After writing a gripping account of her experience as a rape victim, and then reading that statement to her rapist in court on Thursday, 23-year-old “Emily Doe” in California may see more justice upcoming. Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky who sentenced her rapist, Brock Allen Turner, to a mere 6-month jail term for three counts of rape/sexual assault — is now up for recall.
Emily Doe’s poignant and haunting statement addressing her rapist was published on several sites over the weekend and went viral, garnering millions of pageviews and empathizers as well as sympathizers. The general public’s response seems to be one of disgust and outrage directed at the convicted rapist, the presiding judge and the rapist’s father who wrote his own statement basically saying he felt his son got a raw deal for 20 minutes of wrongdoing on January 18, 2016. Six months in a county jail for three counts of sexual assault, after originally facing a maximum of 14 years in prison? Most would agree this is not such a raw deal. In fact, most agree this is a sad reflection on the Santa Clara court system. The California League of Women Voters have started a petition to have Persky removed from his position. At this time, over 129,000 people have signed, showing their support for every Emily/Jane Doe.
It should be noted that the former freshman Brock Allen Turner was a Stanford champion swimmer and former Olympian hopeful. He was able to afford an expensive team of attorneys, expert witnesses and private investigators. Given Emily Doe was unconscious while being raped behind a dumpster, she stated she knew the odds would be stacked against her once finding out her rapist opted to go to trial.
It’s unknown why Judge Persky would give Turner such a light sentence. Stanford law professor Michele Dauber was perplexed and told NBC News that Persky used to be a Santa Clara County prosecutor who specialized in going after violent sexual predators.
“The judge had to bend over backwards to accommodate this young man,” Dauber said.
“I believe that many people believe that assaults that happen on campus are less serious that assaults that happen elsewhere.”
Dauber, who is a family friend of the victim, identified only as “Emily Doe,” said she suspects that the judge went easy on Turner because they have similar backgrounds.
“I think he was very persuaded by the background of the young man as an elite athlete,” she said in a brief interview with NBC News.
More will be revealed and that is a good thing. The more this case becomes a part of our national discourse, the more awareness and better the chances for justice, not only for Emily Doe, but for many other victims of college/campus rape.
If you or someone you know is, or has ever been, a victim of rape/sexual assault, there is help. You can find free support via the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800.656.HOPE (4673) and/or by visiting the Rape, Abuse Incest National Network/online.RAINN.org. If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.