Widgets Magazine


A case against Brock Turner’s incarceration

Dear Stanford,

Recently, I was forwarded a letter and petition from the co-founders of the Stanford Association of Students for Sexual Assault Prevention, Stephanie Pham and Matthew Baiza. While I do appreciate that Stephanie and Matt have their hearts in the right place to help victims of sexual assault, their enthusiastic advocacy for locking Brock Turner, a former Stanford undergraduate, in prison for a mandatory minimum sentence of two years has been weighing heavily on my heart. I feel that their petition reflects neither the values of the Stanford student body nor the vast amount of university research concerning the detrimental effects of incarceration.

It seems that Stephanie and Matt believe that a harsh sentence for Turner will set a precedent allowing more women to report sexual assault in the future. Their stated position is that “The concern becomes one about helping survivors feel that they can come forward. Our concern is that when a sanction doesn’t correspond with the action, it will deter victims from reporting because they feel that the system did not adequately provide justice. This case has larger implications for this campus and students views on sexual assault.”

Unfortunately, their point of view does not hold up against the academic body of research concerning sexual assault reporting and prevention. There is no research to suggest that harsh sentences increase reporting rates of sexual assault. There are many reasons why someone would choose not to report, and harsh sentences may actually deter victims from reporting in the first place, in cases where the victim does not want to impose harm upon another individual. On the other hand, the research does show that long prison sentences are debilitating and extremely cruel to the incarcerated and their loved ones. Locking people up does not rehabilitate them and too often causes massive trauma and psychological damage. If we are not absolutely confident that incarcerating Brock Turner for a minimum of two years (and up to 10 years) will help victims or increase reporting rates, then we are advocating for hurting another individual with dubious benefit for anyone. This is very concerning.

The facts of the case have already been pored over by a jury, and Turner has been declared guilty. Brock Turner fingered a girl while she was passed out from alcohol intoxication. This type of behavior is not acceptable and should be condemned without qualification. Sexual assault is an insidious crime that robs an individual of their dignity, sense of self worth and faith in others. As a Stanford community, we must reject this type of behavior and work tirelessly to change the culture from which it stems.

And we have done as much with this case so far. Brock Turner has been expelled from Stanford. He has been convicted of felony crimes. Turner’s face has been painted across social media and national headlines as the epitome of rape culture and campus sexual violence. With his felony conviction, Turner will effectively become a second-class citizen with restricted access to education, employment, housing, adoption, loans and credit, voting, professional licensing, not to mention the huge blow to his reputation, which will haunt him for the rest of his life. He will experience significant psychological suffering and overwhelming isolation from the rest of society. His guilt and regret will surely follow him forever.

Stephanie and Matt claim that we need to incarcerate Turner in order to “affirm the dignity of survivors.” 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.

I call on all Stanford students to direct their efforts towards empathy and love. We must help victims of sexual assault, not destroy the souls of young men who commit crimes. We must lead the nation against campus rape culture and transform our own community, but not lose sight of the higher values that define who we are as individuals. There are numerous ways to get involved in preventing sexual violence that do not hurt other people and I hope that we can adopt many of these principles within the activist community on campus.

Hoping for peace, love, and compassion, even when that may be difficult and unpopular,

Saunders Hayes ’16


If you have gotten this far, thank you for reading. I have always been afraid to speak out at Stanford in particular because of the brutality of criticism that comes with voicing your opinion publicly. All too often, we are trained to find flaws in others’ arguments and attack them relentlessly for their mistakes. I hope that we are all able to keep an open mind and care for others, even in the face of disagreement.


Contact Saunders Hayes at sbdhayes ‘at’ stanford.edu.

