Outrage continues to grow after a California judge last week sentenced a Stanford University student-athlete to six months in a jail for the sexual assault of an unconscious woman behind a dumpster.
Brock Turner, 20, was found guilty of assaulting the unnamed woman after a party on the elite school’s campus.
People began to talk about the case after the victim posted a powerful letter on social media, describing how a night out with her sister turned into a violent sexual assault.
What helped pushed the case into the realm of “viral” was a second letter. This one was from the father of the rapist. In it, Dan A. Turner, says his son “will never be his happy go lucky self with that easy going personality and welcoming smile. … His life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”
Since last week, other letters have been written. Ones from parents who say they will warn their children about what happened, one from a professor who decried the culture of Turner’s hometown, one from a childhood friend who tried to offer support to Turner, and one from a pastor who confronts Turner’s father.
Here’s what people are saying now.
A teachable moment for parents
“Gena O'Brien was catching up on headlines this week when she stumbled across a young woman's account of her life since she was sexually assaulted at Stanford University - a statement to the former student-athlete who molested her behind a dumpster 16 months ago. O'Brien has two sons, ages 10 and 14. The older boy is a competitive swimmer, like 20-year-old Brock Turner was at Stanford before his arrest. In the raw words of an assault survivor, O'Brien recognized a teachable moment. She read portions of the woman's statement out loud to her 9th grader while he was getting ready for school and made him promise to read all 12 pages when he was done studying for finals.”
The father of boys will read them the victim’s letter
“I’m a father of boys. As such, I'm saving a letter written by the woman who was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner at Stanford University. I'll read it to my sons when their mother and I feel each is old enough. The letter is gut-wrenching and graphic, and it explains in stark terms all that was taken from that young woman as she lay unconscious behind a dumpster on the Stanford campus in 2015. I'll explain to my sons what happened, how a California jury found 20-year-old Turner guilty of three counts of sexual assault. How he wound up getting only six months in county jail and probation despite facing a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.”
Turner blamed “party culture” for assault
“Brock Turner, the former Stanford University swimmer who was convicted last week of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman on campus, blamed the “party culture” of “college life” for his actions. … Turner acknowledged that he is the “sole proprietor of what happened that night” in January 2015 but maintained his version of the events, saying the unidentified victim willingly interacted with him outside a fraternity house. He even said the woman appeared to be enjoying herself. “At no time did it ever occur to me or did it ever seem that [redacted] was too drunk to know what we were doing. I would not have done anything against anyone’s will,” he said in the statement. “I swear I never would have done any of this if [redacted] wasn’t willing.” ”
Women read victim’s statement
"A light sentence given to a man convicted of raping an unconscious California woman brought together a cross section of New Yorkers Wednesday whose outrage inspired them to take a social media stand. After launching a #20MinutesOfAdvocacy Twitter campaign, a parade of women took turns reading the victim’s emotional impact statement during a program at Gracie Mansion. One by one, the women — including “Sex and the City” actress Cynthia Nixon and Mayor de Blasio’s wife Chirlane McCray — read portions of the 12-page statement in a video that was posted on the mayor’s Facebook page.”
A pastor’s response to Turner’s father
"As the six-month jail sentence handed down in the Stanford rape case continues to draw national outrage, on Wednesday a pastor and parent joined Ashley Banfield for a live discussion that has further publicized the story. … John Pavlovitz, a North Carolina pastor, was moved to pen his own sentiments as part of an open letter on his blog. ... "I understand you trying to humanize your son in your letter talking to the judge about his favorite snacks and swim practice," wrote Pavlovitz. … "There is no scenario where your son should be the sympathetic figure here. He is the assailant, the rapist. I can't imagine how gut-wrenching that reality, but it is true."
Turner’s hometown breeds the culture
“..it’s not hard to draw a straight line from this little ‘burb (or a hundred like it) to that dumpster at Stanford. What does being told “no” mean to that kid? If the world is his for the taking, isn’t an unconscious woman’s body? When he gets caught, why wouldn’t his first impulse be to run, make excuses — blame the Fireball, or the girl or the campus drinking culture? That is entitlement. That is unchecked privilege.”
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