If Stanford swimmer rapist Brock Turner was black, would his jail sentence be longer?

10:51 AM

The way that the State of California just handled the case of the Stanford swimmer rapist demonstrated everything that is wrong with both race and sexual assault in America


brock's real mugshot
Brock Turner's mugshot

Would Brock's jail sentence be longer if he was black? Or Latino? Or anything but a blonde haired, blue eyed privileged white male athlete? 

Yes, he undoubtedly would have received the maximum sentence if he was a minority. But instead, he is getting six months in order to minimize the affect that this would have on his life. Which is an insane argument for obvious reasons, like the fact that he is a convicted rapist. 

I am furious about the sentence and the length of the trial but I am glad he has been convicted. I am also glad that Stanford even expelled him because in most sexual assault cases on college campuses, nothing happens at all. No one is expelled. No one is prosecuted. The offenders go on with their lives, probably raping more women. If the victim is lucky and the evidence is overwhelming, the school might grant a no contact order so the victim can walk to class without running into their rapist. 

Kenyon college just decided to do nothing after a college freshman was raped her dorm room bed. She was in and out of consciousness the entire time. The boy who assaulted her said she was "too cute to be a lesbian.

The college did nothing and got away with doing nothing because sexual assault happens on campus all of the time. And college's do nothing about it all of the time. Almost Friday and Saturday night, in dorm rooms, bathroom stalls, frat houses, and apartments, women are being raped in America. One in four college women will survive rape or attempted rape in the United States. This rate has remained the same since the 1980's. 

The more I learn about sexual assault statistics, the more horrifying the story becomes. 60% of rapes are committed by an acquaintance of the perpetrator. Rapists are 98% men. Only 11% of victims report the attack. Less than 10% of cases lead to criminal charges. 

Basically, if a man rapes a woman, nothing will happen to him. No wonder if a rapist rapes once, he will probably rape again. This is infuriating. 


say no to rape

The case of the Stanford rapist just brought the problems that thousands of women face regularly to a national stage. He undeniably raped a woman in the most violent way and two men literally saw him in the act. You can't get more red handed than that. But then he got off with a minimum sentence of 6 months after a drawn out trial filled with victim blaming. As "Emily Dow" the victim passionately describes in her open letter to Brock

I am glad that he got something. But 6 months? That is nothing. The American justice system puts people away for years drug possession. 

But Brock only got 6 months for aggravated sexual assault. Because he is a privileged white male. 

This ruling is infuriating, sad, insane, and ridiculous but it should not come as a surprise. Because in America, if you are black and you possess drugs, you should expect 37 months. And if you are Latino and you traffic drugs, you should expect 60 months. And if you are white and commit sexual assault, you should expect to go free. 

Black men in America are automatically assumed guilty. News outlets will show their mugshot instead of their college swim picture. They will show black men in orange overalls rather than a suit. Instead of being called an elite athlete or Stanford swimmer, they will refer to them as a rapist, even before their conviction. They won't share their swimming times like they did for Brock. And they won't mention how good of a citizen they were before they raped. They will talk about the crime at that is it. 

Race is a huge issue in the United States. This weekend in Chicago, 64 people were shot and 6 died. 52 of the shooting victims were black, 11 hispanic, 1 white, and it barely made it onto national news. Instead, I heard about 1 dead gorilla over and over again. 

Because our justice system and national news outlets are run by a white male majority.  

But this has to change. The first step is too accept that we live in a rape culture and that racism is prominent. 

Then, there needs to be fair and just punishment for those who commit crimes. There is a petition for a recall election for the judge who sentenced Brock on change.org and you can fill out the form to formally lodge a complaint against a California judge. 

Other ways to change these policies and end the mass rape of women and wrongful mass incarceration of black men is too go out and vote in local, state, and national elections. Our law makers need to hold these state and national institutions accountable. 

Furthermore, you can contact you alma mater and hold them accountable for their irresponsible handling of Title IX. Colleges need to be held responsible for their inability to protect students from assault as it is they duty to provide full and equal educational opportunities to all students enrolled, regardless of race or gender. They won't listen to their students but maybe they will listen to alumni who threaten to withhold donation dollars. Participation of alumni panels and boards can also give you a voice. 

And if you are still enrolled in college, hold administrators accountable. Complain to them, stage sit ins, join campus organizations, threaten to never donate money to the school, and support survivors. 

Men need to stop raping women. Racism in the judicial process needs to end. But that will never happen unless we actually do something. 


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Stanford swimmer rapist sentence
If Stanford swimmer rapist Brock Turner was black, would his jail sentence be longer?

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About the author: Claire HarnEnz is an English and Studio Art major at Kenyon College and an intern for VProud.tv

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