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UC, CSU, or CC?

As college applications are imminent, looking at one’s options is a critical step in obtaining the apical potential in education and making the right decision. There are many factors that tie into selecting an education path such as thinking about the benefits, programs, and interests the schools will provide. A problem that I have noticed recently in choosing colleges is that people would rather choose a prestigious university for its name and reputation than choosing a university that best suits them and their interests. I see this problem around me especially because now is the time of year when the seniors are obtaining their acceptance letters. There is a myth that community college is a bad pathway to choose or start out from but there has been much evidence and statistics to debunk this myth and that prove that students benefit from this choice.

CSU’s are definitely underrated and essentially overshadowed by the UC system. The UC system is not fundamentally overrated and it deserves to remain at the ranking it is currently at. UC’s are ranked highly which is shown in a report done by the United States News and World Report which ranked 6 UC campuses in the top 50 United States National Universities of 2017. I would not describe a college as overrated because that depends on what factors an individual is searching for. CSU’s specialize in advanced programs and degrees such as business, engineering, art, health and human services, sciences, and many others. There are twenty three of them across California which offers a diverse range of options to pick from and there are campuses for all types of people.

The rightful stigma around UC’s overshadow the CSU’s and create a wrongful stigma that community colleges are bad. What is wrong with going to a community college? This is presumably due to the fact that most people view college as a four year experience instead of a two year and see it as an easy way out. In reality, a four year college is not the only route that leads one to the desirable ending of a respectable and efficient career. A community college allows someone a better place to figure out what major they want to pursue and complete general courses before completing another two years as a transfer to a higher school of choice. Coming out of high school, too many people are still unsure about what career pathway they want to take and what major they want to pursue which is normal. People also change their minds midway while completing their major which essentially wastes a lot of time and money. Instead of spending valuable time and money in a college towards a major one is unsure of, they should take the more suitable alternative and explore major options at a community college.

Without a doubt there are downsides to community college as there is with any UC or CSU but those factors vary from person to person. The curriculum is definitely more limited as most community colleges are only two year and most classes needed to take in that time period are general. A four year university on the other hand would provide a student a more expanded curriculum and opportunities within those four years but that is why a transfer is efficient. The tuition for most UC’s average around $15,000 per year which is costly compared to the average community college tuition which is in between $1,000 and $2,000. Transferring is not only beneficial as it saves time and provides an advantage on making a decision on what path to take but it undoubtedly provides a financial advantage for many.

Like many others, my life has been influenced by the myth that a UC is the best option and I have had that option pushed on me ever since I began high school. This pressure has become more arduous over the years as my two older brothers have been both accepted into UC’s; UC Davis and UC Santa Cruz. I witnessed this pressure instilled onto my brother as he was in the process of applying for these specific universities after my oldest brother got accepted into a fairly prestigious school. With crucial exams and college applications approaching, I feel this pressure being placed onto me. Community college is definitely an option I am contemplating as I am still unsure about what major I want to pursue and this option would allow me to explore my options in a more efficient way. This pressure is expected by parents especially academic pressure is something that comes naturally due to parents wanting their kids to excel in their studies. College is an important beginning to your career and ultimately will point one to which direction their life will go. With so many options and systems around us, it is essential to select the one best suitable for us therefore we have to consider many factors into making the right choice whether it be a UC, CSU, or CC.

End Animal Testing

Watching YouTube videos showing the inhumane and cruel treatment of animals awakens me about how serious and cruel the topic of animal testing really is. There are many well known organizations that deal with the stopping animal cruelty in all forms, such as PETA which stands for ‘People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals.’ I believe that everybody should stand by the ethical treatment of animals and should be disgusted about the revelation of videos and stories about what happens to animals. When taking a stand against cruelty, one should not just think about dogs and cats but also incorporate all types of animal species.

Too many turn a blind eye about animal cruelty if it is not about household pets such as dogs and cats. If one wants to see how cruel this act is in a short clip, they should watch a video by PETA titled “Animal Testing in 60 Seconds Flat.” It is sad how this video has to be censored to have an age restriction because that alone just says how brutal it is. The video, as the title says, is only one minute long but there is still a lot that I can say about it. In the beginning of the video, it gives a warning that it won’t be easy to watch but that it cannot be ignored. This is valid, as everyone should know what happens in the processing of a lot of their products that have to go through cruel chemical, drug, food and cosmetic testing and experiments. Quick clips are stitched together to show brief seconds of what these animals go through- showing neurotic types of behavior and essentially showing fear.

