Target: California Governor Jerry Brown
Goal: Demand prison sentences for anyone convicted of sexual assault.
In the wake of college athlete Brock Turner’s appallingly lenient sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, lawmakers in California have responded by unanimously passing a new bill. This bill will require prison time, not just probation, for anyone convicted of sexual assault.
Turner was sentenced to a mere six months in jail after the assault he committed. He is expected to be released after serving only half that sentence. The new bill will close the loophole that allowed this outcome for Turner. Cases of rape, sodomy, and other penetration of an unconscious victim will now be included alongside cases of sexual assault where force was used — the only type of sexual assault case that already required a mandatory prison sentence for the offender. Victims who were unable to fight back, or were incapable of giving consent because they were, for example, unconscious, can finally have justice in the California legal system.
Sexual assault is a terrible crime, and is not made any less so because a victim was intoxicated, unconscious, or unable to say no. Our laws must reflect that. If felons convicted of these crimes are not punished accordingly, other survivors are less likely to come forward, and we send the message that these kinds of crimes are not a big deal. Ensure that offenders of these crimes are punished for their actions and that their victims get the justice they deserve. Demand that this bill becomes law in California.
Dear Governor Brown,
The bill that California lawmakers unanimously passed, which requires that offenders of sexual assault serve a mandatory minimum prison sentence, was an absolutely necessary response to the absurdly lenient sentencing of Brock Turner. Probation is not a punishment befitting the crime of sexual assault, and that includes assaults in which the victim was unable to fight back, unable to give consent, intoxicated or unconscious. It is absolutely necessary that this loophole be closed, and that this bill be passed into law.
Victims of sexual assault need to know that their experiences and their voices matter, and that they can depend on the law to serve justice. When people who have committed sexual crimes are allowed to walk away with nothing but probation, we send the message that we do not take these crimes and their victims seriously. Please do not allow this to continue. I urge you to finish this step that your state is taking, and sign this bill into law.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Anton Bielousov