Over the past few weeks, news of the Stanford Rape Case has bombarded our news feeds and social media sites. Many people are outraged after learning that 20-year-old Brock Turner, a student at Stanford University, was only sentenced to 6 months in prison after being found guilty of 3 counts of sexual assault against an unconscious woman. The powerful and courageous letter written by the survivor sheds light on the countless injustices survivors face, not only in the assault itself, but with the community response to these cases.
Widespread misunderstanding of the motivations of perpetrators continue to perpetuate the epidemic levels of sexual violence that plague our communities. Time after time, our communities fail to hold perpetrators accountable for their violent actions by prioritizing their needs or desires over those that would help survivors find a sense of justice and improve the safety of our communities.
What we all need to understand is that rape is a calculated act of violence and a tool of oppression that is used by perpetrators to violate, humiliate and rob individuals of their sense of safety and wellbeing.
Rape is not a mistake or a misunderstanding; it is a crime.
By giving leniency to rapists, we are making a clear statement that rape isn’t that bad. That this one action shouldn’t define the rest of the rapist’s life, as Brock Turner’s father wrote in a letter to the judge.
However, what research shows is that the overwhelming majority of rapes are committed by repeat offenders. And that a more concerted community effort to support survivors through the reporting and investigative process, and to have law enforcement and the criminal justice process respond timely and effectively to deliver harsher penalties, will lead to fewer rapes.
Unfortunately, the most sobering fact of this case is that it is far from uncommon. In fact, 97% of rapists face no jail time at all.
This case sheds light on the ugly truth that we as a society are reluctant to accept: that perpetrators exist in our communities and are often those with power and credibility.
We cannot stand by and allow those who perpetuate sexual violence to continue to face little to no consequences. We must take action and show our support for survivors.
STAR’s presence in our community is vital to providing immediate support to survivors who have experienced a sexual assault. Our advocates and counselors provide survivors with knowledge of the dynamics of violence and options about how to ensure their safety and wellbeing after an assault. We also provide assistance with navigating the investigative and reporting process, and stay by the survivors’ side throughout the trial process when needed.
According to testimonials from our clients, our work has dramatically impacted their lives:
- My counselor was amazing. She took a terrible, potentially life-ruining situation and made it bearable. I don’t know if I can ever thank her enough.
- STAR has helped me so much that it has been unbelievable.
- My self-esteem has greatly increased! I am so thankful for all this place has to offer!
- The free service was immensely helpful because of my financial situation but more importantly every staff person was understanding and always ready to help. They really care.
- STAR was the calm among the chaos helping to guide me through my own personal storm.
The need for these services is always increasing. It takes more additional support to ensure that survivors receive STAR’s supportive services after experiencing such a traumatic and life-altering event.
Donate today and help us continue this important work.
Additional ways you can help today include:
- Volunteering your time as a phone or hospital advocate
- Sharing our message with others
- Giving information about STAR to survivors