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Dear Brock Turner

Dear Brock,

I do not know you personally, only though what I have read in the media.  This is probably a good thing since it must be very difficult for everyone who knows you to have had to deal with your actions.  I am writing to you, not to rant and rage, but to explain how I feel about what you did and the aftermath.

You sexually assaulted a young woman behind a dumpster while she was unconscious.  You said that she fell because she was drunk, but instead of helping her, you decided to violate her.  You were seen by two guys who stopped you from running away.  Since the attack did not meet California guidelines, you were not convicted of rape.  Then, because you were a great swimmer and had a clean record, you were given a six month sentence.  Finally, you were released from jail after just three months for good behavior.

Three months.  That was all the time you spent in jail for raping a young woman.  Let’s look at something that happened during those three months:  75,000 women in the US were raped.  That is the number pf assaults, just in the U.S., that were reported. Therefore, the number is probably higher since so many assaults go unreported.  There are many reasons why rapes go unreported, one of them being that some cases are treated like yours and this dissuades the victims from coming forward.

I am a junior in college and I live on campus, which makes me vulnerable to attacks like the one you perpetrated.  In a time when women are not meant to feel like objects, we have all been informed that our dignity and the rights to our bodies are only worth a three month prison sentence.  That’s it.  That is not as long as some people can get for spraying painting graffiti.  We have been shown that even though assailants like you ruin the lives of young women, your life is protected against total ruin because it was only “20 minutes of action”.  Your “20 minutes of action” took one young woman’s life and turned it into a nightmare.  Your “20 minutes of action” made it clear to female college students that one of the worst case scenarios of reporting an assault can become a reality.  No appropriate consequences for the perpetrator.  Your “20 minutes of action” also showed that being a good swimmer is so important that almost every headline and article  will mention that no only did you assault someone, but also that you know how not to drown in a pool. 

I won’t go into all the psychological and physical effects or rape and sexual assaults, that would take the rest of my college career and beyond.  Let’s just say that you will never be able to understand the trauma and pain you decided to put a girl through just so you could ‘get some’.  You may think your life is ruined because you can’t go back to Stanford and continue your studies and swim, and that people across the world now know what you did and may have strong feelings toward you, but honestly? Let’s be real, you got off lightly.  You got three months in jail while some kids get 2 years for drug offences or for robbing a store for food.  You made the choice to violate a young lady, and you should have been forced to face the consequences but you got off lightly.

You can probably tell that your case bothers me, and that I do not have any sympathies with you.  I am on the side of the victim and the two amazing heroes who saved her and chased you down.  It saddens me to know that this is the sad reality of the rape culture on US College Campuses.  I hate that alcohol, clothing and everything but the rapist are blamed because that option “is not fair for the guy”.  I understand that you have a right to freedom like every other citizen of the US, but so does that young lady and you took that away from her.

So, while you are free from jail and are on probation, I am being shown that apparently drinking, clothing, and the victim cause rape, not the rapists.  I am also being shown that being unconscious is apparently an invitation for guys like you.  So before you complain about your sentence Brock, remember how you have ruined that young lady’s life and that her “sentence” will never be over.

Sincerely,

A college girl

After living in 3 different countries including 3 different states in the USA, it is no surprise that Roisin Gibbons decided to come to the nation's capitol to pursue a career in Social Work at CUA. Whil she did run away to Australia, her love for DC and the HC family brought her back home. Now a semester away from her senior year, Roisin is a HerCampus CUA writer, Co-President of CSWNA, Active Minds Fundraising Chair, and Marketing Chair for NRHH. Along with that, her own blog and volunteer experiences, she finds time to be a fashionista, singer, adventurer, and model for GUS Vintage Goods in California over school breaks. Roisin hopes to make a difference for victims of human trafficking and alcohol and drug addiction as a Social Worker and believes that her work with communities and blogging has put her ahead of the game. 
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