From Baylor to Stanford, sexual assault on college campuses has been a topic of great debate in recent weeks.
It’s about time. Sexual assault, sadly, has been a major problem on college campuses for decades, especially among student-athletes.
“There is a disturbing number of cases like this that have happened over the course of I don’t know how many years . . . that have plagued athletics and sexual-assault on campus,” Tiki Barber said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “The one that happened out in Stanford that really came to light because of the sentence that this kid received is maybe the most startling, in my mind.”
Brock Turner, a 20-year-old freshman swimmer at Stanford, sexually assaulted an unconscious woman behind a dumpster in March. Turner, who was caught during the incident and tried to flee, faced up to 14 years in prison. He received a six-month sentence and three years of probation.
“This is a caught-in-the-act thing,” Barber said. “This isn’t (his word versus her word). This was you on top of an incoherent, unconscious woman, having sex with her and you get caught. Cut and dry, open and shut. Here’s the disturbing part of it: He gets six months. What kind of person does (what he did)? What kind of sick person does that? He has to register as a sex offender, which I couldn’t be more pleased about. When you get Googled, this is what’s going to come up for you, Brock.”
Turner’s father, however, penned a defense for his son, writing, “(Brock’s) life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. This is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action.”
Barber couldn’t believe it.
“Who does he think he’s talking to?” Barber asked. “Who does he think is going to sympathize? Just because he’s an upstanding kid for 20 years and has a break in conscience and decides to rape a female on campus without her consent, he should be forgiven? He should be given the opportunity to go speak on campuses and talk about the dangers of alcohol? Are you kidding? I don’t want to hear from him talking on campuses (about) ‘I made a bad mistake.’ No, you made a life-changing mistake – obviously for yourself but (also) for the victim here.”
Barber wanted to come on air and discuss the inherent racism in Turner’s sentence. If Turner were black, he likely would have gotten 10 to 20 years in jail – or more. Focusing on Turner’s race, however, is only part of this story.
“The majority of these sexual-assault cases that I’ve looked at (that occur on college campuses), from 1974 all the way up to the 2000s, a lot of nothing happens,” Barber said. “My question is why? Why does a lot of nothing happen when a athlete – who maybe feels entitled, who maybe feels like she wants it, (who thinks) ‘She really likes me’ – why is this not penalized? I know that there are investigations that happen when things like this occur. It’s called Title IX. But I got to find an answer at some point as to why these kids aren’t fully prosecuted. I know you’re young, but you have forever changed the life of a female – or male. But mostly female. You have forever changed this person’s life. She won’t sleep the same ever. She won’t be in relationships correctly maybe ever, at least not without significant therapy.
“The college athletic system that we love that allows these things to happen – Baylor is just the most recent example,” Barber continued. “We jump on Baylor because of the Sam Ukwuachu situation that happened in 2015, the Shawn Oakman (situation), which just happened earlier this year – all of these things should be (punished) to the highest penalty of the law. I understand that they’re young, but this changes a woman’s life forever. As I look at this list, a lot of these kids – hell, some of them went on to play professional sports. Some of them aren’t even sexually registered as offenders. Some of them just bought their way out of it. That’s not right. College is a place for athletes to grow as men and women, and more importantly, for students to grow in a safe environment. If these kids aren’t penalized more and made an example out of, then how can I believe – as a father of five, soon to be six – that my kids are going to go to school and be safe? It’s just not right. It really is not right.
“I don’t know what the solution is, and when I hear the nonsense, the idiocy of Brock Turner’s father defending his son, being an apologist for his son – let your son stand in front of everyone and answer the questions. Don’t still wipe his ass for him. Let him stand up and be responsible for things he did. And if he finds the right path in his life and we believe it, then let us judge. But let us decide. Don’t try to tell me what your son deserves. He did a horrible thing, and it’s something this woman is never, ever, ever, ever going to forget. Put your pen down. Go talk to your son.”