Opinion: Justice System and CU-Boulder Fail Victims in Rape Case
I used to always believe in the saying, "it will never happen here". I used to also always believe in our justice system. This week has changed my perception.
Earlier this week, I woke to the news that a young man who is a former student at CU-Boulder was spared of his prison sentence for the rape of one of his classmates.
Let me repeat that again and in capital letters: HE RAPED HIS CLASSMATE.
The case is no longer considered "alleged". No longer does someone have to prove his innocence. He was NOT innocent. He is NOT an alleged perpetrator.
Austin James Wilkerson, who is 22 years old, is GUILTY. That question has been answered, and put to rest.
Need more reassurance that Wilkerson did the act that he WAS accused of? Here is CBS News covering the story:
Reminds you of how easy that scumbag Brock Turner got off in his rape case as well, doesn't it?
Don't like how I use the word scumbag? Sorry, maybe I should use the terms "dirtbag", "pervert", and "arrogant, entitled SOB". Maybe those would describe him a little better.
According to the Daily Camera newspaper, Wilkerson assaulted his female classmate back in 2014 after she had too much to drink and he told his friends that he would "take care of her".
The story goes on to say that Wilkerson's family thinks he is a caring, thoughtful, and smart man. They also say that he just made a horrible decision that night.
Really? A horrible decision is eating a pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream at midnight, or not paying your mortgage or car payment for two months. What Wilkerson did that night was make a disgusting, putrid, and downright criminal decision.
However, for District Judge Patrick Butler to sentence Wilkerson to only 20 years probation time and two years work release is a shock to my system. Where is the justice in that? We have people in our state, and across the country, serving more time for marijuana possession cases.
This man raped an innocent woman, whose life will be changed for at least many years to come, and he gets more of a sentence than someone caught with a bag of marijuana. Go figure.
According to the testimony given in court, the victim asked Butler to "have as much mercy for the rapist" as the rapist had for her. She wanted him to go to prison. And her request, which should've been granted without hesitation, was denied.
This girl will now wake up everyday, and have the memory of that night (and the days after) immediately in her mind. She'll live her life with the thought of what this one evil person did to her. And it will never come easy to fully trust someone when she is in a public setting.
While Austin James Wilkerson, whose name I will always spell out for all to know, will still be able to work and go to school with the general public. He'll also still be able to live a normal life (after his work release program ends), as long as he doesn't screw up. Which, judging by his past decision making skills, has a very good chance of happening.
Yes, he does need to register as a sex offender and he will be labeled that for the rest of his life. And while many people may think that is punishment enough, I don't think it's enough.
Maybe he should have it printed on his business cards. It should also be listed on his Facebook page.
Why? Because having that label won't wear him down like what his victim is going through now, and what she will go through for years to come.
Lastly, shame on you CU-Boulder for not doing more to dissuade students from having the minds that these criminals have. In a recent survey done by the Daily Camera, 28% of undergraduate females say they were sexually assaulted while on campus.
15% of ALL students (male and female) say they were sexually assaulted while they were on campus.
Don't think that 28% of respondents is that big of a number? Look at it this way. I work in an office that has approximately 20 employees inside it. Going by the numbers of the survey, that means close six of those 20 would be considered as being assaulted.
That number isn't big. It's staggering.
I have a niece who looked at CU-Boulder this summer as an option for college when she graduates from high school. However, I want to make sure that the college she heads to protects her every minute of the day. Judging by this survey, why should I feel comfortable seeing her go there?
By the way, that 28% number is above the nationwide average. So before you say the school is doing enough, dive into it further. They aren't.
There's plenty of blame to go around concerning why this happened, and the aftermath that has ensued.
Austin James Wilkerson...
The justice system...
Maybe all four parties should live the life of the victim during the night that she was forcibly raped, so they can now see what she went through.
Possibly then his parents won't consider him a good kid who just made a "horrible" decision.
Maybe the judge would understand why the victim didn't want the rapist to be shown mercy.
And CU-Boulder may also realize that they DO have a problem.
However, my guess is that nothing will change. And these four parties will go live their lives the way they always have.
While a female victim wonders what SHE did wrong for years to come, when she didn't deserve any of the crimes done to her that night.