Submitted by a guest writer who has chosen to remain anonymous.
An open letter to…
Oh wait. I don’t want to write you a letter. I don’t want to address you as your name or end this with mine.
I don’t want you to know me, not that you would really take the time to get to know me anyway given your track record (and no-I’m not talking about your record breaking swim times).
I will tell you this much: She is a victim. I am a victim. You are not.
I do not care about your childhood, your favorite snacks, or how good you are at swimming. I do not care if you were a good student or your record breaking swim times. I frankly do not care about a damn thing that has to do with you and your life. You do not deserve justice or leniency on what you have done.
I read your father’s letter. If you even want to call it a “letter.” I read it as some sick, twisted, and desperate justification for something that simply cannot be justified. An explanation for something that simply does not have an explanation.
An attempt to label rape as 20 seconds of action.
To shift my statement to a more direct response to your father, I have picked apart his pathetic attempt at what he labeled as a “letter”:
“As it stands now, Brock’s life has been deeply altered forever by the events of Jan 17th and 18th.”
Because of what HE CHOSE TO DO, sir. Choice is a word you have seemed to exempt from your vocabulary.
“He will never be his happy go lucky self with that easy going personality and welcoming smile. His every waking minute is consumed with worry, anxiety, fear, and depression. You can see this in his face, the way he walks, his weakened voice, his lack of appetite.”
He will walk normally again, his voice will come back less hoarse, he will start to eat again. As will the victim. But the difference is, she didn’t choose this way of life. She didn’t choose the night terrors that will come, the daily reminders of your son plastered everywhere. She will be consumed with worry from strangers, develop anxiety and depression from what happened and lose the confidence she worked hard her entire life to gain. She didn’t choose this. She didn’t choose to be raped.
“Brock always enjoyed certain types of food and is a very good cook himself. I was always excited to buy him a big ribeye steak to grill or to get his favorite snack for him. I had to make sure to hide some of my favorite pretzels or chips because I knew they wouldn’t be around long after Brock walked in from a long swim practice.”
I don’t care if your son was a good cook. I don’t care if he liked his steak cooked rare or well done. I’m not even sure why pretzels and chips are part of this conversation. Her life is not defined by pretzels and chips. Her life is defined by her accomplishments, dreams, and aspirations. This victim will no longer enjoy things in her life the way she used to because your son took that from her. He just broke her mind, body, and soul and that is one of the hardest things to come back from. I won’t feel sorry he has no desire for pretzels and chips.
“These verdicts have broken and shattered him and our family in so many ways.”
From the moment your son made the decision he did was the same moment that he permanently damaged another individual. Verdicts and sentences are temporary and tangible, they can be explained and justified in a court of law. They can be read on paper. I cannot speak for the victim, but I can imagine the verdict is sickening to her, knowing he is not getting the full punishment. Because her punishment is not tangible. It can’t be explained or justified. Her punishment is forever, and can’t be overturned by a jury rule.
“His life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. This is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”
20 minutes. 20 plus years.The fact that you define this issue in seconds is a testament to the simple fact that you are ignorant. The victim will be emotional scarred for the rest of her life. Not 20 minutes, not 20 plus years-the rest of her life.
“The fact that he now has to register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life forever alters where he can live, visit, work, and how he will be able to interact with people and organizations.”
I want to focus on this single word. His. You are continually missing the “her” in this letter. “Her” is the reason he is a sex offender. “Her” is the reason he does not want pretzels and chips. “Her” is the victim, not your son. “Her” will have issues with serious relationship because of him. “Her” will have issues with intimacy, issue with trusting males. “Her” will have to speak about your son to her present and future significant others, even if she doesn’t because of your son and his actions.
“What I know as his father is that incarceration is not the appropriate punishment for Brock. He has no prior criminal history and has never been violent to anyone including his actions on the night of Jan 17th 2015.Brock can do so many positive things as a contributor to society and is totally committed to educating other college age students about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity. By having people like Brock educate others on college campuses is how society can begin to break the cycle of binge drinking and its unfortunate results.”
It is statements exactly like this why victims choose not to step forward. Your ignorance is truly saddening. I can’t help but be reminded of the dress codes in grade school how one would shame and embarrass a young girl for what she is wearing because “boys will be boys.” Boys are not rapists. Boys are boys. We should be teaching all boys and young men to treat girls and women with respect.
“Probation is the best answer for Brock in this situation and allows him to give back to society in a new positive way.”
I would have to disagree. This is the worst possible way, Your son took away happiness, peace of mind, the ability to enjoy the little things in life from the victim. She will be constantly haunted by this for the entirety of her life. And now she knows that he is out lurking on the streets with his rights, and his snacks.
These statements are coming from a victim. I have been a victim for 10 years. That is a decade Mr. Turner. I myself was not brave enough to come out to anyone when I was attacked. I have been struggling with this since the day it happened. I did not tell anyone for almost 5 years. I was ashamed, which I now know I should not have been. I did not do anything wrong, I was the one that said no and to stop. My attacker is wrong, he should feel ashamed for what he did to me. For how he destroyed me, how he took away the light in my life. If you knew me you would now I can be dark, defensive and have a hard time being personable because of what happened to me. I blocked it out, at least I tried.
I ended up with severe anxiety and depression. I was in therapy and medicated for it for years. I could eat pretzels, chips, and steaks, but I will never get back the piece of me that he took.
To this day only several people close to me know what happened. Not even my own parents know. How do you tell them something like that? I didn’t tell them because I am afraid it will hurt them as much it does me. I still have problems with male figures in my life. Even the ones closest to me. I have better days than I do badly, but don’t you dare doubt for a second it does not affect my life any more.
So for one brief moment, Mr. Turner, forget about your son. Think of his victim, think of me, and think of the other victims.
This is not just a problem at Stanford, not just a problem at colleges, not just a problem in a town or city, not just a problem in a single state or country.
Please just think for one moment all the victims that did not make it, the ones that cannot come forward, the ones that have come forward and justice has not been served. So coming from someone that was attacked the same way your son attacked that victim, I urge you to reconsider your letter. What does is say to the victims? We have a justice system for a reason and you sir are trying to cheat that and take away a victims rights.
Just think if this victim did not have the bravery to come forward and go through with this, what your son would have thought. If there are no consequences for ones actions, those actions will most certainly be done again. This is not a letter to you, Mr. Turner. This is a statement, a statement from a victim, a statement from a young woman who still suffers from the nightmare 10 years later and will for the rest of my life.
A victim that is still not willing to put a name and face to my story, but willing to show just how much this kind of trauma puts on someone’s life. I truly hope you are enlightened by this statement Mr. Turner.