The woman assaulted by Brock Turner and insulted by the judge who sentenced him to six months in county jail has been reaching out to help others even as she lives through her own very real trauma.
Brock Turner’s dad wrote an impact statement of his own, in the form of a letter he sent to Judge Persky ahead of sentencing. The only thing he’s apologized for drinking. And yet, his father is extremely confused that his son has to serve any time at all for assaulting a woman.
“Brock’s life has been deeply altered forever by the events of January 17th and 18th… his every waking moment is consumed with worry, anxiety, fear, and depression,” the letter begins. “You can see this in his face, the way he walks, his weakened voice, his lack of appetite… I was always excited to buy a big ribeye steak to grill or to get his favorite snack for him. I had to make sure to hide some of my favorite pretzels or chips because I knew they wouldn’t be around long after Brock walked in from a long swim practice. Now he barely consumes any food and eats only to exist.”
Now, let’s compare that to a part of his son’s victim’s statement:
“I tried to push it out of my mind, but it was so heavy I didn’t talk, I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t interact with anyone. After work, I would drive to a secluded place to scream. I didn’t talk, I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t interact with anyone, and I became isolated from the ones I loved most. For over a week after the incident, I didn’t get any calls or updates about that night or what happened to me. The only symbol that proved that it hadn’t just been a bad dream, was the sweatshirt from the hospital in my drawer.
One more time, in public news, I learned that my ass and vagina were completely exposed outside, my breasts had been groped, fingers had been jabbed inside me along with pine needles and debris, my bare skin and head had been rubbing against the ground behind a dumpster, while an erect freshman was humping my half naked, unconscious body. But I don’t remember, so how do I prove I didn’t like it.”
The rapist’s father has ZERO idea what pain feels like:
“His life will never be the one he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life. The fact that he now has to register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life forever alters where he can live, visit, work, and how he will be able to interact with people and organizations,” he writes. He simply can’t understand why a sex offender would have to be punished at all. And 20 minutes of action? He wrote that to a judge? A judge who then gave Turner the most ridiculously lenient sentence imaginable? Rape is not “action.” It’s a violent crime. Should a murderer not be tried because the gunshot that killed someone took seconds to penetrate the body?
He has no prior criminal history and has never been violent to anyone including his actions on the night of Jan. 17th 2015,” Dad writes. Even after three felony convictions he refuses to admit his son’s done anything wrong. His son hasn’t admitted it either. “Brock can do so many positive things as a contributor to society and is totally committed to educating other college age students about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity.” They’re still trying to spin this into a “sexual promiscuity” thing. It’s not. The most dangerous type of criminal is one who thinks he’s done nothing wrong. Where is the reassurance that he won’t repeat a crime he apparently doesn’t think he actually committed?”
Recently, a man named Matt Lang wrote an open letter on Facebook that we think speaks for everyone:
This letter is a mass of victim-blaming garbage that shows no one in this family has any remorse for what has happened. Trigger warning: every horrific victim-blaming stereotype exists here.
I’ve been drunk many times, even in the presence of promiscuous women who were also drunk, and I managed not to rape them, so I don’t think drinking and promiscuity are the problems.
This here is the problem: some guys are entitled pricks, and they’re entitled pricks because their fathers and coaches and friends taught them to be entitled pricks. Because they are entitled pricks, they think they can have whatever they want, and that their worth is defined by what they have and what they take.
Alcohol has this capacity to unlock what, deep down, we’ve always wanted to do. For me, that means, occasionally, running naked in places I probably shouldn’t, like through libraries or deserts (remember for next time: deserts=cactuses). But even at my most intoxicated, I’ve never lost sight of the fact that rape is wrong, because I was raised to know it’s wrong. No amount of alcohol can depress that value.
Brock Turner and his ilk were never taught that. They were taught that they can have what they want, when they want, including women. And that’s called being a man. Brock Turner thought he was entitled to a little “action” any way he could get it, and he thought that long before he got drunk. The alcohol didn’t introduce that thought, it unlocked it. That thought: “I can take whatever I want, including her”, was planted and watered by a whole, rotten village.
It is right that we shame him, and his father, and the friend that came to his defense, and the judge, and every other entitled prick we meet.
Just as importantly, we need to love our boys, and teach them the dignity of the body, and how to live through disappointment and confusion, and how to navigate confusing feelings, and how to separate feelings from action, and how to communicate and listen. We need to redefine for them what it is to be a man, that their worth doesn’t come from that which they have and take.