  • Sabina

    “Locking people up does not rehabilitate them and too often causes massive trauma and psychological damage”.Yes, I agree with this. I may add there must already be some psychological damage there, is someone thinks it is ok to rape someone else. And people committing crimes still have their humanity, yes, but they may need some help bringing it back to a place where they are safe to be around.
    Our society still thinks in terms of crime and punishment. It is noble to think there may be a better way, and to make steps in building a safer and more just society. but this better way is not build don’t think this better way may come from

  • Sabina

    “Locking people up does not rehabilitate them and too often causes
    massive trauma and psychological damage”.Yes, I agree with this. I may
    add there must already be some psychological damage there, is someone
    thinks it is ok to rape someone else. And people committing crimes still
    have their humanity, yes, but they may need some help bringing it back
    to a place where they are safe to be around.
    Our society still thinks
    in terms of crime and punishment. It is noble to think there may be a
    better way, and to make steps in building a safer and more just society. But giving someone a very light sentence for rape is not the way. nor advocating against his incarceration

  • Jesse

    I don’t know about average sentencing, but there was a really interesting article comparing this case to one of a black 19-year-old athlete charged of sexual assault of an unconscious woman, also while drunk, also found guilty. In that case he was sentenced to 15 years in prison.


  • Axchrom

    Running away is the first sign of guilt; you’re right –

  • Jen

    Weasel worded? When did I defend Brock Turner and his attorneys for the horrible treatment and crimes they committed against her? When did I advocate for a lesser sentence? I invite you re-read my response because I did not make any of the claims that you continue to condemn me for. This is understandably a heated topic, but I do not think it is fair to put a target on the backs of people offering a different perspective. It is unnecessary and counterproductive.

  • Jen

    You are right. I do not know the author and I cannot speak for him. Good luck in your search for clarification.

  • lala

    Both father and son blame the victim for being drunk and their ‘remorse’ consists of wanting to go to other college campuses and lecture on binge drinking and promiscuity! As if the fact that Brock VIOLENTLY RAPED the victim equates to her being a whore. This was a VIOLENT act, why do you keep pretending otherwise?

  • PSuidaePhD

    Why shouldn’t it follow him? If he was convicted of embezzling from a bank, the next bank gets to know. The next woman at a party should know, too.

  • rch427

    William wrote “…(you fail) to empathize with the incomparable suffering the victim went through.”

    Really? A woman having someone put their finger in her vagina subjects her to “incomparable suffering”? That doesn’t leave you many adjectives for being able to describe the effects of say, a toddler being anally raped.

    What if it had been a *male* student who had gotten drunk and passed out, and a *female* student had grabbed his penis. Would you also declare him to have been the victim of “incomparable suffering”? Would you advocate for her being incarcerated for 14 years?

    For some reason, I doubt it.

  • rch427

    KLTG wrote “…tried to minimize it by crudely calling it ‘fingering a girl while she was passed out from intoxication’.”

    I hate to bring reality into this, but that is how the *court* characterized it, and it is factually correct.

    “Rape is rape is rape”

    …except when it’s not. Like the countless cases where women have been consensual partners but after the fact, decide that they regret having participated — like Emma Sulkowicz ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mattress_Performance_%28Carry_That_Weight%29 ). Or the cases where men have been subjected to the same sort of physical groping when unconscious, by women. Do you also advocate for such women being sentenced to 14 years, having to register as sex offenders, etc? I very much doubt it. Nice little double-standard you’ve got going there.

  • MP

    1) “In my op-ed, I made the case against the incarceration of Turner, but I never told you how I felt about the victim (or Turner’s defense). People just assumed. And they assumed wrong.” Sure, but you also upvoted a disgusting comment which blamed the victim because of her intoxication, so I think our assumptions are correct…

    2) “This is not a “classic example of white male privilege entitlement” and getting off easy.” That is EXACTLY what this is. The furious social media reaction does not negate this, but is a reaction to it. People are fed up that one’s race/class/gender determines how they are treated in a court of law. People are fed up that there is a hierarchy of who we value, and that it is so institutionalized. We may have condemned him on social media but the one place where it matters most, the courtroom, did not. The narrative of the case from a sentencing standpoint is very much one of white (male) privilege.

