedly rare. The fact that there are around 875,000 on the registry belies that claim.

The lament that some accusers were prosecuted for making false claims I find a bit outlandish; that almost never happens. Lena Dunham was never prosecuted. Ditto, the women who accused the Duke La cross team and the head of the IMF. Brian Banks’ accuser had to return the award she won from the college she sued after he went to prison, but was never criminally charged. There may be a few false accusers that have been prosecuted, but prosecutors normally won’t, as a matter of politics.

If someone makes a sexual assault claim that cannot be proven, of course I would leave them alone. But if they knowingly make a false claim and it is proven false, I think they should be prosecuted, considering the resources spent on pursuing the false claim and the effects on the person accused.

Overall, it was a good article. It’s nice to see a voice of reason in a media that otherwise only strives stoke outrage.

It doesn’t make any since that someone being sentenced for a crime is consider a success story.