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UALR students voice opinions on Brock Turner’s release by Mikayla Harris

Submitted by Victoria Mugambi on September 21, 2016 – 11:06 amNo Comment

On Friday, Sept. 2, 2016, Brock Turner, a former Stanford University student, was released from jail just three months into a six month sentence. Turner, age 20 when prosecuted, was convicted with two counts of felony sexual assault and one count of attempted rape on March 30, 2016.

His sentencing included six months in a county jail, followed by three years of formal probation, registration as a sex offender and attendance to a sex offender rehabilitation program. Turner’s jail time was cut short due to good behavior.

Chaz Smith, a faculty member and UALR alum, said,  “I don’t think that three months is enough time for him to be released…There are people who have committed crimes that are not as bad as what he did. They haven’t caused any physical harm [or] messed with anybody’s psyche or mental frame of mind. He physically violated another human being, and I feel like three months isn’t enough time for that.”

Bianca Johnson, a graduate student, voiced her concern over what this early release says about our nation. “As a member in our society, it sends really ridiculous and inconsise messages to our people that one, rape is a crime of power and [two] it really doesn’t’ matter if you do it to people in our society. It took longer to prosecute, to gather evidence, and to even get him indicted than his actual time in prison.”

Johnson continued by expressing how Turner’s actions warrant a sentence longer than three months. “He changed someone’s life. He made a decision, a knowledgeable choice. It wasn’t an accident or mistake. There were choices [made] to go and hold someone down, to take advantage, to lie about it, to try to hide it, and he was caught trying to run away. These choices that he made to invade and destroy someone else’s life. But the judge decided that his life, thereby, should not be ruined as well so he only got six months, and he only did three months with good behavior. I don’t feel that rape should be a crime that you get away with on good behavior, especially in Brock’s case, because it’s a choice. He decided to commit a crime and was basically told that it’s okay. He got a slap on the wrist. It goes into him being male, and it goes into him being caucasian unfortunately. That it’s not a universal system about how we treat criminals.”

Senior Emmanuel Onochie commented on how Turner’s sentence shows the unbalance in our nation’s legal system, saying “I feel like it just goes to show that there’s an underlying issue in the legal system in our country. There’s a way we treat people who commit crimes in this country and I feel like it has a lot to do with the color of your skin. He got three months for sexually abusing a girl. I feel like if I sexually abused a girl, I would get way more than three months, and it has a lot to do with the color of my skin. It’s sad to think that in this country we live in, the rule doesn’t apply the same for everyone. I feel like there’s a huge issue.”

However, it’s not just America’s legal system and societal morals that were called into question based on Turner’s early release. Johnson stated how Turner’s release made her feel as an individual. “As a female, it makes me feel that it would be unsafe to do certain things. We aren’t teaching people. We’re teaching women not to dress a certain way, not to become inebriated, not to have a good time, not to trust your environment. Instead of teaching men or other people not to rape, not to harm, not to go and invade someone’s life without their permission.”

Johnson ends with “No doesn’t mean no. No means three months out of your life. No means a summer vacation at an institution for raping and destroying someone’s life whereby you’re still known as a fantastic athlete, and my life is totally ruined now because you decided to invade it. And the government says that’s okay with three months.”

 

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