Deciding which courses of actions are best to take starts with stepping back and looking at which areas need the most improvement at this time.
The first option that does in fact need to be implemented is bettering Education. This starts at home from the time people are young. Hearing phrases like “boys will be boys” when males act inappropriately, is an example of how language we hear from an early point in our lives can be damaging. Starting at an earlier age to have young people grasp the severity and importance of sexual assault will lessen the frequency of cases, and when someone is assaulted, encourage the victim to not feel shame. This, in turn, will allow them to feel comfortable talking to others and seeking the help they need.
There additionally needs to be a “clean-up” of policies in college sexual assault matters. With how often sexual attacks and rapes occur on college campuses, there is not nearly enough perpetrators receiving punishment for their actions. Reviewing what is already in place, and figuring how to adjust those policies, while also creating new ones needs to be done by colleges nationwide.
Colleges are not the only ones not being consistent with how they punish sexual assaulters and rapists. Law enforcement is also at fault.
A prime example of this is the infamous Brock Turner case in 2016, which started in January of 2015 at Stanford University, when two graduate students biked by and saw Turner raping a heavily intoxicated woman. The students were able to tackle him to the ground, after Turner attempted to flee the scene, and he was arrested. Meanwhile, the victim came back to it after being taken to the hospital, where she was tested and treated. Turner claimed it was consensual intercourse, while the victim didn’t recall a thing. Turner was arrested and charged, and at that point he withdrew from Stanford, as the school had yet to kick him out. He continued to claim it was consensual, despite two witnesses and officers seeing her unconscious at the scene of the attack. In February of 2015, he was released on a $150,000 bail. Turner blamed party culture, and came up with excuses, and others came to his defense, talking about how lovely he was, and showcasing that he was a star-swimmer for the school. His father even claimed that jail time for his son, would be “too harsh”, and that “His life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.” Turner received a sentence of only six months, because the judge felt he believed more time spent in jail would have a “severe impact” on the life and future of Turner, who once had “Olympic aspirations”. (Sanchez, 2016) Ultimately, he only served three months, as he was eligible to get out early.
How the case unfolded… the words spoken by Turner’s father, sympathizing with a rapist… the simple fact that Brock Turner, a rapist who selfishly changed that girl’s life forever, only served a few months in jail. This incident is why it is so important to make the decision to move forward with improving policies and laws at all levels.
The decision to provide more resources for victims is also a very dire need, as many victims remain suffering long after their attack. This will kick-start a positive cycle in ending the silent suffering that sexual assault victims go through. They can seek the help they need, talk to others who have been put in a similar situation, speak out on their experience, which ultimately will inspire future victims to do the same.
Sanchez, R. (2016, June 11). Stanford rape case: Inside the court documents. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2016/06/10/us/stanford-rape-case-court-documents/index.html.