In this industry and behind locked dirty cages are animals such as mice, rats, rabbits, primates, cats, dogs, and other types of animals as well. A numerous amount of people would shrug this issue off if it was just primates and rats that were being tested on. They are probably all too familiar with the daily routine they go through- testing and testing. Does this issue get your attention now that I mentioned household pets are going through this as well? Many people are pro-animal testing because animal testing has contributed to many life saving cures and treatments in the past, citing valid sources such as “The California Biomedical Research Association states that nearly every medical breakthrough in the last 100 years has resulted directly from research using animals.” Though it is true that animal testing has accounted for many treatments, there are still much better and humane alternatives to animal testing which is itself still flawed. These flaws in animal testing include drugs that pass animal tests are not necessarily safe. This is shown in the case of when an animal-tested and approved sleeping pill in the 1950’s was thought to be safe for pregnant women, in fact lead to several birth defects, heart attacks, and deaths. I wish that these animals could get out of the distress and suffering they are going through but unfortunately the only escape of this way of life for many is death.

It is not only how these animals are being injected or tested with chemicals but it is also how these animals are being handled that stands out to me. These animals are being slammed into their cages, displaying wounds and lacerations over their fragile bodies, and harsh images such as having their necks snapped and being put into a narrow plastic tube. It is harsh to watch but one should not turn their backs to reality simply because it makes them uncomfortable or it is too much to watch- that is essentially the purpose of these types of videos. They are meant to make people uncomfortable and want to make a difference. If one does not like what is happening in these videos depicting reality then they should make an effort to stop it and spread word.

Everyone makes a difference and every small action one takes makes a difference in stopping this cruelty and makes a difference in an animal’s life, even if it is only a little. A simple action that one can take is simply to buying only cruelty free products. If people take a stand against a brand because they are not cruelty free, they would definitely be pushed to become a cruelty free brand because business is business and lots of companies care more about money. If they lose profits, they would be forced to switch over. I have switched off some of my makeup products simply because they have not been cruelty free. To check if a product is cruelty free look at the packaging and search for a logo of a leaping bunny, and if shown- it means that no testing was used at any point throughout the process of the development of the product. I feel better when I use these products knowing that no animal went through suffering just for me to have longer eyelashes, mauve lips, pink cheeks and an opalescent glow on the high point of my cheeks. How can anyone look at this video and not be pushed to want to make a difference? It is insane to think how a one minute video can forever ultimately change the life of an animal and stop this cruelty. A little definitely goes a long way in the life of an animal, especially when that animal is going through agonizing pain and suffering.

End Elephant Cruelty

Elephants are meant to be in the wild and not in chains or cages for own our entertainment. We do not own elephants as well as we do not own any other animal in the wild. Many people do not realize what happens behind closed doors to these captured animals. We gawk in amazement to the capabilities and intelligence that these creatures have yet but we take advantage of that intelligence. I used to think that the biggest problems that had to do with elephants was the ivory situation which contributed to the population of elephants decreasing rapidly at an alarming rate but I did not know how large scale cruelty to elephants essentially was. It is disgusting what people subject these helpless animals to for the mere purpose of our entertainment. Do people really believe that elephants willingly want to do a handstand, balance on balls, hula hoop, be ridden on by hundreds of tourists or walk down wedding aisles? The answer to this is no.

