Earlier this year, former Stanford University student Brock Turner was sentenced to a measly six months behind bars for raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, inciting a tidal wave of rage from the Internet. Although everyone close to Turner tried to assure America that he is a good, all-American, steak-eating boy via poorly written open letters, people remain outraged at the sentencing and continue to speak out against the puzzlingly short sentence. Stanford students used their graduation as a platform to protest the lenient sentence and criticize the school for allegedly not protecting the victim, who was raped on campus outside of a frat party.
According to BuzzFeed News, this kind of advocacy from Stanford students is unexpected. Michelle Dauber, a Stanford law professor and family friend of the survivor said, "We don’t get student protests at Stanford. Students at Stanford are very conservative—it is not a school known for activism. So for students to launch a campaign like this …. I read this as a sign of the total lack of confidence or trust in the administration. I would say trust is at an all-time low."
Violet Trachtenberg, a senior who also made signs in protest, told BuzzFeed that she worries for the future of her graduating class. "It’s scary to know the powerful places Stanford students will go, and it’s scary to know that there are people graduating on Sunday who don’t know about consent. There are Brock Turners walking across the stage."
She went on to add that her protest is an act of love for her school, not one of disrespect.
"People think protesting is ungrateful. I think it’s the opposite. It’s how we show we care. This is about holding the institution, which has given me so much, accountable for the violence it enacts and the violence it condones."
Students also put papers reading "1/3" atop their mortarboards, bringing awareness to the statistic was one in three female, transgender, or non-binary students will be assaulted in their time at Stanford.
At one point during the ceremony, a plane with a banner reading "protect survivors not rapists #perskymustgo" flew overhead, chartered by feminist activist organization UltraViolet, which is the most badass way to peacefully protest something ever. The hashtag is in reference to Judge Aaron Persky, who let Turner off easy with his miniature jail sentence. Yea, he is about as hated as Turner himself.
Recently, the Associated Press pointed out that Brock Turner will likely only serve three months of his six month sentence. As long as there are no unconscious women for Turner to rape in jail, he will most likely be released early citing "good behavior."