Hundreds of thousands of people have signed a petition calling for the recall of a judge who gave a Stanford University star athlete just six months in prison for rape.
The case has found global attention in recent days, thanks to a powerful statement delivered by the 23-year-old rape victim.
In it, the woman said her rapist, Brock Allen Turner, said: “You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today. The damage is done, no one can undo it.”
Turner was discovered by two graduate students on top of the unconscious victim next to a rubbish bin.
The victim’s statement was published by Buzzfeed News on Friday, and by Saturday had more than 1 million views.
Twenty-year-old Turner was convicted of three felony counts of sexual assault and faced up to 14 years in prison. Yet the judge handed down a sentence of six months in prison because he said that a tougher sentence would have a “severe impact” on the man, who had been a promising swimmer.
Public outrage over the sentencing was compounded by a letter written by Turner’s father, Dan A Turner. “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.”
Stanford law professor Michele Landis Dauber has now launched a formal campaign for the judge who presided over the case, Aaron Persky, to be recalled.
“He has made women at Stanford and acrossCalifornia less safe,” Dauber told the Guardian. “The judge bent over backwards in order to make an exception … and the message to women and students is ‘you’re on your own,’ and the message to potential perpetrators is, ‘I’ve got your back.’”
Meanwhile, the victim, whose identity remains suppressed, told the Guardian that she was “overwhelmed and speechless” at the support she had received since she read out her victim statement.