A Republican congressman from Texas was one of the first GOPers to decry the absurd sentencing doled out to ex-Stanford swimmer Brock Turner by judge Aaron Persky, who believed six months in jail was sufficient to atone for raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster.
Rep. Ted Poe took to the House floor to condemn Persky’s judgment: “The woman, just 22 years of age at the time, was being raped and the rapist was caught in the act...The judge said a prison sentence would have a ‘severe impact’ on [Turner]. Well, isn’t that the point? Mr. Speaker, the punishment for rape should be longer than a semester in college.”
He then called for not only an appeal on the case, but the judge’s removal from the bench, stating that, “The judge should be removed. The rapist should do more time for the dastardly deed that he did that night.”
Poe also touched on the rape culture that led to both the horrific act and the lax sentencing. He specified that “The entitlement mentality of being a good college athlete and self-righteousness do not trump justice… Rape is never the fault of the victim. And that’s just the way it is.”
Poe’s language heavily contrasts what other conservative lawmakers have said in the past concerning rape, particularly the infamous quote from Missouri Rep. Todd Akin who claimed that, “If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Vice President Joe Biden also recently commented on the Stanford case via an open letter to the victim, whom he called “a warrior—with a solid steel spine.”
Political leaders speaking out about the injustice found in this case is an imperative way of continuing to discuss the implications of what occurred, and calling for Persky’s dismissal as a judge is even more powerful.
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