So if elephants are not actually willing to do these things, then how are they trained to do them? Before doing research, I had the idea that they were trained in a humane way almost like how we train pets such as dogs. I was more wrong than I could have ever imagined. In simple terms, these elephants are trained by having fear instilled upon them. This is done with the use of a inhumane weapon called a bullhook, which is meant to stab and inflict pain upon the most sensitive parts of the elephant’s body in order to get them to associate disobedience to pain. I felt terrible for not being aware and knowing of the cruelty these elephants go through but that is because these weapons are essentially hidden from audiences for the most part. They are hidden probably for the reason that it looks the way it acts- inhumane. Many support use of this device saying that it is just a safe and humane ‘guiding’ tool. But if this is true, then why do most trainers attempt to hide this device from the public if it is not cruel? ‘Elephant crushing’ is as devastating and horrific as it sounds. This is a process in which elephants are savagely beat and tortured in order to get them to essentially become submissive to humans and to “break their spirit.” It is horrifying to learn about these experiences that these animals go through at the hands of humans and even more so to know that these animals will never forget these experiences. I mean, how could they ever forget these types of experiences? These animals like us, have feelings and feel things physically and emotionally and have permanent scars in both manners.

Circuses seemed like a fun and very entertaining type of show to watch because of the way they are advertised everywhere. I would see advertisements such as short commercials on my television displaying animals doing amazing tricks and performances alongside all kinds of entertainers such as acrobats and trapeze artists and I would be incredibly amazed at these types of shows. In these commercials, it shows clips of animals that seem to be happy and a loud roaring audience. Obviously in these commercials for circuses, the abuse that these elephants endure will not be shown and will essentially be disguised. Imagine if these commercials show what really happens behind closed doors, when these poor elephants are beat upon and broken. I do not think that many would want to continue supporting these types of businesses and shows. I wish that people knew more about the cruelty behind a simple trick such as an elephant standing on its two hind legs and I certainly wish that I had known about it earlier.

Many tourists are eager to ride an elephant for the thrill of a new experience and constantly look out for places where you can ride them. The idea of riding atop one of the largest extraordinary land animal may seem thrilling and like an opportunity that one cannot reject but there are serious risks associated with this. Elephant riding should be avoided for moral and safety reasons. Comparing horseback riding to elephant riding is completely different as the relationship between a horse and a horse rider is different to that of an elephant and an elephant rider. This is because elephants are not meant to be ridden. These animals are used for our own entertainment and it is incredibly sad that they are even used for weddings. I could not believe that these animals are literally put into weddings for a glamorous entrance and essentially decoration. Unfortunately, there is nothing glamorous of what these animals suffer behind closed doors. Those who ride atop of elephants, rent them for weddings, and watch them in circuses are usually unknowing of what cruelty they go through which is why spreading awareness is important. Would anyone really be okay with having an elephant at their wedding ceremony if them and their guests knew what they had been through? Probably not.

I care a lot about the treatment of animals which is why I advocate against the cruelty of these elephants. Elephants are one of my most favorite animals and to have been unknowing of what they have been through is upsetting because that means that many others are still unaware of this problem. I think these animals are remarkable in intelligence, appearance, and feelings. These extraordinary animals are not ours to control and they have a habitat and family they should be with. I will never be visiting a circus who uses animals in their shows and I will never ride an elephant if by any chance an opportunity comes. I believe that the best way to stop this cruelty is to spread awareness of it to everyone because I do not think that people would want to continue supporting organizations that do it. No one would want to give their money to an organization if they knew the horrors that were happening behind closed doors. No one would want to support these businesses is they went up close to these elephants and scrutinized every wound that these elephants have due to small occurrences of disobedience. I am looking forward to the day where elephants no longer suffer in the name of entertainment.

Pro-Planned Parenthood

The recent women’s march that followed the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump was filled with women and men marching together in solidarity to bring awareness to rights that are being taken away from them. One of these issues being fought against is the current issue of defunding Planned Parenthood. With Donald Trump now as the president of the United States and one of his top priorities being defunding Planned Parenthood because of his anti-abortion and pro-life stances, it has caused fear and outrage among those who rely on Planned Parenthood as a health clinic. People want to eliminate Planned Parenthood because of the abortion services they provide but continue ignore that the clinic offers many different kinds of services to men and women. Only 3% of procedures done at Planned Parenthood are abortions. It makes no sense to me that the president wants to defund health centers that put 80% of their focus on prevention. The only thing that is going to decrease abortions would be having easier access to these centers. Many young women depend on Planned Parenthood and it is a shame that they can be taken away from us in an instant, young women like me.

