Graduating Students React to Stanford Rape

Outrage over Brock Turner's 6-month sentence continues
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 12, 2016 2:00 PM CDT
Students to Rage for Rape Survivor at Graduation
Activists from UltraViolet, a national women's advocacy organization, hold a rally before delivering more than 800,000 signatures to the California Commission on Judicial Performance calling for the removal of Judge Aaron Persky.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Stanford University graduating students and women's rights advocates used the school's commencement ceremony to again express their anger over the six-month jail sentence given to a former student for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, reports the AP. A handful of students demonstrated Sunday during "Wacky Walk," a rambunctious, slow-moving stroll by graduating students dressed in zany costumes that precedes the official graduation events. One person held a sign that declared "Stanford protects rapists." Another graduate's sign was a message to the victim: "You are a warrior." Organizers say they wanted to show solidarity to the woman sexually assaulted on campus last year by former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner.

"It's very important to amplify the voice of survivors," says Brianne Huntsman, a protest organizer. The survivor's emotional statement to the court about how the assault devastated her life was widely shared online, attracting national attention to the case. Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, whose rousing keynote speech called on Republicans to reconsider their endorsement of Donald Trump, closed his address urging sexual assaults be taken seriously. "If someone tells you they have been sexually assaulted, take it effing seriously and listen to them," said Burns, who is the father of four girls. Turner, 20, of Oakwood, Ohio, is scheduled to be released from Santa Clara County jail in September, after serving three months, provided he exhibits good behavior. (Click to see more on the Stanford rape case.)

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