We’ve likely all heard about the Stanford rape case that has recently been circulating the media.
By slim chance you haven’t, in short, Brock Turner was caught by two Swedish bicyclists sexually assaulting a 23-year-old woman, repeatedly referred to as “the unconscious woman” or “the victim” in news articles, behind a dumpster on the Stanford University college campus. Although the jury found Turner guilty of three counts of sexual assault, equating to a total jail time of 14 years, Judge Aaron Persky let Turner off easy with a six-month sentence because he felt jail time would “severely impact” him and his future athletic goals.
Since the conviction, multiple news platforms, including but not limited to BuzzFeed, CNN, NPR, FOX, and The New York Times, have covered the case. Additionally, our social news feeds and search engines have been saturated with posts and articles regarding the situation.
I’ve witnessed friends of all races debate how wrong it is for a privileged college student, swimmer, white male to be sentenced to six short months in jail for a crime worse than what many black males have been previously convicted of and are serving more time for.
I’ve witnessed multiple female friends reveal their personal rape stories and state how situations like this justify there’s no faith in the judicial system for victims like them.
I’ve witnessed male friends come forward and say this court case sets a miserable example for women and women’s rights and how livid they’d be if this happened to their wife, mother, sister, or daughter.
Although the posts ranged in sentiment, there was an underlying common bond throughout them all. There was a sense of unity that brought everyone together under one common cause that needed to be discussed.
The general consensus was that something had to be said and done about the blatant injustice at hand.
After this past week alone, change has already begun to occur. Brock Turner is now banned from USA Swimming for life. Judge Aaron Petsky is now facing a potential recall of his judicial position due to a series of inappropriate sentences and similar actions during the course of his career.
Although it could be wishful thinking, I’d like to believe this is a direct result of the powerful force we, as a collective people, have created. Whether it was from our outcries of emotion and a demand for change or some other forces of good, our voices have been heard and something has been done.
This should stand as a lesson to us all that we, the people, DO still have power, and we, the people, DO still possess the ability to make a change.
No matter how dark or how grim or risqué or “hush hush” the topic at hand may be, whether it’s rape, murder, gender equality, human rights, racism, abuse, political scandals, or any other potentially controversial situation that stands to be addressed, this is exactly what needs to happen. We need to stand united against the wrong and fight for our beliefs in what is right.
This is how a nation should be — as the pledge of allegiance that we once upon a time repeated day-in and day-out itself states, we are “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” We are not as different as we may seem to be. We all crave fairness and equality and the fundamental human rights we deserve no matter our race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.
By standing and fighting together, we can demand and produce change. By pushing whatever nonexistent differences we have aside and instead choose to work together, we can create miracles. We have the ability to be loud enough to revolutionize and incite change. Let’s continue to use this power and fight for the other hundreds or thousands of inequalities and injustices we are faced with as human beings in America and across the globe so maybe one day we will eventually know peace, liberty, and justice for all.