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A Few Thoughts on Rape, Adversity, and Overcoming

On June 4, 2016, the Washington Post printed an article about a woman who had been raped, or “digitally penetrated” as the California statute says, after getting drunk at a party. Brock Turner, once an all-American swimmer at Stanford University, was sentenced to 6 months in jail. Not prison  – jail.

The woman who was a victim and is now a survivor, made a statement in court that far surpasses anything I’ve ever hear during 22 years practicing criminal defense. The survivor’s statement can be read here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/06/04/you-took-away-my-worth-a-rape-victim-delivers-powerful-message-to-a-former-stanford-swimmer/?tid=pm_pop_b

Since June 4, there have been news articles about Turner’s father’s statement asking for leniency. ” His father wrote:

“His life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve,” Dan A. Turner wrote in a letter arguing that his son should receive probation, not jail time. “That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”

The link for the Washington Post article is here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/06/06/a-steep-price-to-pay-for-20-minutes-of-action-dad-defends-stanford-sex-offender/?tid=a_inl

Here’s what I would like to say to Brock Turner:  You got away with rape. Not much happened to you. You have no concept of what you did or that what you did was wrong. I feel sorry for you. I’m also outraged. You deserve prison time. You deserve to have to do community service working with and watching sexual assault victims. Watching their anguish. Watching their pain. Watching them endure what you did to another woman. You need to learn the consequences of your actions. If you don’t, we all pay a price. You pay by getting to go out and rape again. You pay because next time, you won’t get away with it. We pay because we pay for the housing, feeding, medical caring of every prisoner in the US. Your next victim pays the highest price – loss of trust, loss of self worth, nightmares and hideous memories, years of therapy.

To Brock Turner’s father, I would like to say this: If you think rape is “20 minutes of activity,” then not only have you raised your son to be a monster, but you, sir, are a monster as well. Would you make the same statement had the victim been your daughter? Your wife? Your sister? Your mother? Or You?  It’s the same “activity.”

To the victim, I would like to say this: Once you were a victim. Now, you’re a remarkable survivor. You stood up for yourself. You testified in open court where you had to recount the worst moments of your life. When you did that, you gave other women the courage to do the same. You made a statement in court that is amazing, powerful, and is rocking the nation’s notions about sexual assault. You have shown what university and college administrators work tirelessly to keep hidden. You’ve show that race and economic class skew the criminal justice system in a manner that is truly criminal. You have accomplished in the past year and especially in the past three days, more than I have in a lifetime. You are my hero.

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Author:

I retired from the Public Defender Dept. November 12, 2015 after 21+ years as a criminal defense attorney. Now, I'm a full time multi-media artist and writer starting on a new adventure. As an artist, I create with beads, fabric, fiber, and ceramic clay. Sometimes separately; sometimes in assorted combinations. You can find my on-line store at: www.debthumanart.com.

One thought on “A Few Thoughts on Rape, Adversity, and Overcoming

  1. Hi Deb,

    Thanks for this. It’s the first time I had heard bout the case even though I’ve been on Twiter and get posts from #NOMORE pushed by Mariska Hagitay the actress from Law & Order: SVU.

    What a moving and powerful letter the victim wrote. If it had been me, I would have asked for the full sentence requested by the prosecutor.

    And, the father’s statement totally turned my stomach. It reminds me of the old saying “Boys will be boys”.

    And, as you mentioned, if they didn’t have the money. If he wasn’t a star athlete, the rapist would have receive the full sentence. And, Max was just on the Stanford campus a few weeks again when we visited my mom. He never mentioned it. I don’t know if it’s because it didn’t make the new when we were there, or he didn’t hear about it.

    Max and I have met many people in AA who have had blackouts. It’s common, and I pray that women are more aware that a black out can work to their detriment in something like a rape. What questions the defense attorney hit her with. It reminds me of the Kobe Bryant case in Colorado. There, not only was the defendant attacked in court, but the female defense attorney let out the victim’s name. She apologized, but we all knew it was on purpose. Thankfully, in this case, she has remained anonymous.

    I don’t believe in coincidences and believe that G-d sent those Swedish students at that time who figured it out and helped them to detain the attacker. If they hadn’t arrived, I fear she would have been penetrate with more than his hand. It’s almost like necrophilia, someone who is unconscious.

    Thanks again for posting this.

    Need to get ready for bed. Hugs, Diane

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