I believe that defunding Planned Parenthood will not eliminate abortions, but rather eliminate access to safe abortions. Safe abortion should be something women can easily access legally in their local clinics. It is a scary statistic that 68,000 women die of unsafe abortion each year. This number will only increase when these health clinics are taken away from those that rely on them. I understand the desperation that these women might face when they are young and unprepared to have a child, leading them to make a dangerous and desperate decision. Imagine being a college student with student loans and barely being able to provide for yourself and learning that you are pregnant and have no safe way out of it. Many people illogically respond to these situations with the suggestion of abstinence or contraception. Abstinence should not be the only contraception method and it shocks me to learn that it may be one of the very few birth control methods left. Suggesting birth control contraception to these situations as a solution is contradicting if one also supports defunding Planned Parenthood, as they provide for these contraceptive methods.

 I know many people who have visited these clinics at least once in their lives for many different reasons and services. One of the main reasons why these people decide to go to Planned Parenthood is because they provide services from little to no cost, as compared to paying to see a family doctor for contraception and exams. I myself depend on Planned Parenthood to get access to their low cost services which is why I feel threatened knowing that these services can be taken away from me because of the moral beliefs of men who want to make decisions about women’s bodies. These clinics have a chance of being taken away from me also because of the ignorant thinking that defunding Planned Parenthood will magically end abortions once and for all. Another main reason these people decided to go there was for confidentiality and privacy reasons. There are many different reasons for why women choose to visit these clinics, which is probably why a majority of these marchers are marching for these healthcare services. People all around us rely on these clinics and it would be a disaster to take them away from us.

I understand that people have the right to have their own stances on abortion, whether it is pro-life or pro-choice. I am not attempting to alter their stances, all I want is for people to open their eyes and understand that defunding Planned Parenthood is going to do the exact opposite of what they hope for. To make a choice for what one does with their body and limit their options is not the way to go. Just because you do not want an abortion does not mean other people do not want one. To defund an organization this big because they provide services that one does not morally agree with is not right because it takes away the other services as well as a whole. I want to continue having a safe place to go to where I can receive low cost health care with respect and gentle guidance and Planned Parenthood provides this for millions of men and women worldwide, and young women like me. I can not respect a president who does not respect my rights. The march is over but I believe that the protest against these new policies being implemented are not, and they are going to be fought for.

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Breaking the Silence of Sex Slaves

Today is October 24th and today in AP Lang we were shown a twenty minute TED talk by Lisa Kristine on how big of a problem slavery still is in today’s modern world. Of course I knew that slavery has not completely disappeared, because even though slavery is now illegal in every part of the world, that does not stop disgusting people from using others as personal property. I wanted to explore and research more about modern slavery because that TED talk really dug into me. While re-watching the TED talk by Lisa Kristine, I saw that there was a suggestion to watch another TED talk titled “The fight against sex slavery” by the speaker Sunitha Krishnan. I became interested to dig more in depth into modern slavery and decided to watch it.

This talk began with a short introduction that established what her main topic was throughout the speech and the intent of her speech- modern day slavery and what actions to take upon it. She begins to show a slideshow of three children that go by the names of Pranitha, Shaheen, and Anjali. She tells the tragic story of each child, stories so horrid and unimaginable that a child could go through this and that it is a harsh reality for these children. The ages of these three children were not given, but I assume they are around the age of five by their looks and features. Young four year old Pranitha was sold by her mother who was close to death to a broker, a person who buys and sells and orchestrates transactions.  This child was then faced with many sexual abuse and rape from already three men. The next story was that of Shaheens. Shaheen has an unknown background as she was found on a railway track, showing obvious signs of traumatic brutal rape. When I say traumatic- it really is traumatic. This young child was found with her intestine literally outside of her body, requiring 32 stitches to put it back inside of her. It is so terribly sad that no one knew who Shaheen was or what her background was, and that the only knowledge of her life is that she had been brutally taken advantage of by hundreds of men. The last young girl presented in this slideshow is Anjali. Anjali had been a victim of child pornography after her own father sold her into this disgusting industry. It is so saddening that these three young children are merely a very small portion of the number of people victims to this harsh industry- consisting of  20.9 million adults and children worldwide.

