Stanford Rape Protest At Graduation Ceremony

Stanford Rape Protest At Graduation Ceremony

Graduates at Stanford University used their commencement ceremonies to protest against a six-month jail sentence handed to a former student for raping an unconscious woman on campus.

Brock Turner, 20, a former swimmer at the US university, was convicted in March of three offences relating to the attack.

Several students expressed their anger at the punishment on Sunday by holding aloft placards slamming the sentence that has been described as a "slap on the wrist" .

There are calls for Judge Aaron Persky to be impeached or face a recall election for handing down the sentence which was considerably less than the six years recommended by prosecutors.

Signs saying "Stanford protects rapists", "Rape is rape" and "Brock Turner is not an exception" were paraded by students, while others declared their support for the 23-year-old victim with the message: "You are a warrior."

The protest took place during the "wacky walk" - a Stanford tradition during which students parade signs during the ceremonies.

Some students sported the message "1/3" on their mortar boards in reference to the ratio Stanford students say will be victims of sexual assault by the time they finish a four-year degree. 

They were joined by women's rights activists from the group UltraViolet which commissioned a small plane carrying a banner reading, "Protect Survivors. Not Rapists. #PerskyMustGo" to fly over the ceremony.

"Stanford students are justifiably outraged over a so-called justice system that protects privileged white rapists over the survivors of their crimes," said Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of the group.

The January 2015 attack was stopped by two Swedish graduate students who happened to be cycling past and saw Turner raping the partially naked woman.

A harrowing witness statement from the victim which was read in court has caused a national outcry - with Vice President Joe Biden writing an open letter in support of her .

Judge Persky was re-elected in an unopposed election just days after passing sentence on Turner earlier this month.

He is prohibited from commenting on the case because Turner, who withdrew from Stanford after his arrest, is appealing against the conviction.

Turner's father, Dan Turner, has also been criticised for saying his son had paid "a steep price … for 20 minutes of action".