I woke up today and went to the gym as usual. I turned on the local news and watched while I exercised on the elliptical, and what I saw made me want to get off and keep running until I hit Stanford. As of today, rapist Brock Turner has been released from his six-month sentence, serving a mere three months in total for sexually assaulting an unconscious young woman at a party over the summer.
Turner plans to return to Ohio (where his family lives) upon release--which, you know, is exactly what someone who is innocent does, right? Flees the crime scene at the first possible opportunity, right?
According to reports by CNN, the court ruled on early release based on the fact that Turner had no criminal history, had "impaired judgement" due to alcohol consumption, and displayed "sincere remorse." Oh, so he's super sorry. He may have gotten a tiny bit rape-y, but it's okay because he was drunk and he's sorry.
Despite what happened to this young woman, despite the fact that her life will never be the same, that she had to learn about the damage this monster did to her body at the same time the rest of the world did, that she will forever be known as "drunk rape victim," Turner walks free. The court is concerned with the impact a long-term prison sentence will have on a young man of Turner's age--because six months was incredibly long to begin with, right? Sure, he has to serve three years of probation as a sex offender and is banned from USA Swimming for life, but does that do a single thing to change what happened to this young woman?
I chose this photo of Brock to display rather than his mug shot for a reason. In this photo, Turner looks sweet, wholesome, driven. He looks like a Johnny-Be-Good, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed college student, and that is exactly what is wrong. As a society, we think that someone who looks like this could never do anything to harm another person. If I showed you this photo without any context, you would never in a million years pin this kid to rape. And yet.
Looks can be deceiving. People can be terrible at the core; they can be harmful, aggressive, mentally unstable monsters. The saddest thing is, Brock Turner isn't the first to walk free. According to cracked.com, 1 in 3 servicewomen are raped in the military, yet only 1 in 20 sexual assailants are actually punished for their crimes. Because of their status, people look the other way. People always look the other way for someone who is supposed to be held in an upstanding position, but when is this going to change? When are the "drunk unconscious rape victims" going to get justice?
(Yana Mazurkevich Rape Victim Photo Series)