June 21, 2016

Criminal justice system betrays rape survivor
by Charlotte Strauss Swanson, Radical Women

Brock Turner, a 20 year-old former all-star swimmer at Stanford University was recently found guilty for sexually assaulting an unconscious female student. During sentencing, Judge Aaron Persky, who happens to be a Stanford alum and former lacrosse player, responded by stating that a “prison sentence would have a severe impact on him.” Turner was then sentenced to a mere six months in jail. This lack of accountability is unconscionable. Sadly, it is not surprising. The majority of sex offenders will never spend a day behind bars. According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), only three in 100 rapists will spend any time in jail. This rate is less than that of any other crime.

Turner’s case and others like it are yet another reminder of who the patriarchal capitalist system protects. Who is Brock Turner? A white cisgender heterosexual male athlete, whose status as a university swimmer meant more to Judge Persky than a woman’s life. At the same time that rapists like Turner are being let off the hook for heinous crimes, masses of poor and innocent people of color are being thrown into prison. What’s wrong with this picture? We have seen over and over again that there is no justice in the criminal “justice” system, which clearly serves the interests of those with power and privilege. Let’s fight back.

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