Reading your letter to the judge was a punch to the gut. Personally, I cannot think of a greater violation to a person than being raped (second only to being murdered), and yet here you are, defending your friend Brock Turner, a convicted rapist. And your defense of Brock Turner does nothing but out you as a rape apologist..
Do you know what a rape apologist is? To put it simply, it’s someone who says that rape isn’t really rape, or that an accusation of rape is probably untrue. Which is what you’re doing in your letter, right? You’re claiming that your friend didn’t really rape anyone.
There are so many gross remarks in your letter that I would have to examine each sentence one by one to fully address it all. But I’ll just stick to a few.
You start off your letter by advocating for the squeaky clean, smart, respectable, and all-around good guy you know Brock to be. You even attach a picture of him that you took in high school, asking the judge to notice Brock’s “huge, loving smile.” Unfortunately, as the cliche goes, appearances aren’t always what they seem. For example, Ted Bundy was also known to wear a big, friendly smile and had a charming personality similar to how you describe your friend Brock. But Ted Bundy turned out to be a serial killer, and your friend Brock is a rapist. So, it looks like friendly demeanors do not always correlate to non-violent behavior. You also say you “never once caught him harassing anyone.” But who are you to think that just because you haven’t witnessed Brock rape someone, that he didn’t actually rape someone? You cannot possibly be that naive.
But you are obviously that brainwashed.
It has become more apparent lately that many young women such as yourself share this sort of internalized misogyny that persuades you to defend men accused of sexual assault. On a celebrity scale, we’ve seen this type of behavior in the high-profile Bill Cosby case with The View host Whoppi Goldberg insinuating that if the victims were telling the truth, they would have gone to the police immediately and had a rape kit test administered, but because they did not, their claims are questionable. In doing this, she automatically gives the rapist in question the benefit of the doubt instead of taking the victim’s word. Rape apologist. We also see it in the comments section of any news article reporting on a case of rape, where inevitably hundreds if not thousands of people will write things such as, “But she shouldn’t have been walking down the street alone;” or “Maybe she should have worn something different, perhaps a bit more covered up;” or “I’m not saying it’s her fault, but she shouldn’t have drank that much.” More rape apologists.
Your letter is akin to these sentiments. Ever heard of the term rape culture? It stems from this unrelenting sympathy towards rapists that is widespread in our society.
A more disturbing part of your letter is probably where you compare Brock’s act of sexual assault with “a woman getting kidnapped and raped as she is walking to her car in the parking lot. That is a rapist. These [Brock] are not rapists.” Leslie, this isn’t an episode of Law and Order. A rapist is not always the creepy, scraggly guy waiting for his victim in a dark corner of the subway. A rapist can be your teacher, your local Starbucks barista, your neighbor who waves at you from across the street.
In this case, he is your friend.
Sadly, the only time you even mention the actual rape victim directly in your letter is when you state that you “don’t think it’s fair to base the fate of the next ten + years of his [Brock’s] life on the decision of a girl who doesn’t remember anything but the amount she drank to press charges against him.” First of all, huh? The victim was found unconscious behind a dumpster with her clothes off! A traumatizing violation was imparted upon her. Your victim blaming is atrocious. Blaming it on alcohol is tired and boring. Do you know how many millions of people drink alcohol and manage not to rape anyone? They drink, get wasted, even blackout, and yet, they refrain from sexually assaulting other humans. When you think about it, it really is quite easy not to rape someone! You just simply… don’t do it.
The fact is that your dear friend Brock did rape an innocent woman that night. The only reason he stopped his assault was because he was caught by two other students, one of whom was almost too distraught to make a statement to the police. A jury of Brock’s peers later found him guilty of rape. Stop trying to make what happened seem like anything else but rape. Rape is vile and you’re vile for defending it. This young woman went to a party that night most likely to just have a good time. She did not make herself susceptible to rape by being at that party. She did not make herself susceptible to rape by drinking alcohol. She did not make herself susceptible to rape by blacking out.
Rapists are the only cause of rape. Nothing anyone does in this world is an invitation to be raped.
I read that you’re a drummer in a band with your two sisters. What if one of your sisters was a victim of rape? Would your rape apologist attitude continue? Would you blame it on party culture and alcohol? Or would you wake the fuck up and realize the severity of this issue? It shouldn’t have to come to that, of course. The victim shouldn’t have to be someone close to you for you to stop defending rapists. I know several of your gigs were cancelled because the concert venues claim a zero tolerance policy for rape apologists. Maybe a consequence like that is what you need to realize defending Brock Turner or any other rapist does nothing but harm the victim, future victims, and our society as a whole.