Response to the Brock Turner Case

Brock Turner, the rapist from Stanford who will face three months in prison. Photo from

The following is an opinion-editorial piece by Jackson Cianciulli:


Brock Turner faced up to fourteen years in federal prison for the sexual abuse of an intoxicated victim at a Stanford party. Brock Turner was convicted of three felonies, one including assault with intent to rape.

Despite all of this, a Californian judge sentenced the Ohio resident to a mere six months of imprisonment and probation, later lessened to three months for good behavior. Despite two graduate students who witnessed the rape, the judge argued that prison would have a “severe impact” on the white, collegiate swimmer.

But, isn’t that the point? People are imprisoned when they do something wrong, whether the charge be for a possession of drugs or homicide. It is impossible to challenge the belief that Turner did something wrong. While Turner gets off easy despite the atrocity he committed, the unnamed victim is forced to spend the remainder of her life with the memory engraved in her mind, drowning out even the happiest of days and making life a personal prison.

This is what privilege is. Society favors the one percent, and the entire case was set up in a way so that the innocent victim, the victim who wasn’t even conscious to defend herself, was made to be the criminal. The defense lawyer helped keep the light off of the obvious criminal by asking irrelevant, preposterous questions; he asked about her sexual activity, her alcohol intake while in college, and even going as far as blaming the victim by criticizing her outfit choice the night she was raped.

But, the woman would not go unheard. She released a lengthy speech to the court that both vividly described the night of and lasting impact that followed the assault. She inspired victims across the country to speak up, closing her speech with, “To girls everywhere, I am with you. Thank you.” The speech has since been quoted hundreds of thousands of times on social media, many arguing that it’s one of the most powerful pieces of writing our generation has seen.

However, as per usual, the media shifted their attention from the empowering words of the victim to the repugnant words spoken by the father of Turner, who instead painted his son to be the victim. Brock’s father argued that “20 minutes of action” shouldn’t cause Turner’s life to be flipped upside down. The ignorant father failed to understand that it wasn’t just some “action” that his son was getting. His son is a rapist—plain and simple—a rapist whose “ruined life” pales in comparison to the wildly different life his victim will have to live.

A jaw-dropping 97 percent of rapists aren’t fairly charged for the crimes they committed. This is largely because victims are too petrified to speak up about their experience, fearing that they’ll become yet another statistic. While it’s a fact that Brock Turner was charged, it’s undeniable that a three-month stint in prison is downright unjust for the crime he has committed. Brock is to blame for the rape, but the ignorant words of the judge, the defense attorney, and the father should not be ignored: we must put it all together and use it as an example for exactly what needs to change with rape culture in the United States.