The internet was rocked this week by the incredibly lenient sentencing of convicted rapist Brock Turner. A letter written by the victim has already been viewed millions of times. Now, a letter by Turner’s father has also been released, and it is the epitome of victim-blaming and rape culture.
As reported by Yahoo News, the last paragraph of the letter reads as follows, all spelling as originally written.
“As it stands now, Brock’s life has been deeply altered forever by the events of Jan 17th and 18th. He will never be his happy go lucky self with that easy going personality and welcoming smile. His every waking moment is consumed with worry, anxiety, fear, and depression. You can see this in his face, the way he walks, his weakened voice, his lack of appetite. Brock always enjoyed certain types of food, and is a very good cook himself. I was always excited to buy him a big ribeye steak to grill or get his favorite snack for him. I had to make sure to hide some of my favorite pretzels or chips because I knew they wouldn’t be around long after Brock walked in from a long swim practice. Now he barely consumes any food and only eats to exist. These verdicts have broken and shattered him and our family in so many ways. His life will never be the one he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of 20 years of his life. The fact that he now has to register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life forever alters where he can live, visit, work and how he will be able to interact with people and organizations. What I know as his father is that incarceration is not the appropriate punishment for Brock. He has no prior criminal history and has never been violent to anyone, including his actions on the night of January 17th, 2015. Brock can do so many positive things as a contributor to society and is totally committed to educating other college age students about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity. By having people like Brock educate others on college campuses is how society can begin to break the cycle of binge drinking and its unfortunate results. Probation is the best answer for Brock in this situation, and allows him to give back to society in a net positive way.”
Twitter immediately reacted with outrage.
The response isn’t limited to Twitter. As reported by the Huffington Post, Stanford students appeared in a recent video reacting to the verdict. Additionally, Stanford law professor Michael Dauber has been incredibly outspoken about the leniency and tacit support of rape culture shown by both the verdict and the Turner family’s response. He has even gone so far as to start a website dedicated to recalling the judge responsible for the sentencing.
Ironically, Dan Turner’s letter seems to support the allegations levied by the victim in the letter she wrote and then read at sentencing.
“You have been convicted of violating me, intentionally, forcibly, sexually, with malicious intent, and all you can admit to is consuming alcohol,” said the victim, now 23, in a statement read in court. “Do not talk about the sad way your life was upturned because alcohol made you do bad things. Figure out how to take responsibility for your own conduct.”
One of they key stones of rape culture is victim blaming and refusal to take responsibility for one’s actions. With the privilege shown in this case, the light sentence, and now Brock Turner’s support letter from his father, this rapist has inadvertently become the poster child for how rape culture is perpetuated.
[Image via arindambanerjee/Shutterstock]