Let's Talk About The Brock Turner Letters
1. The Brock Turner Letters Called Into Question
The Short of It:
All week, former Stanford University student Brock Turner's mugshots have plastered your Facebook wall and topped your newsfeed. As news of his light sentencing became public, so came letters and statements from people surrounded in the case: a haunting letter from his victim, and heedless statements from his father and friends. Yesterday, a statement from Turner to the judge in his case was released.
The Longer Version of It:
Earlier this year, Brock Turner, a 20-year-old former Stanford University swimmer, was found guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster on the university's campus in 2015. Prosecutors in the case asked for a six-year sentence, pretty lenient considering a person facing the same charges could receive a maximum prison sentence of 14 years. The judge in the case, Aaron Persky of California, sentenced Turner to six months in jail, three years probation and called for his registration as a sex offender for life, stating that a longer sentence could have a "severe impact" on the predator.
In the days following the sentencing, various letters and statements used for the trial, from the woman Turner sexually assaulted, his father, his childhood friends. A letter penned by Turner's father to the judge, said Turner shouldn't be punished for "20 minutes of action." Another, written to the judge as a character witness statement by Leslie Rasmussen, a friend of Turner's and member of a small-time band called Good English, suggested that deeming Turner at fault for the sexual assault would be "political correctness."
The judge is now facing a firestorm of demands that he be removed from his position on the bench, Turner's father has been called negligent, and the female band member and childhood friend has been dropped from all lineups.
Now a self-pitying letter from Turner himself has become public. In the statement, Turner explains how his life has been "shattered" by the rape that took place in 2015 and paints the sexual assault as an act ignited by drinks and the school's "party culture" has been made public.
How We See It:
During the polarizing election season, you might have lost faith in your ability to see eye to eye with your neighbor and FB friends, but if one thing is for certain people are uniting together in their rage on this one. As of this publishing, 899,473 supporters have signed a petition to remove Judge Persky from the bench and thousands are calling into question Turner's white male privilege and standing as an athlete at an elite university into his sentencing. If one thing is for sure, the defendant and his supporters in his case have a skewed view on the effects of alcohol and many people are not okay with that.