Content warning: This article discusses rape
“life has been deeply altered forever by the events of Jan 17th and 18th”
“never be happy go lucky self with that easy going personality and welcoming smile”
“every waking minute is consumed with worry, anxiety, fear and depression”
“these verdicts have broken and shattered our family in so many ways”
“life will never be the one dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve”
These statements may sound like something a family member or close friend of a victim of rape might say when talking about the way the sexual assault deeply affected the victim and changed their life completely.
But in fact, they are the words of a rapist’s father. A father who is justifying his son’s actions and portraying his son as a would-be victim of the American justice system.
The real victim’s statement is much more harrowing.
On the night of January 18th 2015, Brock Turner was found on top of an unconscious 22 year old woman behind a dumpster at a Stanford University frat party. He was charged with sexual assault.
Last week, Turner was sentenced to six months in county jail with probation. For rape.
Turner’s father, Dan Turner, feared that if Turner was to be sentenced like any other rapist, to a recommended minimum of two years in prison, it would have “a severe impact on him.” Is this not the very point of prison? In prison, are perpetrators not supposed to feel punished and reflect on the crimes they’ve committed, in the hope that by the time they are released, they’ve been so severely impacted by their time spent behind bars, that they would do anything to avoid returning to prison again?
What about the ‘severe impact’ Turner had on the woman he so unashamedly assaulted? The woman who says she had nightmares of being touched inappropriately that she couldn’t wake up from. The woman who says she’s lost her independence and feels uncomfortable in her own hometown.
In Turner’s father’s letter, he states that if Turner’s sentence is reduced, he will make it his mission to teach other college students about the dangers of drinking and educate them on, “how society can begin to break the cycle of binge drinking and its unfortunate results.”
The cycle of binge drinking.
NOT the cycle of sexual assault that is so often dismissed within American colleges.
NOT the cycle of rape culture that shifts the blame of action to party and campus culture, alcohol, and far too often, the victim themselves.
To me, the unfortunate results of binge drinking are a severe hangover and slight embarrassment for my moves on the dance floor.
How could society fail this young woman so drastically by allowing Turner to commit such a crime?
How could society fail this young woman by allowing her rapist to walk free in six months time or less?
And it seems society continues to fail this woman, as dozens of