The speaker had a brutal background herself on the topic of rape, and that is definitely a huge factor on why she feels the need to spread the message and the stories of these young children. She had been a victim of a gang rape by eight men when she was merely the age of fifteen. It is astonishing how young some of the victims of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation are. I think that she fits well as the person to speak upon this issue as she has essentially a sort of history dealing with this. Relating to what she is speaking about in some kind of way really helps her deliver the message with stronger punctuality and demand for a change in this issue. She goes on to say that she felt victimized for being the victim, and that is essentially a feeling very common in those who deal with these type of situations. Victim blaming needs to be stopped as it creates a false stigma that some situations occur to certain people because they put themselves into a situation and allowed themselves to be vulnerable. Gruesome images were presented during the slideshows depicting force, torture, intimidation, and brutal physical injuries and marks made on the body- all negative effects of sex slavery and sexual exploitation. The purpose of this was probably to not attempt to sugarcoat this harsh reality that many children and adults face worldwide. The sad thing about this is that the same men who tortured and treated these women like this are the men that were living around them- men in their town, men in their family, men all around them.

This speaker is very courageous and I admire how she recounts her stories, her successes, and her rescues of these women. She had saved many women from this industry and all 3,200 of them each have a story about their experiences. Her main goal after saving these women was to give them a life after the traumatic experiences they had endured. She wants to restore lives that were taken away from those people. The speech was organized logically and I believe it was easy to follow. It made sense to begin with stories of young children who show the reality of sex slavery, and to then speak upon her own issues, then follow up with how she rescues these young girls and women, and lastly conclude with how we as a society could and should address and help fix the issue. The speaker is not just educating the audience upon these issues, but also attempting to persuade others to take action upon them. She directs the following questions and statements: “Can you break your culture of silence? Can you speak to at least two persons about this story? Tell them this story. Convince them to tell the story to another two persons” to the audience to get them to spread the issue to help others become more aware of it. The message that the speaker wanted to spread was that we should accept these victims and survivors into our life and communities and not just talk about the issue of sex slavery but not do anything about it. She wants to include and involve these victims and survivors into our society and that we as a society need to learn to accept them. She is essentially the voice of these survivors and victims as they obviously do not have a strong voice that can be heard. She wants to break the silence and influence others to do so as well, as it is one of the only ways to fix this cause. They are trapped in this industry by selfish and disgusting people and are surrounded and confined into an environment no child, no adult, any person any age, should be put into.

No One Is Worth Nothing

People have many different sources of motivation that can vary between past life experience and the people surrounding them. I stumbled across a video on YouTube that has a large amount of views, reaching up to 63 million views and many likes as well. This video had a catchy title titled “Look at yourself after watching this” which essentially caught my attention right from the beginning. This video is just a bit over 4 minutes long and I decided to watch it and actually “look at myself “ after watching this video I knew nothing about and see how it impacted me.

This short video begins with showing a man playing soccer, only something is different… this man has no arms and no legs, only a head and a torso and a small extra limb. This introduction immediately makes me want to continue to watch and know what his story actually is. He is introduced as Nick Vujicic while a quick montage of videos play, depicting his life and travels. Upon my own research, I found out that he was born with a disease called Phocomelia, and as a result he was born without some fully formed limbs. The reason I researched it myself, was because the video does not state or address the reason he is missing his arms and legs, as the main focus is upon how his life changed as a result from his condition rather than how he started that way. He uses humor effectively in his speech and he refers to a small foot-like extra limb he has where his leg is supposed to be as his “little chicken drumstick” followed with laughter from the audience. The audience is a group of what looks like young high school students, adults, and generally people of all sorts of ages and backgrounds. He goes on to recall times in which people are shocked to see him and essentially stare, and he forgets why they stare sometimes. This shows that he still feels normal inside and does not realize why he attracts so much attention until he ultimately realizes that his appearance is obviously shocking to some. He states that when he was younger, he believed that his condition would drastically alter his life in ways he did not want. He believed that he would not amount to anything, he would not live the life he wanted for himself, he would not have a wife, a proper family, and a purpose in life. What made me feel truly pitiful towards this man was when he said he used to think that he would never be able to hold his wife’s hand. Although I naturally feel pity towards him, I know that he does not really need pity towards him, as he is happy. His happiness is showed and expressed at various times during this short video, by showing a few clips of him having fun and doing fun activities such as diving off a diving board into a pool, and sliding down a waterslide with a gleaming smile expressed on his face. He addresses the question he ultimately gets asked a lot, “why do you smile so much?” Of course this is not a question meant to be rude or anything, but rather an actual curious question that naturally people wonder. Why is he so happy? How is he so happy? He says that the answer is long but also very simple at the same time- patience. His key to being so happy and positive all the time is patience, and I believe that that rightly so is a helpful key to learning to stay positive when there are obstacles in your way. He may not be able to hold her hand, but he knows that he can hold her heart instead.

