I fumed when I learned of Brock Turner’s response. I seethed with anger at his father’s comments. I was floored a person in charge of extending the full strength of the law, whose job is to ensure the safety of society would choose 6 months of jail time as an acceptable punishment for rape. But mostly I thought of a twenty one year old girl who wore a thin sleeveless green sheath dress with her favorite brown open toed Enzo Angiolini wedge heels she bought with money earned waitressing and working at her University library.
The reality is when I heard “Emily Doe’s” letter I thought of myself.
The pain washed over me ten fold. The memories, though fleeting, of the events replay without warning in my mind. I never know what may set them off.
Why didn’t I ever say anything?
Why do 50-90% of rape victims not report a sexual violation? (according to a study at WVU.edu)
The answer lies in the powerful victim’s letter. How “Emily Doe” was treated, how she was poked, prodded and made to relive the horrors of that event. The depth of her emotions, the impact of his acts on herself and her family. The words her perpetrator’s father said in court, “20 minutes of action”, will no doubt linger forever.
That is why a slender, shy 21 year old never said anything. Why she woke up naked in a bed. Lying flat on her stomach, a worn cream sheet tossed over her with no regard. Her head pounding as she scanned the room. An old chair, overflowing with clothes sat tucked under a dormer, a hard wood floor showing signs of neglect, and a carpet too small for the space peaked out from under the wooden bed frame in a futile attempt to hide the signs of age. Slowly she pieced the events of the evening before together.
The last word she remembered slurring was, “NO!”
That horrified girl slinked from the queen bed nestled in the eaves of a mid 1900 white row house with black shutters and metal porch railway. She grabbed her clothes, and stole a glance over her shoulder at the tossed and tangled sheets. Moments flashed in her mind. She remembered dialing the cab, threatening to walk home. The creak of a stair case, an ornate turned oak banister, a dark red worn imitation Persian carpet guiding the way to the top.
I am that girl and I never said a word.
He got a pass because I was to scared of the judicial system. It was someone else’s word against my own. I knew my past indiscretions and life choices would be paraded out, portraying me in a light I didn’t want shone. I had seen it before. I was eleven years old when Jennifer Levin’s normal lifestyle was ripped to shreds in the mid 1980’s. The Preppy Killer trial. I knew what awaited me, and I couldn’t do it. And now, almost 20 years later nothing has changed.
Brock Turner sees nothing wrong in his actions. His excuse is he had too much to drink. His own father, the person who should lead him towards civility and success, has failed to teach him the most basic tenet of sexuality – Thou Shall Not RAPE.
The sentencing of Brock Turner with consideration to his long term impact by Judge Aaron Persky is an insult to Emily Doe and to all rape victims. Emily Doe represents all of us who have been violated. She eloquently expresses the degradation of rape victims. My heart goes out to Emily Doe. She is a warrior, regardless if she wanted to be one. She stood up for herself, and by doing so stood for all of us that cannot or could not find the strength.
It is time to stop the sexual violation of others. Alcohol is not an excuse. It wasn’t an excuse 20 years ago, and it isn’t today. The judicial system should stand up for those who can not, for those who did not, and for those who will not. We need to fight for all the “Emily Doe’s”, to confront all the “Brock Turners” of the world, and send a message to all the “Judge Aaron Persky’s” that rape is not ok. There are no excuses, and rapists should be prosecuted and held liable to the FULL EXTENT OF THE LAW.
We as a society are better than this. We should be greater than this. We are more than this.