A petition has been instigated by a Stanford Law professor to remove a judge who gave a six-month sentence to a young man who sexually assaulted an unconscious woman.
The professor, Michele Landis Dauber, has publically slated the sentencing saying the judge, Santa Clara County superior court Judge Aaron Persky, has effectively told women "you're on your own".
Former Stanford swimmer Brock Allen Turner, aged 20, was given a six-month sentence in county jail and three years’ probation after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 23-year-old unconscious woman on campus.
The sentencing, and comments from Mr Turner’s father who is quoted as saying his son was paying a “steep price” for “20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life” has led to outrage regarding the case.
Professor Dauber, who is a family friend of the victim, is quoted in The Guardian as saying the judge “bent over backwards in order to make an exception…”
“The message to women and students is ‘you’re on your own,’ and the message to potential perpetrators is ‘I’ve got your back.’”
In a powerful 12-page victim impact statement the victim said of Mr Turner “You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice.”
The victim said: "Alcohol is not an excuse. Is it a factor? Yes. But alcohol was not the one who stripped me, fingered me, had my head dragging against the ground, with me almost fully naked."
In sentencing the young man, who was found by two graduate students lying on top of the unconscious victim behind a dumpster, outside a fraternity party, the judge said the defendant should be treated differently than a sober defendant due to his intoxication.
The judge also said “there is less moral culpability attached to the defendant who is…intoxicated.”
So far the petition to recall the judge from office for his dealing of the case has gathered more than 500,000 signatures.
Speaking to The Guardian on Monday, the victim said she would remain anonymous to protect her identity.
“I remain anonymous, yes to protect my identity. But it is also as a statement, that all of these people are fighting for someone they don’t know. That’s the beauty of it. I don’t need labels, categories, to prove I am worthy of respect, to prove that I should be listened to. I am coming out to you as simply a woman wanting to be heard. Yes there is plenty more I’d like to tell you about me. For now, I am everywoman.”