Santa Clara: Campus leaders, prosecutors gather for sexual assault symposium - Recall Judge Aaron Persky

Santa Clara: Campus leaders, prosecutors gather for sexual assault symposium

SANTA CLARA — University leaders, college students, politicians, writers, activists and prosecutors will meet Friday at Santa Clara University to discuss campus sexual assault, a problem that has burst into the national consciousness in recent years.

Although the topic is about campus troubles, the invitation-only event was spearheaded by the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office, which earlier this year tried the case against former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner. He was convicted of sexual assaulting an unconscious woman outside of a Stanford fraternity party in January 2015. But in an action that triggered international outrage, a judge sentenced Turner to six months in jail and probation.

District Attorney Jeff Rosen, who later wrote successful legislation to toughen sexual assault penalties in California, said in a phone interview Thursday that he refused to accept the Turner sentence — “that just because he’s a college student he can do a semester in jail.” He said he hoped the outcry over that case and others would lead to a societal shift in attitudes about sexual consent.

“We’ve succeeded as a society in strongly discouraging drunk driving,” Rosen said. “It still happens, but there is a strong cultural norm that you shouldn’t drive if you’ve been drinking. We want to create a cultural norm that if a young woman is passed out, that’s it. It’s no longer acceptable to have sex with her now.”

Speakers include Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, and Kamilah Willingham, an activist who will talk about her experience of sexual assault while at Harvard Law School.

In the morning, actress Sharon Stone will read excerpts of the famous letter that “Emily Doe” wrote to Turner and read aloud in court. The event will be live-streamed at from 9:15 to 9:30 a.m.

Original article posted by The Mercury News
By Katy Murphy
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