Target: Jerry Brown, Governor of California
Goal: Increase penalties for sexual assault in California.
In January 2015, a woman known as Emily Doe was sexually assaulted behind a dumpster on the Stanford University campus. Her attacker, Brock Allen Turner, was charged with assault with the intent to commit rape, but only received six months in county jail. The judge said that he was afraid that prison would have a “severe” effect on Turner. Turner is not alone; 98 percent of rapists never go to prison. At least Turner received six months. However, penalties for sexual assault in California are light. The maximum county jail sentence for misdemeanor sexual battery is one year. The maximum for felony sexual battery is four years. Urge Governor Brown to raise the penalties for sexual assault and advocate for the victims of this horrific crime.
Sexual assault is a severe crime and deserves to be punished accordingly. The impacts of sexual assault on victims include depression, self-harm, and post-traumatic stress disorder. This is not to mention if the victim gets pregnant or catches a sexually transmitted infection from her attacker. In a courtroom statement to Turner, Emily Doe asserted, “You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.”
The attitude shown by Turner’s family reveals a stunning lack of concern for Emily Doe’s welfare. Turner’s father was dismayed that his son received even the light sentence that he did. The father said, “His [Turner’s] life will never be the one he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”
Emily Doe’s life will never be the one she dreamed about either. Sexual assault should not be treated like “20 minutes of action,” but instead like the serious crime that it is. Call on Governor Brown to change the laws regarding sexual assault so that no attempted rapist only spends six months in county jail.
Dear Governor Brown,
Sexual assault penalties in California must be increased. In January of 2015, a young woman was sexually assaulted on the Stanford University campus. She was unconscious at the time and will carry the effects of the assault with her for the rest of her life. Her attacker, Brock Allen Turner, will only spend six months behind bars, though charged with attempted rape. His punishment was in no way proportional to the egregiousness of his actions. Change the sexual assault laws in California and ensure that rape is punished as the terrible crime it is.
Sexual assault is a serious offense with lifelong consequences for the victim. These consequences include depression, self-harm, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Turner’s victim, Emily Doe, said in a courtroom statement to her attacker, “You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.”
The judge in Emily Doe’s case professed to understand the “devastation” that Ms. Doe went through, but said that he was afraid prison would have a “severe” effect on Turner. Turner’s effect on Ms. Doe was more than severe — it was horrifying. What makes it even worse is that Turner will be out in six months and able to assault other women. Protect the women of California and pass laws to keep rapists behind bars.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Lisa Norwood