(This is an opinion piece on the conviction of Brock Turner, and the reason that rape cases like this one make a mockery of sexual assault victims all over the world.)
In the media we have been constantly reminded that:
“Brock Turner was a twenty year old aspiring swimmer who had a bright career ahead of him. Before the events on the night of 17th January 2015 uprooted his life and damaged his future!”
(Give me a break – he was the one who was ‘damaged’? By the choices he made to irreversibly ruin a young woman’s life in order to gain some sexual gratification?!)
– To this I want to say one thing. I am also twenty years old, like Brock I am white, and I am also at a prestigious university which is one of the top in the country for the subject I am studying.
That does not give me the right to commit a crime and expect to get away with a lighter sentence for it, that does not give me or any of my fellow 18-20 year old fresher classmates the right to forcefully insert themselves or any foreign object into another person without express consent.
This does not give us the right to RAPE anyone!
For you, your defence attorney and your family to resort to using your age as an excuse for your disgusting behaviour is not only wrong and making a mockery of the serious nature of the crime you committed, but it also adds to the fact that so many rape victims never come forward about their victimisation.
You stripped your victim of her confidence, and you destroyed her self-esteem. And your age is never an excuse for that. Nothing is ever an excuse for that. What you did is because you are selfish and do not take responsibility for your actions, making excuses rather than admitting your crimes and apologising to the victim who you inserted your fingers inside, and then fled from the crime scene on discovery from a girl who lay broken on the floor with internal bruises and lacerations because of your warped idea of a good time.
She is the victim here, and your reputation as an upcoming swimmer is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter whether you are a good sportsman, a brilliant artist, a celebrity, an actress, singer, dancer or bloody magician. Nobody is allowed to ‘get away’ with a crime, and even though your sentence is an insult to rape and sexual assault victims in itself, your lack of remorse and blatant refusal to take responsibility while your loved ones excuse your behaviour, and you try to cast yourself in an apologetic light as if you made one silly mistake like breaking a window with a cricket ball. No. That is not what you did.
You have changed the course of that woman’s life forever, when you are released from prison you will have to live knowing that you have a criminal record, but having served your time you will be free to continue on with your life. You may even go back to swimming and make a success of your second chance…
But that girl who you ‘fingered’ behind a dumpster will never be the same again, she will take time and effort rebuild her life, she will live with the nightmare’s of what you did to her, she will live in fear of doing things people her age do, like going to the cinema at night, meeting up with her friends, everything that she is entitled to do as a human being.
You and only you are responsible for that damage.
You further add insult to injury by implying your criminal actions were a result of your “High Levels of intoxication”…
(Yeah, that’s what we all do Brock. We all go out on a saturday night for some drinking and a dance and end up forcing ourselves upon a stranger in a secluded area of our university campus when the other party is clearly blind drunk and totally incapable of giving consent)
Yes you were drunk, reportedly twice the legal drink driving limit, and your victim was three times over. But you were able to recall the events of that night in great detail a year on from the initial investigation even though on the night of the assault your statement was limited and you never mentioned gaining consent and directly contradicted your later story in saying you were going to take her to your dorm room when previously you told police you had no intention of taking her to your room? To suddenly recall holding hands and romantically kissing before gaining consent from your victim?
(Isn’t that convenient?)
Were you there when your victim was talking garbled nonsense down the phone to her boyfriend, did you listen to her babbling voice and know she was vulnerable? Because I assume if you had danced with her and planned on taking her back to your own room, you would have been present for that conversation?
I also assume that an intelligent young man with such a bright future ahead could tell by the fact that she lay unconscious in the dark alone that you shouldn’t be mounting her like she was a living fleshlight?
(NO… of course not, you were drunk, since when were people ever held accountable for the crimes they committed while drunk?)
Whereas your victim could not remember the night at all. She did not know she had been raped until she was informed at the hospital, she had to find out through the media the details of her own sexual assault. She was left with the horror of what you did to her, and the confusion that her amnesia gave her, as well as feeling self-loathing for her own physical form.
As well as the physical and emotional effect your initial attack left on her, you further put this woman through hell by making her relive her experience over and over again through your attorney cross-examining her in court, in front of a jury. She stood amongst a jury of her peers and gave a statement about that night, about how little she could remember, about how she was not in a fit state to even give consent and you shouldn’t have taken her intoxication levels as a sign to use them to your advantage. And even then, even when that poor woman had been through the worst year of her life because of your stupidity and callous actions on a night that she had wanted to enjoy with her sister – she didn’t see justice. You didn’t give her justice.
If you had regretted what you’d done, if you had owned up and admitted your guilt, and apologised to the girl who you have broken. To her family, friends, and boyfriend for all that they have had to go through because of what you did to a person whom they love. It might have at least given your victim closure… but you couldn’t even do that?!
When you finish your measly six month county jail sentence and come back into the real world, you will have to deal with knowing your face was plastered all over the internet and news media and everybody will know what you did. You will have to live with that.
And you should. That is your ultimate punishment. You deserve it. The second that you chose to take advantage of that girl who was alone and needed help, when you decided that fingering her unconscious body was a better idea than running back to the party and trying to get help for her when she needed it; that defines you. You are your own persecutor, you have damaged your own reputation. You have ruined your own life.
And I am glad. Someone very close to me was raped violently but never came out about the offence. They didn’t believe that telling the police would do anything; because of cases like yours rape and sexual assault victims are discouraged from coming forward. They are discouraged from telling their stories and seeing justice for fear of being made to look like the guilty party as you tried to do to your victim.
But she won.
She didn’t just win for herself, but she won for sexual assault victims everywhere. She is an inspiration, she fought for her right to fair trial, she fought to be taken seriously against you with your expensive attorney and your ‘mitigating circumstances’.
Even though your sentence is a joke… your verdict is permanent. It will never be forgotten. People will recognise your face. People will know you as Brock the Rapist, not Brock the astonishing swimmer, or Brock the boy with the bright future. You have signed your own life sentence. That is where the justice lies in this case.
You will never be able to escape your actions. But sadly neither will she.
What you did was monstrous.
What you did was wrong.
And what you did was evil.
There is no excuse for your actions.