Dear Future President,
I would first like to congratulate you on your election. Since you are now the president, I have something that I think should be brought to your attention. I believe that in this country we need a stronger focus on campus sexual assault. Punishments for students convicted of sexual assault need to be serious, no matter where this student comes from, or how well off they are. We need to recognize that sexual assault in college is a serious problem.
Some people may say that campus sexual assault does not happen very often, or that the cases we do hear about are isolated incidents. However, according to information collected by the National Center for Education Statistics, about 11.7 million females and 8.8 million males attended college in 2016 and of these, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men will be sexually assaulted, according to the National Sexual Violence Research Center. If these statistics are to be believed, that means that about 2,340,000 women and 550,000 men will be sexually assaulted by the time they graduate, and the numbers are even higher for LGBT students. You cannot claim that these are isolated incidents after seeing these statistics.
This subject has been brought to many people’s attention recently, specifically with the Brock Turner sexual assault case. In this case former Stanford swimmer, Brock Turner, sexually assaulted a woman, and the case was brought to trial. According to CNN, a prosecutor argued that he should spend six years in jail for his terrible crime; he was sentenced to six months. In a letter written by his victim, she says, “The probation officer’s recommendation of a year or less is a soft timeout, a mockery of the seriousness of his assaults, an insult to me and all women. It gives the message that a stranger can be inside you without proper consent and he will receive less than what has been defined as the minimum sentence.” However, even though he was sentenced to six months, he ended up being released after three months for good behavior. His sentencing was not taken seriously enough. Whether it was because he was a promising student, a good swimmer, or alcohol was involved, I don’t know. What I do know is that he deserved more than three months of jail time for ruining a woman’s life.
I do not want young men and women to have to go to college afraid of what might happen to them. I do not want people who have experienced sexual assault to have to deal with seeing the person that assaulted them every day because of an unfit punishment. I want sexual assault cases on campuses to be taken seriously. I want people to feel safe when they go to school. As the president, you can enforce stricter punishments and ensure the safety of students. As a nation, we need to look at this topic, and understand that it matters. We need to understand that sexual assault in college is a serious problem.
West St. Paul, MN