Are College Campuses Safe?
Youth are the most targeted when it comes to sexual assault. College campuses are also known to be places where sexual assault takes place. We need to make students feel comfortable in their learning spaces and make sure their voices are heard.
Dear Future President,
As an Asian, female student who will be attending university in 2017 I cannot turn a blind eye on the treatment of white and privileged sex offenders. In the recent and well known court case, People vs Turner, Stanford student Brock Turner raped an unconscious woman and received a very lenient sentence. His three charges of assault had the potential to land him up to 14 years in jail but he only received a 6 month sentence. This lenient treatment toward these rapists is dangerous toward the well being of victims of rape. Many of them are already discouraged to report rape and this only adds to their hesitation. After going through such a traumatic experience they might think, “Why go through all that trouble to relive the experience when I won’t even receive justice?”
Another problem was the way the media portrayed him as a good student and repeatedly referred to him as the “Stanford Swimmer” instead of a convicted rapist. Although he was a swimmer at Stanford, the title had nothing to do with the crime he committed. What was even more frustrating was that Turner’s judge, Aaron Persky, stated that “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him” as if he hadn’t made a severe impact on someone else’s life by sexually harassing them. The fact that Turner was charged with six months in jail -- and released after 3 months for good behavior -- for committing the same crime as African American football player Cory Batey who must serve a minimum of 15 to 25 years shows that his white privilege helped him receive a lenient sentence.
Victims of rape shouldn’t be scared to report their rapists, and they most definitely should not have their experience downplayed by the media portraying their rapist in a positive light. I don’t think students, regardless of gender and race, should be afraid to be independent on college campuses. The youth are main targets of sexual assault, so there is even more urgency for us to protect our college campuses and ensure that they are safe spaces where students feel comfortable.
Often times colleges will not make a big deal over issues such a rape to protect their reputation but the president can help shed light on the matter by speaking out about the matter. What’s even more important is allowing students and victims of rape to voice their opinions. As president, he or she must understand their citizens by giving them an opportunity to publicly discuss sexual assault instead of sweeping the topic under the carpet. The president serves as a role model and a good leader values the voice of their people.
Thank you for your time and attention.