    3) “I’d say this is one of the major success stories for campus sexual assault activism.” Yes, activists have been able to highlight this case as a damning example of how rape culture is alive and well, but this was NOT a success story because the very existence of rape culture (and again, white privilege) sadly means that this man got such a lenient sentence. This was NOT a success story for the woman who spent a year of her life being scrutinized and dehumanized. A miscarriage of justice will NEVER be a success story. A success story would have been the accused getting a proper sentence.

    4) You’ve already attempted to recant this, but don’t speak for victims, ever. Don’t pretend to know what will bring them healing and dignity, and state it as though it is fact. You may not think that his sentence made a mockery of the justice system but this woman did. And I agree because the judge was clearly biased towards him (and you reflect the same line of thinking, apparently).

    5) You say that “there are many reasons why someone would choose not to report, and harsh sentences may actually deter victims from reporting in the first place, in cases where the victim does not want to impose harm upon another individual.” Let’s touch on some of those “many” reasons, which you skirted over before getting to the “victim may not want to impose harm” part. Firstly, the worry that they won’t be treated fairly IS certainly part of it. Though you say, “there is no research to suggest that harsh sentences increase reporting rates of sexual assault,” it must be questioned what research you are talking about? Research done by Public Integrity on campus sexual assault shows that victims DO worry about the lack of fairness when they are weighing the decision to report or not. A piece by The Atlantic indicates that expulsion should be the default punishment for campus sexual assault, again, because victims are concerned about leniency or no punishment at all when it comes to sexual assault. It also says that for those who don’t want harsh punishments for their abusers, it is because they worry how it will affect them (the victim) socially on campus ( a side-effect of rape culture!), not because they think the person should not be punished. While these articles were written about the handling of abuse by colleges, the worry victims have about receiving adequate justice is still applicable to cases tried in courtrooms.

    Additionally, victims are also hesitant to report because they don’t want to go through the pain and exhaustion of having to tell their story over & over, having their personal history scrutinized, being discredited at every turn, facing their abuser again, etc. Importantly, these feelings are compounded by the knowledge that they may have to go through all of this, only to see their abuser receive a slap on the wrist. This case surely doesn’t encourage people to think otherwise. You need to acknowledge these very real reasons for underreporting instead of trying to fit it into a questionable narrative of “victims may not want to cause harm and thus harsher sentences may deter reporting.” And are the many victims who DO want their abuser to go to jail for a long(er) time or face some other harsh punishment such as school expulsion, horrible and vindictive? Wanting someone to receive adequate punishment is not wanting to “cause harm.” It is wanting to see justice done.

    6) Yes, the prison system is deeply flawed in the US and prison reform is necessary. But the fact that you’ve decided to argue for prison reform in a case like this is highly suspect. You should be decrying the low-income, people of colour who receive ridiculous sentences for far less insidious crimes. But this man should not be your example for encouraging prison reform. He was FOUND GUILTY of sexual assault on three counts. The evidence is there. But he is a privileged, white male, who will leave prison after just 6 months and return to a wealthy family, a powerful support system which will help him enter back into the community. No one is arguing that he should receive a harsh sentence because of the unfair sentencing of those less-privileged, but rather that his six month sentence DOES NOT fit the crime he committed. I’m not saying he should have received 14 years, but he certainly deserved more than 6 months. This sentence indicates that sexual assault, even when proven, will not be taken seriously, which does little to deter people from committing these crimes. The judge bought into the notion that the accused is not a “typical rapist” but a “Stanford-educated, swimming prodigy,” who just made a mistake and who will learn and do better. But the fact that the accused has shown no remorse, the fact that he forced this woman to go through a lengthy trial even with the cards stacked against him, and the fact that he is appealing the verdict, indicates that he has not learnt anything. He will go to jail for 6 months (maybe 3 on good behaviour), and will come out thinking he did nothing wrong except drinking too much.

