Local crisis intervention center reacts to rape sentencing

Local crisis intervention center reacts to rape sentencing

LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - The sentencing of a Stanford University student convicted of rape is gaining national attention.  The student's six-month jail sentence has left many people in shock.

Teressa Ellzey has worked as a victims advocate and case manager for the Shafer Center for Crisis Intervention in Laurel for nearly five years. She said many college rapes go unreported.

"Even in town, there are a lot of victims that don't report, and if they would report it, it would be a lot higher than just one in four," Ellzey said.

This week Stanford University student Brock Turner was sentenced to six months in jail for rape. Ellzey said the sentence sets back all the efforts made by advocacy groups over the years.

"Those of us that are trying to get stuff done on campuses and colleges, it's kind of like a step back because we're trying to advance on college campuses and even out in public," Ellzey said.

She said the sentence also affects the view of rape.

"It's more so saying if you've got money and academics you're able to do this and do that," Ellzey said. "Just slap them on the wrist and say don't do that again."

Ellezy said tackling the misconceptions of rape on college campuses starts with education.

"The more you educate your children, the more the children are educated in the school, the more that goes through to the college area," Ellzey said. "Once they get the education and know what's appropriate and not appropriate, a lot of the assault will stop."

Ellezy leaves this to consider.

"It doesn't matter how much money you have, what color you are, what language you speak, where you're form or what you do in life, whenever its rape, rape is rape," Ellzey said.

Click here for a list of Shafer Center services and hotline.