I’ve been attempting to write this since yesterday, but every time I start to type, my fingers tremble, my body fills with goosebumps and my heart just about pounds right out of my chest.
Brock Turner, you are a rapist.
Dan Turner, your son is a rapist.
Mainstream media, when you are reporting on Brock Turner, please remember that you are reporting on a rapist.
Brock, you do not deserve sympathy. You do not deserve empathy. You do not deserve to have one single person defend you or even feel remotely sorry for you. You do not deserve to have your father jump to your defense and attempt to justify your actions. You do not deserve to have a “normal” life. You do not deserve to have me exert my physical and mental energy to write this. But I’m not writing this for you.
Dan Turner, to be quite frank with you, I don’t give one single f*ck how sorry your son is or how devastated he is by the rape he committed on the nights of January 17th and 18th, 2015. I don’t care if he’s remorseful, I don’t care if he never returns to his happy-go-lucky self, I don’t care if he ever grills himself a big, juicy steak ever again.
It does not matter how hard your son has worked over the first 20 years of his life. It doesn’t matter how much you think he can contribute to society, because what he has contributed to society is the rape of an innocent victim.
Brock, I’m elated that you have to register as a sexual predator for the rest of your life. I’m glad that where you can visit, live, and work will be forever altered, because no one else should have to be in contact with you in any sort of capacity without knowing exactly who you are and what you’ve done.
Dan, I’ve read your statement and I’ve seen your son from your perspective, but now I’d like to share mine.
I’ll be honest, when I look at your son, I don’t even see your son. I don’t see a competitive swimmer, I don’t see a troubled student, I don’t see Brock Turner.
When I look at your son, when I see his swimming photos, his school photos, even his mugshot, all I see is my attacker.
When I look at Brock, I see the man who took everything from me.
I see the picture-perfect image that the media would paint of him, I see all the friendly, smiling photos they’d use of him instead of his mugshot.
I hear the statements that would be made about him in court, I hear the endearing stories about him that demonstrate the quality of his character, like the ones you shared about your son.
Brock, when I look at you, I see so much more than your cheeky grin.
I see every other rapist like you. Happy, full of potential, excited to grab the world by the horns as you venture out into university, college, and everywhere else. Raised to believe that working hard and getting into a good school entitles you to everything and everyone.
I see your victims.
I see the girls like me who never saw sexual assault coming and never thought something like this could ever happen to them.
I hear the words thrown around about us, the blame that’s placed upon us. I hear the way the media and your friends and family and supporters talk about us. As if we’re deaf. As if we’re invisible. As if we’re not even people. And trust me, that’s nothing new to us.
Brock, I imagine that right now you’re feeling like the whole world is against you. But I have good news for you— it’s really not. I promise.
The whole world is against the millions of victims of sexual assault around the world.
The women who are shown time and time again that the best option for us after facing sexual assault really is to remain silent.
We see what happens every time a rapist like you is in the news. We see the sympathy you get and the potential everyone sees in you, when all anyone sees in us is how we dress, how we act, how much we drink, our past and every single thing we could and should have done differently to prevent getting assaulted.
Because in our world, the onus is on us to protect our over-sexualized bodies that we have no choice but to carefully and fearfully bear.
In our world, when a rapist looks like you and comes from the background you come from, they aren’t treated like rapists. They’re treated like misunderstood and troubled kids.
I’m tempted to get into the role that your skin color is playing in the treatment you’re receiving, but that’s another letter for another day.
Brock, Dan. I don’t know how to conclude this. Every fibre of my being wants to curse you up and down and wish you the most miserable lives imaginable.
But I know that won’t help and won’t solve any of the greater issues here.
But I do pray that you both come to understand where you’ve gone wrong and that your eyes open to the bigger picture of the culture of rape that enables rapists and rape apologists like you to flourish.
I don’t believe that there is hope for complete redemption for either of you but I know that you both have the opportunity to correct your flawed perspectives and opinions. I know you both have the opportunity to create positive change in yourselves and in many others. So I implore you, please. Do better. Be better. And help others do the same.