Last night, Rose McGowan and Amber Tamblyn spoke out against Judge Aaron Persky in an event hosted by GRLCVLT, an international feminist group that challenges rape culture. The event was held at Baby’s All Right, a music venue in Brooklyn, and also included a variety of breathtaking performances. The energy was high and the message was clear: Unseat Judge Aaron Persky for delivering a benign sentence on Brock Turner, the ex-Stanford student convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.
Judge Aaron Persky convicted Brock Turner of sexual assault but left the world in shock and outrage when he only delivered a six-month sentence for committing a crime that has a maximum of 14 years in prison. What is even more infuriating and harrowing is that Brock Turner is being released three months earlier because “it was assessed that he was unlikely to misbehave behind bars,” according to Vice. The Fuck Rape Culture event was a mobilizing effort to recall the judge to ensure that similar cases will not go under his jurisdiction, as all proceeds from the event went to campaigning efforts against him. It’s a step toward reforming the legal system by ensuring that all judges take violence against women seriously.
While the message last night was heavy, the event was filled the positive energy of activism. And as I quickly learned, this is not the only case Persky handled lightly. Another victim stood in Persky’s courtroom on the same day as the Turner’s case and watched as her abusive ex-fiance got a reduced sentence for battery. Persky cut Ming Hsuan Chiang’s jail time in half by allowing him to complete his sentence on the weekends, so it wouldn’t affect his job. It became clear that events like these are imperative for translating anger and sadness into the political effort to unseating Persky. I stood under the glow of the music lights and felt the power of the performances and celebrities’ words, impressed by their talent and moved to take action.
Michele Dauber, the lawyer leading the recall movement, told BUST that the “judge used Brock Turner’s privilege to issue him a lighter sentence.” The privilege she’s referring to is Turner’s whiteness and upper-class status. It is important that violence against women regardless of the accused’s status is taken seriously and gravely. Victims of sexual assault need to feel support by the legal system and these brave activists and performers are working to ensure that.
Photos by Jena Cumbo
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