I am a 26 or 27 year old female. I may or may not have attended your university. I may or may not have woken up with pine needles in my hair. I would not have been wearing a cardigan that night. I use Medium for flash fiction erotica under a fake name, so I have even less credibility than she had. I’m skipping today out of respect for her, and for you, and for myself. I do not forgive you and I will never forget what you did. However, as terrifying as it is, I’ve also decided to love you anyway.
Here are some things you’ve shown be false:
- Work hard, play hard.
- Mistakes are part of learning.
- Stanford adequately promotes mental health.
Here are some things that I believe to be true:
- Your parents love you very much.
- Your parents tried to leverage their power to save you.
- Your parents have power that is extremely upsetting to many, many people.
- People have every right to be upset.
- People are upset by what you did, but they are most upset by the power that attempted to undo it.
- People feel more sympathy for you than they can express. It is terrifying to have sympathy for you.
- People feel more empathy for you than they can handle. It is painful to have empathy for you.
I hope that you were manipulated out of appealing to your humanity by men whose job it is to forget their own. I suppose I love those men, too. They are as poor as they are wealthy, as doomed as they are privileged. I hope you said “but she didn’t consent.” I hope that you lied because you were being weak and stupid and not because you don’t get it yet. If you are angry, I hope that it is complex anger. You are no one anymore. You are a symbol. If you are spiritual, I hope that you consider the sacrifice of “Brock Turner” as part of the greater good. I hope that having your own blood on your hands feels better than having hers.
Again, your pain is real. Everyone’s pain is real. Boys and men like you are suffering, lonely and confused, everywhere. I don’t pray, but I will continue to be a proud feminist for you. I hope it brings you some peace to hear that feminism is healthy for boys and men, too.