    Wanting a harsher sentence is not vengeful in this case. It does not force us to give up our “moral high ground.” Rather (and I’m repeating myself but you need to hear this), it is a reaction to a person who should have gone to prison for AT LEAST 2-3 years, but instead received a lenient sentence because of his privilege, and because he didn’t have a violent history (newsflash: that’s not a prerequisite for rapists).

  • Saunders Hayes

    This is definitely one of the best comments I’ve seen so far. You make some really great points. I don’t have time to address everything right now, but I’d like to push back a bit on the remorse issue because I think that’s important.

    In Turner’s statement he said, “I am the sole proprietor of what happened on the night that these people’s lives were changed forever. I would give anything to change what happened that night. I can never forgive myself for imposing trauma and pain on [redacted]. It debilitates me to think that my actions have caused her emotional and physical stress that is completely unwarranted and unfair. The thought of this is in my head every second of everyday since this event has occurred. These ideas never leave my mind. During the day, I shake uncontrollably from the amount I torment myself by thinking about what has happened. I wish I had the ability to go back in time and never pick up a drink that night, let alone interact with [redacted]. I can barely hold a conversation with someone without having my mind drift into thinking these thoughts. They torture me. I go to sleep every night having been crippled by these thoughts to the point of exhaustion. I wake up having dreamt of these horrific events that I have caused. I am completely consumed by my poor judgement and ill thought actions. There isn’t a second that has gone by where I haven’t regretted the course of events I took on January 17th/18th. My shell and core of who I am as a person is forever broken from this. I am a changed person.”

    Turner may be ignorant about consent and personal responsibility, but this is certainly remorse.

  • KLTG

    Um, nope.

    This is how the *court* characterized it: assault with intent to rape an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating
    an intoxicated person with a foreign object and sexually penetrating an
    unconscious person with a foreign object.

    rch427 wrote (paraphrasing): “Nyah nyah nyah-nyah nyah, but here’s this irrelevant Wikipedia article on a completely unrelated case.” Bro, there were two witnesses who saw Brock Turner sexually assaulting this woman. He tried to run when he got caught because he knew what he was doing was wrong. This is not a he-said-she-said case.

    And not that I think you really care, because I looked at the other comments you’ve written, complaining about how people aren’t paying enough attention to the male victims of rape, complaining about Transgender people, completely changing the subject in whatever debate you’re in and you are a *classic* derailer, but here are two things that are very true:

    1- You’ll find no double standard here. Male victims of rape, whether they were raped by men or by women, should be treated with respect and dignity by police, the law, and society as a whole. Their assailants should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, and whenever possible, their privacy should be maintained.

    2- But we’re not talking about a male victim of rape right now, we’re talking about a woman. You know, that gender where one in four experience sexual assault at some point in their lives?

    And YOU strike me as the sort of person who would walk past a funeral for a woman and start yelling, “A MAN DIED TODAY TOO, WHY AREN’T YOU UPSET ABOUT THAT, NICE LITTLE DOUBLE STANDARD, REVERSE SEXISTS!”

  • lala

    You don’t know the meaning of the word Bigoted, maybe your Daddy Shoukd ask for his money back that he wasted on your clearly non existent education. Glad to hear you were raped, although I’m sure you asked for it in some way. Maybe you kissed your attacker? Dared to have a few drinks? I mean, we all know that clearly means you’re worthless and deserved it.

