Media Portrayals of “Stanford Rapist” Brock Turner

Aug 22nd, 1970

By Caren Holmes MCASA Program Intern

The high-profile trial and sentencing of the “Stanford Swimmer” rapist, Brock Turner, has ignited a firestorm of commentary about sexual violence, rape culture, and media portrayals of perpetrators. As a result of the controversial and lenient sentence Turner received and the courageous statement of the survivor in the case, there has been an unprecedented level of media coverage and dialogue nationally about these issues. The case has far-reaching social and legal implications, which are continuing to be explored by authors globally. The media coverage of this case has included a variety of angles, and includes coverage in:

  • The Atlantic This article summarizes the both the survivor statement and the statement of Turner’s father. It also summarizes the responses to the case including those enraged by white privilege, sentencing disparities Brock’s treatment as an “All-American Swimmer” and reactions to both of the statements.
  • Mother Jones In this interview with Mother Jones, Stanford Law Professor Michele Dauber discusses the significance of the case, the serious issue with light sentencing, and the implications for college campuses and their sexual assault responses.
  • The Independent A summary of Joe Biden’s response to the survivor’s statement in which he emphasizes the importance of believing survivors and working with them. Includes the full transcript of his speech and the full victim statement.
  • Vox This article summarizes reactions to the case including the media’s portrayal of the convicted felon in the news.
  • Slate This article discusses how the letter from Dan Turner exhibits the foundations of rape culture in our society.
  • Palo Alto Online This coverage includes an interview with the juror who spoke out against the lenient sentencing in Brock Turner’s case.


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