He sexually assaulted an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. But Stanford student Brock Turner received a mere six-month prison sentence for his “20 minutes of action,” because anything longer would have had “a severe impact on him,” the judge in the case decided.
The story, which generated enormous outrage after the young woman’s powerful victim impact statement was widely publicized, happened in California, but it’s certainly not isolated. Dismissals of sexual assault are not uncommon, as universities and courts across the United States make news for failing to take rape seriously.
But California is pioneering a solution, and it’s starting with sex education and the issue that many of these assault cases turn on — consent.
This school year, the state will be the first in the U.S. to require that high schools teach sexual consent — what it is and how it’s established. While some high schools already taught consent, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law in October 2015 requiring all schools that mandate health courses to do so beginning in the 2016 school year.