  • surgonc


    What Brock did was reprehensible and deplorable in the strongest possible terms. To be clear, this is not a ‘he said’ – ‘she said’ case. There were first hand witnesses and a mountain of evidence to convict this guy in front of a jury (of mostly men I might add). Call it what you want – rape, sexual assault, whatever, but what this bozo did causes most people to get visibly nauseous. In my opinion, and the opinion of many others, he got off way to easy and his punishment doesn’t fit his crime. Yes, he’ll be a registered sex offender for the rest of his life (as he deserves), and he’ll likely never become a surgeon as he once aspired to become (I would never accept a sex offender into my surgery program and I don’t think any medical school would either). His life is going to be impacted heavily with the punishment he got, but that doesn’t change the fact that his punishment should have been much more severe. At the end of the day, he purposefully took advantage of an unconscious young woman, got caught, ran away from the scene, and he tried to defend himself by shaming and blaming the victim. Furthermore, I don’t get the sense from the statements that he truly feels remorse for his actions – he regrets what he did and what happened, but I don’t feel that he feels he something egregiously wrong. As much as you have trouble seeing it or admitting it, his status as an athlete at Stanford, his race, and his family’s wealth all contributed to this guy getting a light sentence from the judge. If a man of color and member of a gang fingered an unconscious girl in the inner city, most people would agree that he’d probably get a much harsher sentence. Brock did the same thing – the only difference is that there is quite a bit more glitz and glamour to cloud the picture.

    I’ve never posted a comment in a forum like this. But I wanted to post something to you. I don’t think you’re a bad guy despite what many of the comments here are painting you out to be, but I think you are very misguided. I’ve been in the ED and had the excruciating task of evaluating cases of rape and unfortunately having young women go through a ‘rape kit.’ Its awful. Even as a surgeon, I can’t think of a more invasive intrusion on someone’s privacy. Its no easy thing for a woman to come forward with a claim of sexual assault or rape.

    We don’t live in a perfect world. I don’t know if having people serve prison terms makes them better or worse at the end of the day and I don’t know what impacts prisons have on our society in general. But that’s not the point. We live in a society where there are consequences to actions and we have to be sure that everyone is treated equally. That didn’t happen in this case, plain and simple.

    I hope that you’ll change your position and stance on this issue and more seriously consider the gravity of this felon’s actions. Despite all the glitz and glamour surrounding this case, this guy has permanently scarred and changed the life of a 23 year old young woman and her family. A 6 month jail sentence to reflect on his actions (which will likely be curtailed to 3 months on account of good behavior) simply doesn’t do this case justice.

    Good luck in your career. I have three beautiful girls at home who I love more than anything. I hope you have daughters, it will change your perspective immediately – just imagine what you’d want to do if this happened to your daughter. You’d be out for much more than a 6 month jail term.

  • Escobar NYC

    Saunders, how are you so highly educated yet so stupid?

  • pixie1122

    Thank you so much for having the courage to write this. As a parent of a son and a daughter, I struggle with the suffering of this woman, and the stupid behavior of this young man, for which he is paying a huge price. While I understand the anger towards him and believe he deserves the punishment, the lynch mob mentality is sickening. Beyond the calls for his rape in prison, and attacks on the judge and his family, what can society hope to learn from this? At some point, after people serve a sentence for the crimes, they have to come back into society. I read the victim’s statement several times, and I don’t see her advocating this. I see her as wanting him to learn from it, and for both of them to move forward. Additionally, I have seen people fill in the blanks with assumptions. They seem to believe that Turner is super rich, like the ‘Affluenze’ teen from Texas? Is this true? Did his attorneys use that same defense in this case? No. From what I have read, he has shown remorse from the beginning. I wish that he had taken a plea deal, as I think it would have spared the victim additional pain. That being said, keeping young people SAFE and educating them to be responsible for their behavior and to protect those who are vulnerable is a conversation that we all need to have. I am sorry for the shrill attacks that you have faced from some here for your opinion. I find that you are much more compassionate than they are.

  • pixie1122

    You are sick.

  • pixie1122

    Saunders, people here are filling in the blanks on some facts because they are angry and outraged. While I understand that, I think it’s not helpful to distort facts. I have come to feel that a handsome young, entitled frat boy is the perfect villain that everyone wants to hate. In the end, there was enough to convict him of 3 different felony sex offense charges and put him on the sex offender registry FOR LIFE. You’d almost think that he was acquitted. (Really, where was this rage during the Kobe Bryant scandal?) Are we forgetting that when some call for him to be raped in prison? Nevermind actual facts or due process, and the careful consideration that must be given by a judge in balancing a sentence that send a clear message. In reading the victim’s statement, I believe that she wants him to learn from his actions, and for both of them to move beyond this.

