“You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today.” A rape victim spoke these powerful words to her attacker at his criminal trial for three counts of sexual assault.
In January 2015, a young woman woke up on a gurney in a hospital with no idea how she got there. Picking pine needles from her hair, the woman discovered abrasions and bruises. Finally the gravity hit when she had to sign papers labeled “rape victim” and undergo the invasive and humiliating “rape kit” process at the hospital. She had been found behind a dumpster at Stanford University, unconscious and naked from the waist down.
Outrage has swept the nation after a California judge, Aaron Persky, issued a very lenient sentence to the perpetrator in this case, 20-year-old Brock Turner of Dayton, Ohio. The jury unanimously found Turner guilty of intent to rape an intoxicated/unconscious person, penetration of an intoxicated person, and penetration of an unconscious person. Although the maximum sentence would have been 14 years in state prison, Judge Persky issued a Turner light sentence of six months in county jail, three years probation, and becoming a registered sex offender. Explaining his decision, the Judge stated “a prison sentence will have a severe impact on him.” Many claim that the Judge Persky favored Turner because he was a champion swimmer at Stanford University.
This case has shined a spotlight on campus sexual assault issues that have been the subject of public debate in recent years. With the dangerous combination of alcohol, freedom, and peer pressure, more and more sexual assaults are occurring on campuses nationwide. An intoxicated victim is less likely to resist, leading to high instances of sexual assault or date rape on college campuses. It is important to know that when someone is intoxicated, they are legally unable to give sexual consent. If you suspect someone is being drugged or taken advantage of while intoxicated, contact the police immediately.
The Stanford rape survivor has garnered immense public support after reading a 12-page letter to the defendant about how the sexual assault took her life away. At the trial, the victim delivered an empowering message to rape and sexual assault victims: “[Y]ou are important, unquestionably, you are are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you.”
If you or someone you know are the victim of sexual assault, you are not alone. Contact an experienced and compassionate attorney who can help you get legal redress and heal from the traumatic ordeal. The Fitch Law Firm helps victims of sexual abuse recover with dignity and get back on their feet. We are available for you 24 hours a day. Call for a free consultation at 855-529-6226.