This will be a really angry post because damn it, I am angry. Not even just angry, I am enraged. I am so pissed that I actually cried yesterday when I got wind of the news.
Please, if mention of rape triggers you, read the following with caution. I try not to include the really graphic parts. I have linked the rape survivor’s letter below and I would have to warn you that that one is really explicit and can be really triggering.
In case you missed it, convicted sex offender Brock Turner only got six months in county jail for raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. SIX MONTHS. The judge justifies that by saying that he doesn’t think Turner can last longer in jail. What the flipping burgers.
That’s not even the end of it. Turner even wrote a really ignorant and angering letter that somehow points that he was the victim of alcohol, partying, and peer pressure. And, oh yeah, his father referred to the crime as a wrong “20 minutes of action”. Good Lord. Blame the alcohol and throw a pity party for yourself. Whoop de doo.
Here’s a few snippets from Turner’s letter.
At this point in my life, I never want to have a drop of alcohol again. I never want to attend a social gathering that involves alcohol or any situation where people make decisions based on the substances they have consumed…
I want to show that people’s lives can be destroyed by drinking and making poor decisions while doing so. One needs to recognize the influence that peer pressure and the attitude of having to fit in can have on someone…
Have we still have not stopped blaming alcohol for rape? You know what causes rape? Rapists. Rapists cause rape. That’s it. No excuses.
I’ve lost two jobs solely based on the reporting of my case. I wish I never was good at swimming or had the opportunity to attend Stanford, so maybe the newspapers wouldn’t want to write stories about me…
I’ve been shattered by the party culture and risk taking behavior that I briefly experienced in my four months at school. I’ve lost my chance to swim in the Olympics. I’ve lost my ability to obtain a Stanford degree. I’ve lost employment opportunity, my reputation and most of all, my life…
Friends, what we have here is a pity party. He’s trying to get sympathy and aside from mentioning a few ‘sorry’s in his letter, it’s all about him him him. And news flash, Turner, people aren’t writing news about you because you’re a swimmer and you’re in a good university. They’re writing about you because you sexually abused someone and got off with a really light consequence. And also, aren’t judges supposed to be handling punishments and not be all “Well, you look like a nice boy who won’t harm anyone. Let’s give you six months instead of years of sentence.” I’m looking at you, Honorable Aaron Persky.
You know what I was expecting to see in the comment sections in social media when this news got out? I was expecting comments blaming the girl because she was drunk. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t see comments like that and it made me really happy. People are becoming aware. They stopped victim shaming. I see really angry comments though. About white privilege. (I actually want to really talk about white privilege as well, but that’s for another time.)
I also want to share with you guys a few snippets from the rape victim’s letter; basically it’s a summary of her letter. You can read the entire letter here. Please do. It’s important for her voice to be heard.
You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today.
One day, I was at work, scrolling through the news on my phone, and came across an article. In it, I read and learned for the first time about how I was found unconscious, with my hair disheveled, long necklace wrapped around my neck, bra pulled out of my dress, dress pulled off over my shoulders and pulled up above my waist, that I was butt naked all the way down to my boots, legs spread apart, and had been penetrated by a foreign object by someone I did not recognize. This was how I learned what happened to me, sitting at my desk reading the news at work. I learned what happened to me the same time everyone else in the world learned what happened to me.
And then, at the bottom of the article, after I learned about the graphic details of my own sexual assault, the article listed his swimming times. She was found breathing, unresponsive with her underwear six inches away from her bare stomach curled in fetal position. By the way, he’s really good at swimming. Throw in my mile time if that’s what we’re doing. 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.
When the detective asked if he had planned on taking me back to his dorm, he said no. When the detective asked how we ended up behind the dumpster, he said he didn’t know. He admitted to kissing other girls at that party, one of whom was my own sister who pushed him away. He admitted to wanting to hook up with someone. I was the wounded antelope of the herd, completely alone and vulnerable, physically unable to fend for myself, and he chose me. Sometimes I think, if I hadn’t gone, then this never would’ve happened. But then I realized, it would have happened, just to somebody else.