  • Damo1000

    Useful idiot.

  • Robert

    “…we must not overcompensate by scapegoating guilty individuals with sentences that break them.”

    “By scapegoating guilty individuals.” Do you even know what a scapegoat is? A rapist is not a scapegoat for rape. He is the person, the sole person, responsible for rape.

    There is only a hint of any valid argument in your letter, which shows an embarrassing insensitivity to the effects of sexual violence. The entire prison system is a questionable enterprise, and how we deal with criminals of all kinds perhaps could change. However, given this system, we should feel outrage that a White male rapist faces such negligible consequences, not seek an exception to avoid causing harm to the guilty.

  • Bailey

    Why are you defending him? All those bad things that “could” happen to him are a result of his CHOSEN actions! You should not appauld the judge for the lessened sentence, nor should you advocate for this. This teaches boys/men everywhere that it is okay to do this to women because you can get off with nothing more than a slap on the wrist basically. Very disappointed in your viewpoint!

  • MP

    He appears to show remorse for his poor judgment in drinking too much, because that is what he believes led him to act in this way. As a result, he may never touch a drink again. But that is showing remorse for the wrong thing. He has not (by my account) actually admitted to what he did: sexually assault someone. He needs to show remorse for that, not for picking up a drink that night. I also believe that his ignorance towards consent and personal responsibility should not be considered as separate to his remorse. It is this ignorance (or perhaps refusal to acknowledge), which again signifies that he is not remorseful and has not learnt anything. He needs to openly acknowledge that he crossed the lines of consent and take responsibility on his own, without bringing alcohol into the equation.

    Most importantly, multiple sources are showing that Turner plans to appeal. What does this indicate about his supposed show of remorse?

  • Death

    While Saunders does raise some interesting points about the effectiveness of incarceration and the impact on lives, I wonder how Saunders would feel if the perpetrator was a minority youth without such prestigious education at a party rather than a Stanford student. Would he speak out so strongly to support such a person? I think not.

  • rch427

    1. You’re conflating two different things: the legal charge against Turner and the way his actions were described. The latter was just as I described it.

    2. You claimed that “rape is rape is rape” and I correctly pointed out that such a claim is bullshit. Sorry your attention span doesn’t extend to being able to read an article about another group of female students who claimed to have been raped, but I’ll spell it out for you: in that case, Emma Sulkowicz claimed that she was raped by a male student. She made this claim EIGHT MONTHS after the alleged incident, and despite many friendly and even suggestive communications with her
    supposed rapist after the night in question. There was zero evidence — forensic or otherwise — to support her claim. Nevertheless, he was branded a rapist by the school and the media, with people like you chiming in and assuming his guilt. And even though he was *factually* exonerated, he is STILL believed to have raped her by people who choose to privilege Sulkowicz claims over his, simply because she is female. The system — despite being motivated by good intentions — is so inherently biased against men that there is nothing he can ever do to clear his name.

    Double-standard part 2: another female student — “a former girlfriend” of the male student accused of raping Sulkowicz — “said she was emotionally abused during their
    long-term relationship, and later came to view their sexual relations as
    having been non-consensual”. So even long after the fact, even when a man’s actions were never seen *at the time* as being anything but consensual, he can now be declared a “rapist” by a woman, upon reflection and changing her perception. That shifts the burden of evidence so far away from equal that there is no way that a man can be able to prove his innocence in the court of public opinion. Hence: double-standard.

    And finally, double-standard part 3: if a man had been alone with a woman, and both began consensual physical contact, and the woman had groped the man’s penis, but 8 months later, he changed his mind and decided that her groping him had been “non-consensual” — do you think that he should be able to have charges pressed against her for sexual assault? If convicted, do you think that she should have to register as a sex-offender for the rest of her life? Do you think that it would be just for the court of public opinion to brand her a “rapist”? If you respond “no” to any of those situations (each of them the simple inversion of genders from the case above), then you are part of the double-standard.

