Dear Brock Turner,
As a sister and a friend of multiple sexual assault survivors, I’m compelled to write you this letter. You see, I’m convinced beyond reasonable doubt that you hold no remorse for your actions. Unfortunately, the justice system has given you no reason to feel that you should, protecting your future and your pathetic feelings over those of your victim.
In a disturbing letter to the judge in an attempt to further lessen your punishment for your crime, your father suggested that prior to attending your measly three months in jail, you had a loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, that you weren’t yourself. I see where you get your entitlement issues, Brock. To that letter, I have to say: good. I’m glad you can’t sleep. I hope it makes you sick to eat. That means that although you’re a danger to society, you may not be a complete sociopath. What you’re experiencing is your body going through guilt, physically grieving your egregious actions, even if you’re fighting that urge. Which, I’m sure you are since your entire life has set you up to feel like you don’t have to be held accountable and that as a white, upper class, hetero male you can take what you want and get away with it. So Brock, if you’re no longer feeling like your “old self” that’s one step towards a safer world for all women because who you are at your core is a rapist.
Maybe if you don’t eat, can’t sleep, can’t train for your next swim meet, perhaps you’ll lose the strength you had on the night that you forcibly penetrated an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. A woman who, thanks to you, will have many more sleepless nights for the rest of her life.
The thing is, Brock, this isn’t just about you. (Apologies if that’s the first time you’ve ever seen those words, it must be a tough realization.) This is also about the precedent your case sets for all rapists found guilty in a court of law who will not serve their due time, who will not see true punishment for their crimes. Meanwhile their victims will be punished for the rest of their existence through possible depression, substance abuse, self-harm, social anxiety, relationship issues and alienation. So as you cry, speak about your potential and your plans for the future, other young men are watching you and taking notes on how to get away with rape.
I should also mention that I’m not actually naïve enough to believe that this is the last time you’ll rape someone, or at least attempt to. Brock, unfortunately for you, myself and many other women have done our homework on rape. According to a study in 2002, although 1 in 5 women on campus are raped (thanks for keeping those stats on track, Brock), it’s actually a small group of repeat rapists that commit the vast majority of these crimes. In fact, rape offenders on campus average 5.8 rapes a piece. In this particular study, 120 perpetrators were at fault for 1,225 accounts of rape, battery, and sexual abuse.
Do you know what this tells me about you? You’re not done destroying lives yet.
So, what’s the point of my letter then? To tell you I’m watching. To remind you that the world is watching you. I will not forget you. I will not forget your face. I will never let anyone else I know forget or forgive exactly what you did. When I imagine you’ll inevitably give up on the promise of ‘never touching alcohol again’ our eyes will follow you to your favorite bars, to parties you attend and on the red solo cups you hand out to innocent girls. The rape you committed isn’t something you get to conveniently tuck away in the bottom left drawer inside your color-coded closet full of different maroons and khakis or the false bottom underneath your mother’s pearl set.
You may be free, but the only title you will ever hold is ‘Rapist’ and I assure you, it’s the only one that will ever matter.