Amidst all of the articles slinging hate fueled language at Brock Turner’s light sentence, I expected the article “A case against Brock Turner’s incarceration” to be an uneducated blurb about why Turner shouldn’t have a longer sentence. I was a bit wrong. The click-bait title is definitely intended to grab your attention and illicit a reactive response to a disgusting act against an innocent woman and I can say it worked for me as I began to read already in opposition to the writer’s opinion.
I believe the title does the article a disservice however, because at no point does the writer disagree with the evidence that showed a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Brock Turner had committed a felonious act. What they stress is how a longer sentence doesn’t necessarily solve the problem of abuse. The writer explains that they believe in focusing our attention as a society on helping the victims of such attacks instead of resorting to locking their attackers in cages for extended periods of time.
Illustrating their point on the matter:
“Let me be clear: Incarceration neither heals a victim’s trauma nor affirms their dignity. Justice is not served in vengeance. We do not help the cause of anti-violence by putting humans in cages. As a sexual assault activist, when you start to advocate for harsh punishment, you lose the moral high ground of protecting victims and become a perpetrator of violence yourself. While it is true that much of the time, people who commit sexual assault go completely unnoticed and unpunished, we must not overcompensate by scapegoating guilty individuals with sentences that break them. In the great empire of mass incarceration, the United States, we often ignore the realities of state-sanctioned human suffering. We forget that all of us are extremely fallible. Those who break the law are redeemable. Those who hurt others can be forgiven.”
Now maybe I have a bit of a savage or immoral mindset when it comes to the harming of innocents, but I find the above idea counterproductive. I understand that it may seem barbaric to some to punish an assailant such as Brock Turner with time in a cage given that he will be classified as a felon for life and enjoy all the benefits that come with the title. I understand that there are those who wish to counsel and rehabilitate those who commit such attacks before they are allowed release into the general populace.
It is with this understanding that I vehemently disagree.
I detest those who prey on the innocent. A rapist is not someone who should be treated as anything short of the destroyer of life. A rapist doesn’t stop their victim’s heart, they extinguish their spark of life. An attack such as this lives within the victim for the rest of their days. It influences the choices they make, who they spend time with, where they go, and even who they trust as they spend their lives trying to find what they lost in a moment.
Do we solve sexual assault by locking assailants away for decades? No, not at its core. A victim is not healed simply by knowing their attacker is in a cage. But it’s a damn good start to remove another vile creature from our society and establish our united front against those who harm others.
Listed below is a link to the article I’ve been referencing as well as the letter Brock Turner’s victim wrote for the trial regarding her assault. I recommend you read both.