Nick Vujicic’s main point throughout this video is that no one is worth nothing, and to think that one is worth nothing is a lie. Although wishing that he had arms and legs of course crosses through his mind at times, there is really no point in wishing. It is hard to say and to essentially accept in the end but it is true. He is correct in his point, there is no point in wishing as though wishing is not going to change anything but merely make him more upset and angry that nothing is changing. This condition changed his life and essentially gave him a new perspective towards life and gave him more strength toward obstacles that are in his way. His speech shows a variety of strong motivational messages that has a great impact on the audience and to those who can be going through hardships in life as well. This can actually be shown on their face as when the camera pans around the audience, their faces are stunned and amazed by his story and his words in general. He overcame obstacles in life that not many people have to go through, and he uses himself as an example to prove the points that anything is possible, to be thankful for what you have, and to subtly show the message “if I can do it, then you can too.”

Learned vs. Forced Religion

Are kids born into or forced into religion? It sounds reasonably odd to describe a two year old as a democrat or communist. But what is the difference between stating that and describing the religion of the two year old? Some might argue that in this particular case, the two year olds do not understand politics and cannot yet grasp the concept of political parties. But if this is the case, then how do people expect the two year olds to grasp onto the perplexing concept of the origins of life, religion and the meaning behind it? I have struggled to come to terms with how I felt about religion as having it essentially forced upon me as a child had definitely altered my perspective upon it. An article called “Don’t Force Your Religious Opinions on Your Children” written by the well-known controversial atheist Richard Dawkins in which he covers how doing so affects others just as it did me.

I believe that young children are merely too young and too naive to make their own judgement. We figure out what we truly believe as we grow older and develop our own opinions, ideas and judgement. Kids are not born Muslim. Kids are not born Catholic. Kids are not born Christian. Kids are not born with a religion already ingrained into their mind to readily fulfill throughout their life. I am definitely not forcing MY ideas down anyone’s throat. I know that there is a fine line between learned and forced religion, and I do not want to be one who essentially comes off as forceful while spreading my beliefs. That would be hypocritical in this case. Two year olds would not understand why they needed to fast or avoid certain foods. I am not calling these religious practices ridiculous. I just believe that most children do not understand where these practices stem from. Of course being forced into a religion does not always turn into something negative, some grow with the religion and follow it as an adult. No one bats an eye when one says that forcing a child to participate in sports or an activity against their will is wrong (which it is), but when one mentions forcing religion upon a child is wrong, controversy comes. Of course religion is a controversial topic, and it will continue to be.

I was never introduced to “the other side” meaning to other beliefs by my family. This is not because my parents are bad parents as they are lovely, but rather because they do not understand what better ways to approach religion and how to positively include it in their kids’ lives. I remember being in 7th grade and being taught about evolution in our science class. I was always taught to believe in the Catholic faith and believe that life originated from a higher power. Though I was taught to believe these type of things, in the back of my mind I had always felt a sense of curiosity and doubt. I wish I had been given the opportunity to make a decision and judgement for myself as a younger child. At age 7 when I was baptized, I was not entirely sure why I was doing it. I guess it was merely just to make my parents proud of me. As I stated earlier, people tend to figure out what they truly believe in as the grow older. For me, I realized I did not share the same beliefs as my parents and was an atheist, before I had even known what that  was.

