Dear Mr. Turner,
I would like to write a letter to you in response to your letter about your son, Brock Turner, who was recently convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman in January of 2015. And I would just like to say that I feel for your son.
This occurrence with Brock happened approximately five months after I was sexually assaulted. I was nineteen years old, and it was technically my first kiss (I realize this is hard to imagine for folk such as yourself, as I doubt you confer with anyone who does not have a connection to Greek life from a prestigious university).
You mention that your son lost his appetite, which I completely understand. I have a physical disability, and despite the fact that I can’t move incredibly well, I have always enjoyed the concept of knowing that my body is mine and that I have control over it. After having that callously ripped from me, I too lost my appetite. I didn’t want to talk to anyone.
I was no longer the optimistic young girl that I had walked into that situation as before.
I understand that Brock now has to register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life, which, while I am not on any sort of criminal registry such as that one, I understand the feeling. For the rest of my life, I have to walk around with the burden of being “damaged goods.” My first intimate/sexual experience with any sort of fellow human was marred by the fact that he abused me, and now, I have to tell my current boyfriend and all potential lovers that I do have this history. No, I don’t have to walk around my neighborhood and tell everyone that I once stuck my fingers inside of a passed out woman at a fraternity party at age eighteen,
But I do have to live with the fact that I sometimes have to tell my boyfriend to stop touching me because I am having flashbacks.
Finally, you mention that his life will never be what he dreamed of, and wouldn’t you know it, neither will mine! My life was forever altered when I was assaulted. Mine was altered, though, in a less literal sense. I just had to deal with feeling dirty and tarnished for eight months before I called my father sobbing. In a lot of ways, I still feel unclean.
But here’s the thing, Mr. Turner. While Brock may have to go to jail and I will continue to live my life, my life was altered forever through no choice of my own. Brock chose to assault a woman, at the age of eighteen, because your son is a pathetic excuse for a human being.
So maybe I don’t feel sorry for your son (spoiler alert: I think he’s awful). But I do feel sorry for you, Mr. Turner. I feel sorry that you think that because your son was “promising” and popular he should be able to do whatever he wants. I feel sorry that you think that rape culture doesn’t exist. And I feel really sorry if you have any daughters, or young women you’re close with. Because if it happens to them, they are sure to blame themselves and eventually wonder, “Why do I still feel so terrible?”
So, Mr. Turner, I rest my case.