Do not tell me white privilege doesn’t exist when young white men convicted of rape are given lighter sentences than those who have committed the same crime but with a different skin tone.
Three cases have risen to the media’s attention in recent months. These cases show a severe racial bias in our society and justice system. What do these three cases have in common? They are all young white men and they are all rapists who received unbelievably easy sentences; their names and ages are Brock Turner 20, Kraigan Grooms 19 and David Becker 18.
Turner, the Stanford Rapist, sexually assaulted an incoherent woman behind a dumpster. He was sentenced to six months in jail, three years’ probation and was released after serving three months.
Grooms live streamed himself raping a 2-year-old girl. He received no jail time and will only receive five years supervised release. He will however have to register as a sex offender.
Becker, sexually assaulted two young women at a party and pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to two-year probation and will not serve any jail time or register as a sex offender.
The issues go beyond Turner, Grooms and Becker. Rape culture is rampant within our country and our justice system is giving ‘get out of jail free cards’ to rapists if their skin color fits the requirement. There are two big issues here that must be addressed: first rape is a serious crime and our justice system must treat it as such and secondly racial bias and discrimination has no place in our justice system.
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization provides statistics about the rape culture in the U.S. White individuals make up 57 percent of sexual violence offenders, leaving only 43 percent to be divided between black, unknown, other and mixed races. White individuals are statistically committing these acts more often, yet Turner, Grooms, and Becker were all given light sentences to not rob them of their prime by sentencing them to prison time.
In March 2012, RAINN released a statement that “97 of every 100 rapists receive no punishment.” RAINN also reports that only 1 out of every 4 reported rapes will lead to arrest, and only 1 out of 4 arrests will lead to felony conviction and incarceration.
RAINN has also stated that released individuals are likely to be rearrested for crimes again with 21 percent within the first six months and up to 60 percent within five years. This gives support to concerns that rapists Turner, Grooms, and Becker are walking free after committing violent crimes and are likely to commit more violent crimes, possibly more rapes.
These statistics begin to show the racial bias present in our justice system. The New York Daily News published an article written by Shaun King which compares the outcomes of white rapist Turner’s sentencing to black rapist Corey Batey’s sentencing.
Batey was an outstanding football player at Vanderbilt and was found guilty of three felony charges including “aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery.” To recap Batey is an outstanding athlete who violently raped an unconscious woman. Sound familiar?
Turner was an outstanding Stanford Swimmer who violently raped an unconscious woman. There was immense evidence in both cases which proved both Batey and Turner guilty, both men in the same life position, outstanding college athletes. Therefore, logic would assume they would receive the same sentencing.
That was not the case due to a key factor -- Turner is white and Batey is black. Upon being found guilty, Batey was put into custody and must serve a mandatory minimum of 15 to 25 years in prison. Tough sentences on a rape case should be happening consistently, yet when Turner was found guilty of multiple felony charges -- the same as Batey -- his sentencing was six months in jail with a promise of early release for good behavior, which ultimately led to his release at just three months.
The same crime, immense evidence, both admitted to having been drinking, both found guilty of multiple felony charges, BUT different skin tones and different sentencings.
We cannot afford to continue allowing these rape statistics to occur. We cannot be the nation where every two minutes an American is sexually assaulted.
The current system is teaching white boys that their skin color will keep them safe even in cases of violent crimes like rape. If this continues, youth will grow up thinking that white skin gets you off basically free and black skin will get you sent to heavy prison time.
Society has become about race and not about the crime. Three white rapists are out in society while Batey, the black rapist, is in prison. Turner, Grooms, and Becker deserve to be there and had they been black rather than white, they likely would be.
This corrupt justice system is not keeping our society safe, it is building racial divides while neglecting rightful sentencings due to racial discrimination and racial bias.