On Thursday, June 2, 2016, Stanford student Brock Allen was sentenced to six months in county jail and three years probation for rape. One night in January 2016, an innocent woman was given a life sentence: the sentence of being a rape victim.
Here are the facts: Allen was seen having sex with a woman behind a dumpster and was arrested on Jan. 18. The woman was unconscious. She had a blood-alcohol content three times the legal limit. Allen had a BAC twice the legal limit.
In a heartbreaking statement that the victim provided in court, she said, “I don’t want my body anymore. I was terrified of it; I didn’t know what had been in it, if it had been contaminated, who had touched it. I wanted to take off my body like a jacket and leave it at the hospital with everything else.”
This is exactly why rape should be taken so seriously. Rape is robbery, assault and arson all at the same time. Rape is robbery because the person that you were before is stolen from you, and you may never get it back. Rape is assault because it’s a physical violation of your body. Rape is arson because your life goes up in flames after the attack.
What sickens me the most is that Brock Allen is playing victim in this situation. Allen is not the victim, and he never will be. He only feels remorse because his swimming career was affected, and now he might not get to fulfill his goals. I know that he doesn’t regret stealing the life from this woman, he just regrets getting caught.
Race and socio-economic status may have played a part in this verdict. If Allen didn’t go to Stanford or wasn’t white, then I guarantee he would’ve had a harsher sentence. The judge said that he was hesitant to give Allen a long sentence because, “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him.” Our justice system is cruel and tends to play favorites. Allen just happened to be on the right side.
Allen’s father wrote a letter in response to the verdict, stating, “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 twenty minutes of action out of the 20 plus years of his life.”
To Allen’s father, I say this: Do not expect me to have an ounce of empathy for your son. Do not expect me to cry for him, a man who knew full well what he was doing. It must be terrible to have a child in the national spotlight and to see them be sentenced to jail, but part of being a parent is teaching your child that he or she must be held accountable for his or her actions.
As women, and as people in general, our bodies are sacred. We have to live in our skin every single day. You can’t remove yourself from your own body; it will always be part of you. To have to live with yourself knowing that you were violated takes a physical and mental toll.
Yes, it is sad that Allen had such an amazing bright future that now seems less bright. But you know what else is sad? The emotional scarring that happened to this woman.
As a nation we need major reform when it comes to the culture on college campuses.
I know from personal experience that the drinking culture on our campuses can be very dangerous.
There is also a rape culture that rears its ugly head at parties and social events that needs to be addressed.
Overall, this story is very disheartening. Two lives were forever altered in such a profoundly negative way.
But one didn’t have a choice.
Jillian James is the Opinions Editor of the Central Florida Future. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org