By Tammi Pitzen, Executive Director of The Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County
As I sit here today and write this, I am thinking about how many times I have written words, spoke about or read about how victims of sexual assault continue to be impacted by the lack of appropriate punishment of their offenders.
I sometimes feel like I am in the movie “Groundhog Day”. You know the movie I am talking about? The one where Bill Murray keeps re-living the same day over and over again?
I feel like that. I keep reading over and over again: Bright young college student rapes a bright young college student, but we don’t want to ruin his life by “branding” him a sex offender. So instead we give him six months in jail. He serves three months.
Today, I sit stunned that he raped an unconscious woman and today he will walk among the free. He spent a lousy three months in jail. Martha Stewart served more time in prison for lying.
There has been much public outcry about this sentencing. And there should be. The Judge stands behind his sentence. He actually said, and I quote, “While the victim’s life had been “poisoned” by the assault, a prison sentence for Turner would not be ‘an antidote’.”
He further explained that Turner was not a threat to anyone. Really? He is a threat to any woman who has the audacity to have too much to drink or to sleep in front of him.
I wonder if he would be saying the same thing if it was his daughter who had been Taylor’s victim. I wonder if he would be saying the same thing if he had to witness his loved one being told about being raped behind a dumpster at school. I wonder if the two bicyclists who happened on Taylor raping the unconscious young lady would feel the same.
The Judge, in my humble opinion, has greatly added to the trauma that this young rape victim will have to work through.
He has publicly said his court does not care about rape victims but does care about star athletes who rape. It sickens me. It sickens me that he is still allowed to wear the black robes that symbolize justice and honor.
I am hoping that tomorrow is a different day.
I am hoping that tomorrow we understand better, in all walks of life, what trauma is and what it does to change who we are.
I am hoping tomorrow will be a day where victims of sexual assault are heard, valued, and protected, instead of shamed, blamed, and humiliated.
I am hoping that tomorrow is a day where we no longer tell our daughters what to do so they will not be raped and begin to teach our sons why they should not be rapists.
I am hoping that tomorrow is a day where yes means yes and no means no.
I am hoping that tomorrow is a day where we all understand what consent means and that we understand we have to be awake, sober, and of age in order to give it.