The night after it happened, he said he thought I liked it because I rubbed his back. A back rub.
I thought there’s no way this is going to trial; there were witnesses, there was dirt in my body, he ran but was caught. He’s going to settle, formally apologize, and we will both move on. Instead, I was told he hired a powerful attorney, expert witnesses, private investigators who were going to try and find details about my personal life to use against me, find loopholes in my story to invalidate me and my sister, in order to show that this sexual assault was in fact a misunderstanding. That he was going to go to any length to convince the world he had simply been confused.
Instead of taking time to heal, I was taking time to recall the night in excruciating detail, in order to prepare for the attorney’s questions that would be invasive, aggressive, and designed to steer me off course, to contradict myself, my sister, phrased in ways to manipulate my answers.
And then it came time for him to testify and I learned what it meant to be revictimized. I want to remind you, the night after it happened he said he never planned to take me back to his dorm. He said he didn’t know why we were behind a dumpster. He got up to leave because he wasn’t feeling well when he was suddenly chased and attacked. Then he learned I could not remember.
So one year later, as predicted, a new dialogue emerged. Brock had a strange new story, almost sounded like a poorly written young adult novel with kissing and dancing and hand holding and lovingly tumbling onto the ground, and most importantly in this new story, there was suddenly consent. One year after the incident, he remembered, oh yeah, by the way she actually said yes, to everything, so.
Future reference, if you are confused about whether a girl can consent, see if she can speak an entire sentence. You couldn’t even do that.
Next in the story, two Swedes on bicycles approached you and you ran. When they tackled you why didn’t say, “Stop! Everything’s okay, go ask her, she’s right over there, she’ll tell you.” I mean you had just asked for my consent, right? I was awake, right? When the policeman arrived and interviewed the evil Swede who tackled you, he was crying so hard he couldn’t speak because of what he’d seen.
To sit under oath and inform all of us, that yes I wanted it, yes I permitted it, and that you are the true victim attacked by Swedes for reasons unknown to you is appalling, is demented, is selfish, is damaging. It is enough to be suffering. It is another thing to have someone ruthlessly working to diminish the gravity of validity of this suffering.
You are guilty. Twelve jurors convicted you guilty of three felony counts beyond reasonable doubt, that’s twelve votes per count, thirty six yeses confirming guilt, that’s one hundred percent, unanimous guilt. And I thought finally it is over, finally he will own up to what he did, truly apologize, we will both move on and get better. Then I read your statement.
If you are hoping that one of my organs will implode from anger and I will die, I’m almost there. You are very close. This is not a story of another drunk college hookup with poor decision making. Assault is not an accident. Somehow, you still don’t get it. Somehow, you still sound confused.
Then she went on to respond to Turner’s statements. Once again, you can read her entire letter here. Please do. All I have to add is if you’re not angry, you’re not aware. Be aware. Be involved. Because you know what happens to rapists if they found out they can only get six months in prison? They get braver.
Update 06/13/2016: Rapist Turner’s mother has wrote an open letter to the stupid judge – yes, that’s what I’m calling them now. In the letter, she discussed how Brock was such a happy, nice kid and she was very devastated about what happened to him. And of all the people in the world, it happened to him. Is she aware that his son is the attacker and not the victim? Rapist Turner’s mom also pleaded for a shorter sentence (is six months not short for her???) and even better, she asked that Rapist Turner not be jailed at all. All of that she did in a 3 and a half pages long of a letter, but not once has she talked about the real victim in all of these. I can’t believe that there are parents that tolerates and turns a blind eye on their son raping an unconscious girl.
PS. If you have five minutes to spare, watch this video. This is basically my reaction to the entire thing. I’m supposed to embed it into this post but it’s a Facebook video and I’m not sure how to do that yet.