The Stanford Rape Case

December 13, 2017

A night of dancing at a campus party quickly turned into a night of misfortune and misery for an unnamed rape victim. The 23-year-old expected to have a fun night of meeting new people and having new experiences. She had a new experience, but it is one that will forever be burned into her memory. Brock Turner, a freshman at Stanford University, attended a party on January 17, 2015 and had a night full of partying and drinking just like any other college student. This played into his “bad decision” (as claimed by Dan Turner, Brock’s father) of sexually assaulting a 23-year-old behind a dumpster on campus. He was ordered to stop by two bystanders who were biking past when the event took place. Brock was shocked and turned to flee before being tackled by one, while the other male went to help the unconscious woman.

After a hospital visit and a rape kit, accompanied with documentation of the aftermath, the victim took Turner to court over the assault. The case dragged on, and Dan Turner wrote a letter for the judge and jury explaining his son’s regret for what happened and how it wasn’t worth the “20 minutes of action.” Dan’s letter spoke of how his son will “never be his happy-go-lucky self with that easy going personality and welcoming smile.” He said his son was “no longer living, only a shell of his former self, eating, breathing, sleeping only to survive.”

A letter from the victim surfaced three days later, stating that Turner “did not know me, but has been inside me.” The victim said, “I want to take my body off like a jacket and leave it at the hospital with everything else.” Her letter spoke of how she only attended the party so that she could spend more time with her younger sister, and that she wasn’t really a party person. She admitted to drinking more than she should have, “I made silly faces, let my guard down, drank too much liquor too fast, not factoring in my tolerance that had been significantly lower since college.” She then said she doesn’t remember what happened but only recalls waking up “in a gurney in a hallway.” The victim wrote that she did not know that she had been raped, she had remained calm thinking that she had just fallen and scraped her elbows on the campus.

She was shocked when she was informed, by a deputy, that she had been raped, thinking that he must have been in the wrong room, talking to the wrong person. She assured herself that it hadn’t been her, and that she had no idea who anyone was at the party. But when she was admitted to use the restroom, she “pulled down the hospital pants they had given me, went to pull down my underwear and felt nothing.”

The victim thought at first that if she hadn’t had gone to the party, this wouldn’t have happened to her but she then realized that “it would’ve happened, it would have happened, just to somebody else.” She continued to say in her letter to Turner that, “you were about to enter four years of access to drunk girls and parties, and if that’s the foot you started off on, then it is right that you do not continue.” Her letter read that, “you do not get to shrug your shoulders and be confused anymore … you have been convicted of violating me with malicious intent, and all you can admit to is consuming alcohol. Do not talk about the sad way your life was upturned because alcohol made you do bad things.”

The Emily Doe (a name for unnamed people for the sake of privacy) wrote that Turner had told her that she wanted to show everyone that a night of drinking could ruin a life. “Ruin a life, one life, yours, you forgot about mine. Let me rephrase for you, I want to show people that one night of drinking can ruin two lives You and me. You are the cause and I am the effect.” She went on to say, “You have dragged me through this hell with you, dipped me back into that night again and again … Your damage was concrete; stripped of titles, degrees, enrollment. My damage was internal, unseen, I carry it with me. You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.”

Brock Turner never admitted or accepted responsibility of the rape of the unnamed victim and was sentenced to six months in prison (the average sentence for rape being five years) and a year of probation due to the judge, Judge Aaron Persky, claiming that “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him… I think he will not be a danger to others.”  The judge was afraid of how prison might affect the swimmer’s future, and Turner was released from Santa Clara County Jail after only serving three months of his six month sentence on September 2, 2016.

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