Why you need to join the 20 Minutes of Action Protest at the UMC today

How many more sexual assault alerts before we take a stand?

A former Stanford swimmer sexually assaulted an unconscious woman and was sentenced to six months in jail with probation.

Oh, wait, I got that wrong. Let’s start over.

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A rapist, Brock Turner, sexually assaulted an unconscious woman and served only three months out of what should have been a fourteen year sentence. In January of 2015, Brock Turner’s decision to rape a female at a fraternity party altered her life, among others, forever.

Every 109 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. Only 6 out of every 1,000 perpetrators will end up in prison. Out of 1,000 rapes, 344 are reported to the police, and of these, only 6 rapists will be incarcerated. The case of Brock Turner draws the question, how long are these sentences? Is six months, or three months due to the rapists playing nice, punishment enough?

And why don’t victims report? They fear retaliation, believed the police would be of no help, thought it was merely a personal matter and numerous other reasons.

The fact that we live in times where we have no faith in our authorities to provide justice is terrifying, and, quite honestly, if we look at the case of Brock Turner, valid.

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On CU’s campus, 13,009 students responded to a 2015 sexual misconduct survey. 15% reported experiencing sexual assault, ranging from unwanted sexual touching to penetration.

Every month or two, I receive an alert on my phone. It goes something along the lines of:

“Friday 07/04/16. Female undergraduate student reported to CUPD that a man, described as _____ height with _____ color hair and of a _____ build wearing a _____ jacket and _____ ball cap, assaulted her by ____ Street and _____ Street around 9 PM Thursday evening.”

Sexual assault is all too common, and it is unacceptable. Whatever you identify as, no matter your sexuality, your ethnicity, your height, your dress, your voice, your level of intoxication, it is never your fault if you are sexually assaulted.

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The victim of Brock Turner’s sexual assault spoke out in the form of a letter while remaining anonymous, and I have the utmost respect for her bravery, despite the unimaginable terrors she has experienced. I hope that no human would ever have to undergo something as grueling as sexual assault and all that follows. And yet, this hope is not going to do much at all if I don’t take a stand for what is occurring every day in our world.

If you have any hope, no matter how big or small, that one day we won’t have to live in fear of what’s behind every corner at night, come to the UMC this Friday at 11:40am and join in the 20 Minutes of Action protest. Let’s sit together, for those who have yet to speak out, for those who were silenced, for each and every victim.

Let’s sit together for a world where we can feel safe again. Where we don’t have to worry about our friends walking back alone from a party on The Hill, even though she lives just a block away. Where we don’t have to Uber to the party at 10pm because we saw some sketchy guys outside of the pre-game. Where we don’t have to paint our nails with a special polish to check for roofies, and we can trust in our fellow party-goers to have our backs. Where having a good time doesn’t end up to be the worst night of your life.

Brock Turner, you deserved a longer sentence. Judge Persky leaving his position exemplifies the cowardice within you both. Right now, you’re probably eating those steaks that mean so much to you with your dad, who had your back this entire time, and the victims of sexual assault continue to live in fear.

Let’s face the facts. Sexual assault is all too common, and rapists like Brock Turner need to be held accountable for their actions. “20 minutes of action” led to too many lives altered. This Friday, let’s take a step in the right direction, and show Brock Turner and all perpetrators that our 20 minutes of silence will make us stronger.

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University of Colorado Boulder