Brock Turner: The rape case that shocked the world

Published Tuesday, Jun 28 2016, 20:00 BST  |  By  |  Add comment
A US judge's decision to give Brock Turner a measly six-month jail sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman caused uproar, but now the powerful words from his victim's statement have gone viral...

Around 1am on January 18 2015, two Stanford University graduates were biking across campus when they spotted a man on top of an unconscious woman beside a skip.

They intervened and he tried to flee, but they chased, caught up and restrained him.

Afterwards, they found the woman curled up in the foetal position – her dress was pulled up to her waist, her underwear discarded, and her hair dishevelled and covered in pine needles.

Her attacker was later identified as 20-year-old Brock Turner, a champion swimmer at the prestigious university – a point that was repeatedly brought up at his subsequent trial.

In March 2016, Turner was convicted of three sexual assault charges. Despite facing a possible 14 years in prison, the judge sentenced him to just six months in jail and three years' probation.

He claimed he'd been more lenient with Turner because a harsher sentence would have had a 'severe effect' on the swimmer.

Unsurprisingly, this sparked anger on social media. After all, why should Turner be let off lightly just because he was a star athlete?

Here, we delve into the details of this complex case...

TURNER'S DEFENCE

When Brock Turner's statement to the judge was released to the public, there was public outcry. Not only did the statement seem to show a complete lack of remorse, he also seemed unable to accept his crime.

Instead, he blamed college party culture for what happened, not once using the word "rape" or "assault".

He says, "I would give anything to change what happened that night. I drank too much and my decisions hurt someone. At this point in my life, I never want to drink a drop of alcohol again."

Later, his father, Dan Turner, added further insult to injury when he penned a letter to the judge defending his son.

He claimed he'd already paid a steep price for what he described as "20 minutes of action". His choice of words were not only offensive, but completely missing the point.

Earlier this month, prosecutors released the powerful 12-page statement that was read out in court by Turner's 23-year-old victim.

Her words have since gone viral, showing the world has finally sat up and listened.

She began, "You don't know me but you've been inside me, and that's why we're here today."

In the incredibly powerful essay that followed, his victim ripped into Turner. 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.

"Your damage was concrete; stripped of titles, degrees, enrolment. 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 also spoke about the night of the attack where she'd been at a fraternity party with her younger sister before waking up to find herself in hospital.

S"I had dried blood and bandages on the backs of my hands and elbow. Then I felt pine needles scratching the back of my neck and started pulling them out my hair. My brain was talking my gut into not collapsing."

She continued, "I had multiple swabs inserted into my vagina and anus, needles for shots, pills, had a Nikon pointed right into my spread legs.

"I had long, pointed beaks inside me and had my vagina smeared with cold, blue paint to check for abrasions."

It was only a week later, when she was at work, that she realised the full extent of what had happened as she read a news report on her phone.

She said, "I learned for the first time about how I was found unconscious... that I was butt naked all the way down to my boots, legs spread apart, and had been penetrated by a foreign object by someone I did not recognise."

Her haunting statement also revealed her trauma at being cross-examined in court.

She continued, "I was pummelled with narrowed, pointed questions that dissected my personal life, love life, past life, family life, inane questions, accumulating trivial details to try and find an excuse for this guy who had me half-naked before even bothering to ask for my name.

"You have been convicted of violating me, intentionally, forcibly, sexually, with malicious intent, and all you can admit to is consuming alcohol.

"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."

Finally, she reached out to survivors of sexual assault. "To girls everywhere, I am with you. On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought every day for you. So never stop fighting. I believe you."

If you've been a victim of rape or would like support, you can contact Rape Crisis.

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