Culture and Religion are not analogous and do not correspond with each other. Culture is essentially the “shared values of customs” while religion is a “collection of beliefs.” It is only understandable that parents would want their children to share, inherit, and follow the same beliefs as them. A proper approach to teaching about religion should be to show the beauty of the practice itself and let them learn for themselves as they begin to navigate the world for themselves. I am not saying to avoid religion completely. I believe that teaching kids “you are catholic” rather than merely stating and teaching them that “Catholicism exists” (or any other religion) gives the children no opportunity to think for themselves as no options are provided to them and is not the correct way to influence religion onto others.

 

Sexual Assault Should Not Be Part of the “College Experience”

Sexual assault has always been a prevalent issue on college campuses, and has recently been a continuous topic in the past news headlines. Punishment and/or sentencing is usually very lenient towards the assailants as these colleges in the U.S typically attempt to conceal these sexual assault reports from the public and downplay the severity of the situation, and the punishments for these crimes should be heavier.

The reasoning behind a college’s attempt to conceal sexual assault is to essentially avoid lawsuits and to hide it from the public. A study by the American Association of University Women shows us that in 2014, 91% of colleges reported a total of zero rapes on their campuses, showing us how improper these cases are usually handled, though colleges say they handle these cases “very seriously.” Though college sexual assault has always been an issue, a recent case that has taken place in 2015 has brought the issue of both lenient sentencing and college sexual assault by light.

This case is known as the “People v. Turner” case, in which Brock Turner was convicted of ‘three felony counts of sexual assault’ after assaulting an unconscious woman in January 2015. Brock Turner was a freshman attending Stanford University and was part of the Stanford swimming team. The reason why this case gained so much attention in the media was due to the very lenient sentencing given to the alleged rapist. On June 2nd 2016, he was given the very lenient sentence of only 6 months in jail and a following 3 years on probation. Brock’s actions could have had him sentenced to jail for a maximum of 10 years, and the prosecutors were fighting for a sentencing of 6 years. Why such a light sentence? Probably because Brock Turner was a white all-american swimmer in a prestigious school and essentially had “a lot of potential” as an athlete. If 6 months was not enough for three serious felony charges, his jail time was abridged by half to merely 3 months. Brock was released from jail recently on September 2nd, for showing good behavior during his time in jail, as if good behavior excuses being a rapist.

Following Brock’s early release from already such a short sentence, there was an uproar in the media and many protesters, and for good reason. What interested me the most was about how hypocritical his parent’s statements were. They expressed their concern for their son and essentially fear the safety of their son due to these protesters. They fear for the safety of their son probably much like how the girl feared hers the day of her assault, and waking up the next morning unaware of what had happened. And much like how parents around the world fear for their daughter’s safety due to criminals just like himself.

Brock’s Father, Dan Turner also attempted to justify his son’s actions in a letter he wrote to Judge Aaron Persky, stating “His life will never be the life that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.” A rapist’s actions should not be downplayed merely by how long the encounter lasted and it does not excuse the act itself. Dan Turner begins his letter to the judge by talking about how “devastated” his son is for his assault on that woman and how remorseful his son is. Well if his son is so remorseful, then why does his son continue to victim blame the woman he raped? Brock blames his aggressive behavior that night on the alcohol they had both consumed and even wants to “establish a program for students to speak out about college campus drinking” as if alcohol was the sole factor in mercilessly sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. Lastly, his father goes on to talk about his character stating that he was a great student, a baseball player, a basketball player and a swimmer-I guess he forgot to mention rapist. I could analyze every sentence of his father’s statements and Brock’s statements himself and find something wrong and faulty in each of them.

Sadly cases like this are not uncommon in college communities and this case is just one of many that has attracted attention from the media. Fortunately, people are becoming more and more aware about sexual assault in campuses through the media with educational movies such as The Hunting Ground depicting these problems. Sympathizing with the attackers and rapists and attempting to justify their actions are wrong because they are not the victim. This only pushes victims into not wanting to report their assault to the police. People should not feel afraid to go to college- and rape/sexual assault statistics should not be so high at one in five. Stopping sexual assault begins with educating people on what sexual violence is as it is such a prevalent problem in college. Even the most prestigious universities deal with these crimes and attempt to conceal it, which should be stopped.

 

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