Stanford Students Stand By Sexual Assault Victim During Graduation: 'Take It Effing Seriously'
Students came out in support of Brock Turner's victim during the commencement ceremony.
Protesters stood outside Stanford’s graduation ceremony to voice their anger over the six-month sentence given to Brock Turner, the ex-student who sexually assaulted an unconscious woman behind a dumpster.
A petition created after the sentence has garnered thousands of signatures in an attempt to have trial Judge Aaron Persky, who presided over the case, removed from the bench.
At the Stanford ceremony on Sunday, activists marched in protest while a banner flew above the crowds reading, "Protect survivors. Not Rapists. PerskyMustGo."
Keynote speaker and documentary filmmaker Ken Burns addressed the sexual assault incident during his commencement speech.
"Look, I am the father of four daughters. If someone tells you they've been sexually assaulted, take it effing seriously, and listen to them," he said.
Burns also mentioned the emotional testimony the victim penned to the judge recalling the incidents of the assault.
"Maybe someday we will make the survivor's eloquent statement as important as Dr. King's letter from a Birmingham jail," he said.
Multiple students joined the march after they received their diplomas, including graduating senior Jonathan Fisk.
“We also want to draw light to non-consent culture, not just rape culture, but non-consent culture, and how that intersects with different privileges such as race, class, and ability especially, which we've seen in this case," he said.
The sexual assault on Stanford’s campus has sparked a national debate and opened a dialogue about how sexual assault cases on college campuses are handled in the courts.
Turner will reportedly only serve three months in jail and is set to be released September 2. He will be registered as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
USA Swimming has placed a life-long ban on Turner, prohibiting him in participating in any sanctioned events, including those that would qualify him for the U.S. Olympic team.
Vice President Joe Biden has also weighed in with his own letter in response to the victim’s testimony.
"I am in awe of your courage for speaking out," he told her, "for so clearly naming the wrongs that were done to you and so passionately asserting your equal claim to human dignity.”
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