  • KLTG

    I read the wikipedia article you cited. It has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the Brock Turner case. Remember, the one we were talking about before you derailed the conversation?

    I’m really not going to debate hypotheticals with you, or get drawn into your MRA pity party about unfounded rape accusations. You’re pointing out instances where rape cases have been thrown out, and suggesting that it means all rape cases are invalid? Get on topic or get out.

  • Voice

    The fact that he (or his dad) did not own up to the crime, but yet was let go with that sentence, is the main issue. He is out in the streets in 6 months..how do we know he will not rape again? Does he know that he is responsible for his actions? He did not know any remorse for doing it the first time.. he still claims that he was drunk and it was ‘sexual promiscuity’ – which I think is insane.

    Even if you believe that incarceration does no good (which I think is another story altogether – esp given the high level of incarceration of blacks and minorities in general means that we dont trust them, but we are ready to trust a white boy, even without him owning up to the crime – one that was committed with eye witnesses, and trust him that he wont do it again), with him out on the street in 6 months is like putting a predator on the street.. I would not want to be in the same zip code as that pond scum.

  • Yobbo

    Matt I actually didn’t say I thought it was not that bad, what I said is a drunken frat boy wouldn’t think it was that bad.

    I also didn’t state all frat boys think rape is ok. What I was trying to point out is that if someone was the type of person who didn’t think it was wrong to assault an unconscious girl, then a 3 month stint isn’t likely to make them think twice. While a longer sentence wouldn’t make them all think it may help 1 guy realize it has consequences.

    I also still think the fact his name is discoverable via google search doesn’t mean much when as I said he could just change his name. Yes he would still be on registry I understand that but in most cases a new name would mean most people wouldn’t make the link.

    I still stick by my assessment that he should have got 2 years minimum security, 18 month parole and out in 12 months for good behaviour

  • Angela

    To be fair, since you have included the defendant’s fathers letter, you should have also posted the victim’s letter.

  • D. Vidger

    I was raped while in college. The guy I was out on a date with took me back to his house to “get something he forgot,” locked me in a room, forced me on the bed and, despite me fighting like hell and kicking him in the crotch and being stone, cold sober, he had managed to pull off his pants w/ one hand on my throat. I didn’t think that was possible until I actually saw it. He then put both hands on my throat and was trying to kill me while raping me. I managed to call for a “time out” and convince him that I wasn’t going to tell anyone if he promised not to kill me. Then, miraculously, I was free and able to get home. My roommates took me to the campus clinic, the police were called, I went through the horror of the rape kit and police questioning which is when I learned that I would have to answer these questions again and again and again if I confronted my attacker. I didn’t ever want to see him again. I didn’t want to go to court and I didn’t want to relive what happened that night.

    The biggest surprise to me though was, and still is now, that I also didn’t want to ruin his life. He would lose his scholarship, go to jail, end up on a sex offender registry and never end up being a productive member of society. It all spelled out that I would never say who hurt me and I would try to heal on my own. It took twenty years before I was able to talk about what happened to me. I always worry of course whether or not I did the right thing. I pray he didn’t hurt anyone else. But…

    I’m saying all this because, Saunders, because you very eloquently said what I have been feeling ever since I heard about this case. I feel terribly for what happened to the woman who was violated. I still feel terrible about what happened to me. However, part of the reason I didn’t fight for justice is that I was worried about what that meant. Who would get justice? Based on what I chose to do or not do, I could have ended up ruining someone else’s life permanently. No matter how much I wanted to be angry at the person who attacked me, I just felt afraid of him and for him.

    I graduated from college and so did the kid who attacked me. Maybe some would say, I took the coward’s way, but I felt like I took a bullet for both of us and I prayed that he would understand that somehow and make something of his life. Maybe if the punishment for rape were more appropriate in this country, especially for first-time offenders, and offenders didn’t end up with their lives completely ruined, maybe I would have come forward. I do know that it was a deterrent for me.

