Sexual Assault Victim Shares Powerful Letter to Her Attacker After He Was Sentenced to Only 6 Months in Jail
Brock Turner was reportedly sentenced Thursday to six months in county jail and probation
While a former Stanford swimmer will reportedly serve only six months in jail for the public sexual assault of a woman outside a frat party in 2015, his victim is speaking out about the effects his assault has had on her life.
Brock Allen Turner, now 20, was charged with five felonies in January 2015 in connection with the sexual assault of a woman, now 23. This week, he was found guilty of three of those felonies – assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object.
But though prosecutors wanted Turner sentenced to six years for his crimes, according to the Mercury News, he was sentenced Thursday to six months in county jail and three years’ probation as the judge said a longer prison sentence would have a “severe impact” on him, according to The Guardian.
Turner’s victim told BuzzFeed she was unhappy with the “gentle” sentence.
“Even if the sentence is light, hopefully this will wake people up,” she said. “I want the judge to know that he ignited a tiny fire. If anything, this is a reason for all of us to speak louder.”
At his sentencing hearing Thursday, she addressed Turner directly, describing the “severe impact” she had suffered under his assault.
In the letter she read in court, released in full to BuzzFeed, Turner’s victim described how she learned long after the fact what, exactly, had happened to her – and the harrowing effects of the sexual assault that continue still.
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“When I read about [details of my attack], I said, this can’t be me, this can’t be me. I could not digest or accept any of this information,” she said. “I kept reading. In the next paragraph, I read something that I will never forgive; I read that according to him, I liked it.”
In her letter, she explained how the fact that she was unconscious during the assault, after being intoxicated, was used during the trial to cast doubt on the prosecution’s case.
“To sit under oath and inform all of us, that yes I wanted it, yes I permitted it and that you are the true victim attacked by Swedes [two people who spotted the assault and called for help] for reasons unknown to you is appalling, is demented, is selfish, is damaging,” she said. “It is enough to be suffering. It is another thing to have someone ruthlessly working to diminish the gravity of the validity of this suffering.”
She also addressed and challenged several of Turner’s statements made throughout the trial, including that “one night of drinking can ruin a life.”
“A life, one life, yours, you forgot about mine,” she said. “Let me rephrase for you, I want to show people that one night of drinking can ruin two lives. You and me. You are the cause, I am the effect. You have dragged me through this hell with you, dipped me back into that night again and again. You knocked down both our towers, I collapsed at the same time you did.”
Turner’s victim also struck back at the false equivalency between what Turner lost, following the assault, and what she did.
“If you think I was spared, came out unscathed, that today I ride off into the sunset, while you suffer the greatest blow, you are mistaken,” she said. “Nobody wins.
“Your damage was concrete; stripped of titles, degrees, enrollment. My damage was internal, unseen, I carry it with me. You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.”
She went on to express her disappointment with the “soft timeout” of Turner’s sentence and said that “he will not be quietly excused.”
She ended her letter with words of support for all other women in similar struggles.
“I hope that by speaking today, you absorbed a small amount of light,” she said, “a small knowing that you can’t be silenced, a small satisfaction that justice was served, a small assurance that we are getting somewhere, and a big, big knowing that you are important, unquestionably, you are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you.
“To girls everywhere, I am with you.”