We really, really, REALLY need to stop referring to Brock Turner as a "swimmer"

Source: AP Images
Source: AP Images

On Friday, Brock Turner was released from jail after serving just three months of his six-month sentence. The 21-year-old— who was convicted of three felony charges of assault — is known to many as the "Stanford rapist." 

But in the media, Turner has acquired an even more popular moniker, almost as lenient as his sentence: "Former Stanford swimmer."

Time came under fire Friday morning when the outlet tweeted out its article on Turner's release with the headline "Stanford Swimmer Brock Turner Has Been Released From Jail," even dropping the "former" — Turner, the share headline seems to suggest, will eternally be a swimmer, not a rapist. 

Source: Twitter

ABC News later jumped on the bandwagon, using the search headline, "Ex-Stanford Swimmer Out of Jail After Sex Assault Sentence." On-page, the title of the article carries the far more palatable, "Brock Turner Walks Out of Jail After Stanford Sex Assault Sentence."

In the letter his father sent to Judge Aaron Persky, Turner was characterized as an upstanding citizen and veritable golden boy before his sexual assault trial. So naturally, some people began wondering what he'll be up to after his three months of hard time. With this in mind, ABC News offered a followup story: "Brock Turner to Leave Jail After Stanford Sex Assault: What's Next for the Former Swimmer."

Source: ABC News

So, how does one recover after sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster?

Instead of focusing on Turner's heinous crime, these headlines lament his lost potential. At the time of his sentencing, the survivor of his crime wrote in her victim impact statement that, when reading about her own assault, she saw an article had even included Turner's swim times.

"She was found breathing, unresponsive with her underwear six inches away from her bare stomach curled in fetal position," she recalled reading. "By the way, he's really good at swimming.

"Throw in my mile time if that's what we're doing," she added. "I'm good at cooking, put that in there, I think the end is where you list your extracurriculars to cancel out all the sickening things that've happened."

Turner is banned from USA Swimming for life — let's all get over it. 

It's high time to stop mincing words and call Turner what he really is: a sexual assaulter. 

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Marie Solis

Marie is a Slay staff writer with focuses in culture and class. Her writing has appeared in Gothamist and the Awl. You can reach her at marie@mic.com.

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