Outrage in Stanford Rape Case Over Light Sentence for Attacker and Statement by His Father
A sexual assault case at Stanford University has ignited public outrage and a recall effort against a California judge after the defendant was sentenced to six months in a jail and his father complained that his son’s life had been ruined for “20 minutes of action” fueled by alcohol and promiscuity.
In court, the victim had criticized her attacker’s sentence and the inequities of the legal process. She argued that the trial, the sentencing and the legal system’s approach to sexual assault — from the defense lawyer’s questions about what she wore the night she was attacked to her attacker’s sentence — were irrevocably marred by male and class privilege.
The case has made headlines since the trial concluded earlier this year but seized the public’s attention over the weekend after a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge, Aaron Persky, on Thursday handed the defendant, Brock Allen Turner, 20, what many critics denounced as a lenient sentence, including three years’ probation, for three felony counts of sexual assault.
从今年早些时候审判结束时起，该案就成为新闻头条。但上周四圣克拉拉县高级法院法官阿伦·珀斯基(Aaron Persky)给予20岁的被告布罗克·艾伦·特纳(Brock Allen Turner)的量刑被指过轻，让该案在周末期间再次成为关注焦点。特纳犯有三项强奸重罪，对他的判决包括三年缓刑。
The next day, BuzzFeed published the full courtroom statement by the woman who was attacked. The statement, a 7,244-word cri de coeur against the role of privilege in the trial and the way the legal system deals with sexual assault, has gone viral. By Monday, it had been viewed more than five million times on the BuzzFeed site.
One of those readings happened on CNN on Monday, when the anchor Ashleigh Banfield spent part of an hour looking into the camera and reading the entire statement live on the air.
The unidentified 23-year-old victim was not a Stanford student but was visiting the campus, where she attended a fraternity party. In the statement, she described her experience before and after the attack by Mr. Turner, a champion swimmer.
The trial privileged Mr. Turner’s well-being over her own, she said, and in the end declined to punish him severely because the authorities considered the disruption to his studies and athletic career at a prestigious university when determining his sentence. She wrote:
The probation officer weighed the fact that he has surrendered a hard-earned swimming scholarship. How fast Brock swims does not lessen the severity of what happened to me, and should not lessen the severity of his punishment. If a first-time offender from an underprivileged background was accused of three felonies and displayed no accountability for his actions other than drinking, what would his sentence be? The fact that Brock was an athlete at a private university should not be seen as an entitlement to leniency, but as an opportunity to send a message that sexual assault is against the law regardless of social class.
If Mr. Turner and his defenders wanted to rebut that argument, a statement read to the court by his father, Dan Turner, and posted to Twitter on Sunday by Michele Dauber, a law professor and sociologist at Stanford, certainly did not help.
如果特纳和他的维护者想反驳上述论点，那么他的父亲丹·特纳(Dan Turner)在法庭上的陈述无疑没有起到帮助作用。周日，斯坦福大学的法律教授和社会学家米歇尔·道贝尔(Michele Dauber)把特纳父亲的陈述发布到了Twitter上。
Mr. Turner’s father said that his son should not do jail time for the sexual assault, which he referred to as “the events” and “20 minutes of action” that were not violent. He said that his son suffered from depression and anxiety in the wake of the trial and argued that having to register as a sex offender — and the loss of his appetite for food he once enjoyed — was punishment enough.
Brock Turner also lost a swimming scholarship to Stanford and has given up on his goal of competing at the Olympics.
“I was always excited to buy him a big rib-eye steak to grill or to get his favorite snack for him,” Dan Turner wrote. “Now he barely consumes any food and eats only to exist. These verdicts have broken and shattered him and our family in so many ways.”
In a statement, the Santa Clara, Calif., district attorney, Jeff Rosen, said the sentence “did not fit the crime,” and he called the former Stanford student a “predatory offender” who refused to take responsibility or show remorse.
“Campus rape is no different than off-campus rape,” Mr. Rosen said. “Rape is rape.”
In an editorial, The San Jose Mercury News called the sentence “a slap on the wrist” and “a setback for the movement to take campus rape seriously.”
《圣何塞信使新闻》(The San Jose Mercury News)在一篇社论中称，这次审判“太过轻微”，“认真对待校园强奸运动因此受挫”。
Professor Dauber said Monday that she was part of a committee that was organizing a recall challenge to Judge Persky, whose position is an elected one. The professor said the judge had misapplied the law by granting Mr. Turner probation and by taking his age, academic achievement and alcohol consumption into consideration.
“If you’re going to declare that a high-achieving perpetrator is an unusual case, then you’re saying to women on college campuses that they don’t deserve the full protection of the law in the state of California,” the professor said.
Judge Persky did not respond to a request for comment sent to Santa Clara County Superior Court on Monday.
Stanford University said on Monday that it “takes the issue of sexual assault extremely seriously” and was proud of two students who intervened to stop Mr. Turner’s attack.
“There is still much work to be done, not just here, but everywhere, to create a culture that does not tolerate sexual violence in any form and a judicial system that deals appropriately with sexual assault cases,” the university said in a statement.
In his statement, Dan Turner said his son planned to use his time on probation to educate college students “about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity” so that he could “give back to society in a net positive way.”
The victim rebuked that proposal:
It is deeply offensive that he would try and dilute rape with a suggestion of “promiscuity.” By definition rape is not the absence of promiscuity, rape is the absence of consent, and it perturbs me deeply that he can’t even see that distinction.