Dear Brock Turner,

I don’t usually write on current events, if you could call the recent happenings that. I usually internalize whatever is going on, realizing that my anger on paper would make a minute difference in the world. But today, I’ve found something that I don’t think I could not write about.

Articles already exist about Brock Turner and what he did to the unconscious woman behind the dumpster a year ago. Here’s the problem: all of the articles focus more on the fact that Brock Turner had a future - that he was at Stanford, he was an All-American swimmer, blah, blah, blah, and he lost a lot with the sentencing of guilty to three felonies. Nothing I read says the truth, however, that he didn’t get enough punishment for what he did. The justice system doesn’t operate on the impact a sentence could have on your life (imagine that!). It doesn’t say that if you are very successful, we’ll take away half of your success, so that the impact on you is the same as taking away all of the success of a less successful person. How ridiculous would that be? Instead, it sensibly operates on the basis of the SAME sentence for everyone, regardless of impact.

So why can the judge get away with sentencing Turner to 6 months in county jail by saying that he is afraid a longer sentence would have a “severe impact” on Turner? Isn’t that the point?

It doesn’t matter that Turner was a swimmer, or that he was at Stanford, or that he was nineteen, or that there was alcohol involved. What matters is that the woman was unconscious, according to Lars Peter Jonsson, one of the bikers who caught Turner, and that there is enough DNA evidence, not to mention countless bruises and cuts on the victim, to prove that Brock Turner did sexually assault her. I don’t know any other way to not give consent than to be unconscious.

And yes, there was alcohol. Yes, the victim was drunk, and Turner may have also been drunk. But there is nothing about alcohol that forces you to violently assault a person. There is nothing about a frat party that makes you have to rape someone to hook up.

There is nothing about an unconscious woman that screams consent.

To the man on local television reportedly saying that “I will always wonder if consent happened or not,” no, it didn’t. It is clear cut. There are eye-witnesses who realized the woman was unconscious. She blacked out. She didn’t wake up for three hours after it happened. There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about that that screams consent.

I am absolutely appalled at the verdict and the sentencing. I am appalled that still, even after society is beginning to realize that rape hurts the victim more than the attacker (that’s WHY the justice system exists), we refuse to acknowledge more than swim times, and that Brock Turner “ turned down scholarships at a host of universities to attend Stanford” (Washington Post, Miller, March 31), or that his mother is amazed to see how her son has grown.

America, here’s an idea. Let’s take our powerful justice system and put it to the use that it is intended for. It is intended to stop these incidents from happening, or to discourage them. Tell me honestly that a Stanford student who is still labeled as an “All American swimmer” by every newspaper that is reporting on it, learned his lesson after facing only 6 months in county jail. Tell me honestly that the verdict on his case, on such a sure case, with DNA and bruises, and pictures, and witnesses, will stop the other people who are going to also sexually assault someone, adding to the 175 cases of sexual assault reported at Stanford University from 1997 to 2009. Only four have been adjudicated, and only two attackers have been held responsible (WP, Mar 31).

When are we going to start asking the right questions? Instead of giving the power to the attacker, when are we going to realize that this will only stop once we start teaching our sons and daughters and communities that it doesn’t matter who you are, or what social class you’re in, that there is a wrong and a right, and there will be consequences to picking the wrong one? Where will that start if not through the justice system?

All the newspapers are commenting about how Turner went to Stanford, that his ‘fall from grace’ was unfortunate because he went to Stanford and because he was a swimmer. When will someone look at the fact that he went to Stanford for swimming, that he had dreams, and was clearly smart enough to execute them? Don’t you begin to question his allegations of an accident? When are we going to realize that the ‘rape culture’ doesn’t start with alcohol? Or a bad night? Or a bad day? Or an accident? When are we going to realize that the only way this will stop is if we hold people responsible?

‘Rape culture’ exists because we allow it to exist. Because society allows students to be brought up thinking that they deserve everything. These cases of campus race need to be eye-opening to us. Yes, Turner was a freshman at Stanford. Yes, he did have a bright future. Shouldn’t that concern us? That such a smart person could do something so wrong, lie about it, and be okay with it? Shouldn’t it concern us that he will get away with it?

Turner is claiming that he is going to start going around colleges giving speeches about the negative effects of alcohol. What we need right now is not a campaign against alcohol. How did we let this happen? How did we let a capable 19-year-old who is competent and old enough to join the military claim that alcohol made him do a violent and malicious thing? We don’t need that. We don’t need him using alcohol as his excuse, putting doubt where there is already clear evidence. We especially don’t need the world asking if consent existed.

There is nothing about an unconscious woman that screams consent.

What we need is for Turner to take responsibility for what he did. What we need is for the rest of the sexual predators in the world to take responsibility, and to have a system that will force them to take responsibility for what they did. Otherwise, this will never stop.

Here is the victim’s personal statement to her attacker:

I think it’s important to read.

Also, please sign this petition to remove Judge Aaron Persky from the bench:

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