-trigger warning, mentions rape/victim blaming/some language-
I’m going to open up here by saying that as a kid, I had always wanted to be a lawyer. From when I was seven, to when I was a junior in high school, I thought I knew what I wanted to be. I had my life plan figured out. I thought it would be amazing to fight for justice, defend the law, and act on my morals as i saw fit. I thought I would grow up fighting for things I believed in, fighting for what’s right. I believed that, eventually, I would become a judge, and have a greater sphere of influence that could expand my ideas and my beliefs on morality (and however situational they may be).
I was… so wrong. When I heard about cases like this Stanford student case, I began to question my career goal. It changed, because I no longer felt that lawyers were all like I had idolized them to be (though some absolutely are, I’m sure, too many aren’t. Too many.). There were too many instances in which lawyers would have to defend criminals or accuse innocents. They weren’t defending what I thought was morally acceptable. In some cases, they weren’t even really defending the law, and judges didn’t help. Some would rule in the criminal’s favor, and justice wouldn’t be met even though the evidence would have been more than adequate. In reality, things like bribes and privilege exists, and it opened my eyes to the dark side of the world. It seems like an exaggeration, I’m sure, but I assure you it is not. It is so very real.
This case has been circulating on social media and all around the news and internet for a few days now, and it really resonates with me. I’m a college student, I’m a sorority girl, and yes I attend social gatherings, as do many of my friends (Greek life or otherwise). Though I usually am DD, it’s often that I’m tired because it’s so late, therefore I’m a lot easier to take advantage of. I usually only go to parties where I know all, if not almost all, of the guys, and am close with them, or have a group of friends who won’t leave my side for ANY reason (buddy system is NO JOKE). Though I say that it’s simply because it’s more fun that way (shy girl, here!) it’s probably subconsciously because I’m afraid. If something were to happen and I were abused… I don’t think I would have faith in the system. While supporters do exist, so do victim blamers and so do judges like Aaron Persky.
I have already ranted to so many people about this topic.. but for me, it’s not enough until something changes. This subject makes me so emotional, because it really shows just how little we have progressed as a nation, and displays just how big of a problem rich white male privilege is, as well as victim blaming.
An open letter to Turner’s father: The fact that Turner had been accused of three other felonies, and is still somehow let off with only six months astounds me. Daddy-o says prison would be too hard on him? Oh, God, just cry me a river and build a fucking bridge and get over it. Mind the language, but are you kidding? A poor girl’s life is ruined. She probably won’t feel the same joy, probably won’t enjoy the same activities, and will probably be scarred and traumatized for a long, long time (if not for life) because of your son raping her. No, not “20 minutes of action” as you so GRACIOUSLY called it. RAPE. It’s not sex, it’s rape. It was not consensual, she wasn’t even awake. And pardon me, but who would choose to sleep with such a monster like your son? Hopefully no one after this. Your son is a criminal and a rapist. You just defended a criminal and a rapist. Sure, I get family is important. Isn’t it just lovely knowing that the Turner name will now be associated with a rapist who got off too easily and the dumb father that defended him because he couldn’t enjoy his fucking steaks? How about the girl your son raped who can’t enjoy much at all, let along fancy ass steaks? What if you had a daughter, Mr. Turner? I don’t believe you would defend her rapist this way, OR be calling it “20 minutes of action”. I believe you would see it as what it was- rape. Just because your son doesn’t go to Stanford anymore or may not be an athlete or enjoy swimming anymore doesn’t mean he isn’t a rapist. He should get the same sentence as any other racist. He is not some baby that didn’t know what he was doing. He had THREE priors and is 20 years old. I’m just sorry you couldn’t raise him better. But really, I guess the apple just doesn’t fall far from the tree. In this case, they’re both rotten inside and out. I hope that one day you can see that. I know if it were my son, who I hopefully raised to be a lot better than this, I would think whatever sentence he got was appropriate, no matter how shaken he may be. He behaved wrongly and disgustingly, and should be punished accordingly. I can only hope he would be a better person after. However, no son of mine will EVER mistreat a girl like that and get away with it so damn easily as your son did. A lesson needs to be taught and right now, your son is not. He’s learning that rape is okay, and that daddy will defend him. If it was your daughter that was raped by a boy while she was unconscious, no chance to fight back and protect her body, Mr. Turner, would you still be defending him? Hopefully you told your son not to drop the soap in prison. Then again, at least he’d still be able to defend himself where an unconscious girl couldn’t against your son. See? Even in jail somehow he’s better off than what he did to an innocent woman. Great parenting skills, I gotta say. (Just kidding, they’re some of the worst. Get you and your son off your imaginary pedestal you seem to believe you’re atop.)
And Judge Persky. I really hope there were some massive bribes, blackmail, at least SOMETHING that pressured you into cutting some slack, because if you came to this decision on your own, I have lost so much faith in justice. Do you know what the word means? It doesn’t mean that you relate to someone because you were also a while male athlete so you let them off, it means you send the rapist to jail for the 14 years it should have been because that’s all he is- a rapist. College athlete in the past. Sure, maybe hes an athlete and a rapist. Being an athlete doesn’t make you a boy who made a mistake. It makes you a rapist, a criminal that happens to be athletic as well. Oh, and you’re delighted this gets so much media attention, and you think this will make more victims step up? I don’t think so. I’m sorry, but in what right mind does this seem fair or like justice to you? It clearly isn’t that way to the majority of people. The only message this sends is that you’re an incompetent judge who really messed up, and made the wrong call. It’s not even a minor “boo boo”, it’s a big time mistake that you made. The attention of the decision YOU made just shows other victims and other, sadly, future victims and rapists that raping is okay. It shows that if you’re a rich white male, then it’s fine and you’ll get a sentence cut from 14 years to 6 months if you and your dad complain. What this shows is that even if someone has priors and the victim is UNCONSCIOUS, she’ll still be blamed, and justice will not prevail. Maybe you don’t understand because you don’t have a daughter. I understand trials and decisions are not supposed to be personally biased… but I feel like yours was anyway. Yours was biased towards the wrong side, though. I would like to think that you regret this choice and realize how stupid and unbecoming your “hooray for this case’s attention” statement was. However, at this point “sorry” doesn’t cut it. It won’t make up for this girl’s agony and it won’t stop the movement that is happening to end your position as a judge (and rightfully so). A rapist should never have a shorter sentence just because he may be traumatized or negatively affected by jail. Turner knew what he was doing. He is 20 years old. He is not a child. He raped a woman. He is getting away with a minor punishment. She is further hurt, and other victims are less likely to speak up because of this rekindled fear brought on by this case. Justice was not served, and it’s because of you and your decision. I’m glad we’re calling for a recall. If you want to look a little better in people’s eyes (since that seems to be what you really care about), just step down. Resign. Leave. Bye.
My hope is that everyone standing by this girl somehow works and gets her whatever justice could possibly be left. I hope that she sees we are on her side. I hope that other victims see we are on their side and will help them fight against the injustice that is the Turner men and Persky. I hope we never hear of cases and ruling like this again, however unlikely it may be. It is my hope.