Last night, 21-year-old convicted sex offender Brock Turner was released from jail. The former Stanford swimmer faced up to 14 years in prison for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. Instead, the the disgust of everyone with a conscience, the judge sentenced Turner to six months of jail time. Today, Turner was released from a Santa Clara County jail after serving just three months.
Yes, three months.
This wasn’t even a case of sexual assault that could be unfairly reduced to a case of “he said she said.” The victim was unconscious and was therefore unable, by law, to consent. Additionally, Turner was caught in the act by two witnesses. Witnesses. But that wasn’t enough for a lengthy sentence, apparently. It appears that luck was on Turner’s side the minute the case was presided over by Judge Aaron Persky, who justified the light sentence because a prison sentence would have a “severe impact” on Turner; he also believed that Turner wouldn’t be a danger to others anymore.
Um, excuse me? What about the severe impact that the rape had on the victim? Does she not matter? This entire case has reinvigorated discussions about the way that colleges handle rape cases as well as the way money, racial privilege, and the romanticization of athletes plays into rape culture. How can we sincerely say that our culture take rape seriously when Turner’s own father whined that his son shouldn’t be punished for “twenty minutes of action.”
Action. Here we have someone calling rape action like it’s some sort of tantalizing sexcapade.
The victim herself even addressed the privilege Turner experienced, saying, “If I had been sexually assaulted by an un-athletic guy from a community college, what would his sentence be? 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 only good thing to come out of this mess is the fact that Turner will be a registered sex offender for the rest of his life. Additionally, there’s a California bill in the works that will require prison sentences for those who rape and/or sexually assault victims who were unconscious or unable to fight back. If that law was already in the books, Turner would have spent a minimum of three years in a state prison, not three months in a county jail.
There’s a lot to unpack here, and naturally there has been a lot of great discussion on Twitter about it all. Check out these 17 reactions to Brock Turner’s jail release that’ll make you angry, make you think, and make you want to go to a protest right this second.
1. And people wonder why rape victims remain silent…
Brock Turner got caught mid-rape.
By a white male witness.
And still only got 6 months.
But y’all blame victims for not reporting.
— Lauren Chanel Allen (@MichelleHux) September 2, 2016
2. People are in jail for far longer for less severe crimes. Was justice really served?
it’s disgusting how brock turner only served 3 months in jail, but our black men/teens are incarcerated for years w/ possession of marijuana
— § greg (@n9viv) September 2, 2016
One time I had a period that lasted longer than the time Brock Turner just served.
— Jenny Jaffe (@jennyjaffe) September 2, 2016
4. Not even a rich white woman like Martha Stewart got five months in federal prison for insider trading…more time than this sex offender who was in county jail for summer vacation.
How is it that Brock Turner can rape an unconscious woman and serve less time in jail than Martha Stewart did for lying about a stock sale?
— Andrea Russett (@AndreaRussett) September 2, 2016
5. Okay, but real talk…
I’ve binged watched Netflix for longer than Brock Turner was in jail
— ☠ SORRY NOT SORRY ☠ (@SORRYNOTSOORRY) September 2, 2016
6. Another sad truth. I can’t even believe three months is already up, it felt like this just happened yesterday.
Brock Turner wasn’t in jail long enough for his memes to stop making the rounds. Think about that.
— The Jim Riley (@SpartaDTD) September 2, 2016
7. Check out these protesters who are picketing against Turner’s early release.
“Because our daughters deserve better.”
— Fusion (@Fusion) September 2, 2016
8. Let’s not forget the real victim here.
I can’t fathom the pain Brock Turner’s victim is going through right now, but I hope she continues to stay strong. All my love is for her.
— ⚡️ (@90swomen) September 2, 2016
9. Watch this video of what real sexual assault survivors think of the Brock Turner case.
— HuffPost BlackVoices (@blackvoices) September 2, 2016
10. It’s disturbing how common this whole mess really is.
Brock Turner and his case represent the way our judicial system intentionally dismisses and disrespects sexual assault survivors.
— Anne T. Donahue (@annetdonahue) September 2, 2016
11. Coming from the same system that was convinced Turner wouldn’t commit any more crimes in the future, this doesn’t surprise me.
Brock Turner getting out on good behavior like oh yeah good job you didn’t rape another person in 3 months well done buddy keep it up champ
— Sunder (@SunderCR) September 2, 2016
12. Stanford students are letting their anger known in a big way following the jailhouse release of former student, Turner.
Stanford students are protesting the release of Brock Turner—and the judge who sentenced him—after 3 months in jail. pic.twitter.com/k5cWV7uoly
— Fusion (@Fusion) September 2, 2016
13. Unfortunately, this is more than just the media being sketchy; he wasn’t convinced of rape by California state law…which is part of the problem. Still, it’s hard not to feel this way.
TGIF, especially for rapist Brock Turner who finishes his joke of a sentence today pic.twitter.com/rsqpdxeT8p
— Laura Zak (@la_wa) September 2, 2016
14. People get longer sentences for petty theft, drug possession, etc…this is out of control.
Brock Turner did less time than *insert drug addict here* https://t.co/vbxmFOMjTn
— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) September 2, 2016
15. If you’re skeptical of the ways privilege played a role in Turner’s conviction, take a look at this:
If you’re outraged about Brock Turner, you need to learn about Brian Banks https://t.co/Ztqtj1V8Oh
— Mashable (@mashable) September 2, 2016
16. Whoop, there it is…
3 months of good behavior got Brock turner released from jail meanwhile a lifetime of good behavior got his victim “well were you drinking”
— Allie (@abarty_intheusa) September 2, 2016
17. This sums it all up pretty much.
Brock Turner has the most punchable face of 2016.
— jash (@83J0SHUA) September 2, 2016
What’s your reaction to Brock Turner’s release? Tell us in the comments!