Turner case highlights racial issues


Twenty-year-old Brock Turner, a former swimmer at Stanford University was arrested Jan. 18, 2015, after two graduate students discovered him on top of an unconscious woman outside Kappa Alpha fraternity at approximately 1 a.m.

Following the incident, Turner withdrew from Stanford and was found guilty of three felony charges: assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated or unconscious person, sexual penetration of an intoxicated person and sexual penetration of an unconscious person.

The maximum sentence for his crimes are 14 years in the state of California.

However, Turner got off with a mere six-month sentence, only serving three, under a California law that gives credit for time served.

Well, Judge Aaron Persky, you’ve officially set yet another standard for white-privilege and legal precedent.

Given Turner’s circumstance, he is no “true” criminal, right?

The seriousness and severity of rape should never be taken lightly or handled with leniency. Not only does it mock the pain and suffering experienced by the victim, light sentences and leniency for privileged individuals sets a precedent for the continuation of injustices.

Would the news media response have made more of a difference if Turner was black, or if it was a black judge deciding the same ruling?

Turner is no victim of college-drinking culture, America’s political and social constructs or social pressures.Turner is a felon, who has been let off by the hands of biased judging and white-washed, misogynistic loopholes in our justice system.

It is disturbing that some media outlets have cast Turner to be the victim of a broken system.

For example, a Sept. 4 CNN article written by Emanuella Grinberg and Janette Gagon is slightly misfocused in my opinion, and does too much work making the case that Turner is an athlete, and that it is not unusual for someone with a strong athletic and academic background to be sentenced leniently, if sentenced at all.

Although that assertion is probably true, the media as a whole tends to flee from topics of race.

Yet, this is white-privilege at its finest, and should be called as such.

Too much justification, too many excuses, and not enough sympathy and advocacy for victims of sexual assault and rape feed into the system and culture surrounding this very issue itself.

Large media corporations and conglomerates, like CNN, should not just report the news and statistics; they should speak out against unjust social constructs and unfairly punished injustices.

These media corporations help influence the beliefs and understanding of our community, and if more was done, the case could have possibly been overturned.

However, the case did get a generous response from many notable figures and outlets showing their advocacy for victims of sexual assault, and speaking out against the current culture.

The cast of HBO’s Girls created a brilliant message, entitled Why We’re So Quick To Disbelieve, in an effort to combat efforts to attack victim testimony in these cases.

USA swimming banned Turner for life and released the statement, “USA Swimming condemns the crime and actions committed by Brock Turner, and all acts of sexual misconduct,” USA Swimming spokesman Scott Leightman told ABC News. “Brock Turner is not a member of USA Swimming and, should he apply, he would not be eligible for membership.

Last but not least, as a result of the media outcry, California has moved to set a minimum amount of time to be served in sexual assault cases.

I truly hope that this case serves to set the stage for a movement towards more victim advocacy and support versus simple storytelling.

Media outlets should stand by victims of injustice with confidence and solidarity, without fear of being “biased,” actively seeking justice on the behalf of deserving survivors.