    Whatever the case, I just wanted to say thank you, Saunders. You’re a smart kid with a loving wisdom who voiced a minority opinion. That took guts! Keep it up!!!

  • Fred Ventura

    So a Nazi SS guard leading women and children to the gas chamber has humanity too. In your opinion they should be forgiven and given another chance since they were only following orders.

  • rch427

    Thanks for the good laugh about “get on topic or get out”, and for the industrial strength irony to which you’re oblivious.

    I never claimed that the Emma Sulkowicz case was relevant to the Brock Turner case. I only referenced it because you made the utterly bullshit claim that “rape is rape is rape”. (Tautology is tautology is tautology, but that proves nothing.)

    IS “rape” the same as “rape”, which is the same as “rape”? In other words, are all soi-disant “rapes” precisely equal, as you claimed? NOT HARDLY. *That* was the point of my mentioning the Wiki on Emma Sulkowicz: because it provided a clear demonstration of a number of vastly *different* kinds of “rape”, some of which were suspect and some of which were factually false. But in your little binary fantasy world, anything that involves sexual contact (and perhaps even some things that don’t) and at some point one of the parties is unhappy about, becomes “rape”. If a man fingers a woman who is unconscious, it’s “rape” (and in most cases, it probably IS). But if a woman gropes a man who is unconscious, I have zero doubt that in the real world, you would not support her being prosecuted — in court or in the court of public opinion — in the same way that you would advocate a man being.

    And what’s worse isn’t just that such double-standards so easily ruin the lives of people who have been falsely accused (like all of the Duke Lacrosse Team), it’s that this false equivalency you’ve posited actually trivializes the experiences of rape victims who have been *brutalized*. What are you saying to the 10 year-old boy who has been sodomized by a man, or the 13 year-old girl who gets surrounded on the playground and gang raped? “Your experience is the same as that of a 24 year-old, sexually active woman who goes to a party, gets drunk, and then gets digitally penetrated”? Congrats; you’ve just made things so much better for them.

    Look: by saying “rape is rape is rape”, you were being intellectually dishonest. You were caught and you had the chance to say “it was just a figure of speech”, and that would’ve been all. But your prevarication just paints you into the corner. It’s NOT the same, any more than one teenage girl lightly slapping another is the same as an elderly woman being “grounded and pounded” by a big man. There *are* qualitative and quantitative differences between crimes. That’s just reality, and that was my point.

    Let me know if you need it broken down even further.

  • Mila

    Actually, rape is rape is rape. Fake rape has nothing to do with it, so it really was a case of ignoratio elenchi.

  • Beth Cope

    Michelle – Did you receive a response from the Stanford Daily or the other outlets you approached?

  • Cindy

    Mr. Hayes, your sickening defense of Turner — including minimizing his actions (“fingering,” not rape; he’s a young man who committed a crime, but you carefully avoid use of the word “criminal”) and discussing how he will suffer because of his choices — is part of why victims feel so marginalized.

    If you ever have a loved one who must endure this brutality, it would be interesting to see how rigorously you defend his or her attacker.

  • Concerned citizen

    WTF is wrong with you? Penalties were set for a reason you POS.

    Poor baby,
    “has been expelled from Stanford. He has been convicted of felony crimes.
    Turner’s face has been painted across social media and national
    headlines as the epitome of rape culture and campus sexual violence.
    With his felony conviction, Turner will effectively become a
    second-class citizen with restricted access to education, employment,
    housing, adoption, loans and credit, voting, professional licensing, not
    to mention the huge blow to his reputation online, which will haunt him
    for the rest of his life. He will experience significant psychological
    suffering and overwhelming isolation from the rest of society. His guilt
    and regret will surely follow him forever. The life that he imagined as
    a wide-eyed Stanford freshman during NSO is utterly ruined.”

    What about the victim?????????

  • L_Kay

    What if the crime had been perpetrated by an intoxicated 70 year old homeless man (let’s say with no prior criminal record to even things up)?