Right now, you’re getting a lot of things thrown your way. You’re getting sympathy from those who take your side. They tell you that you were wronged, and they tell you that you don’t deserve this. You had a bright future ahead of you, and they’re fighting for you to get that back. You’re getting hatred from people across the country as well. Those who feel you were wrong have vocalized that very clearly, and I’m sure you can feel their anger radiating towards you. What you’re not getting from anyone, though, is an apology. I am here to apologize.
You see, Brock, I think someone should apologize to you. What an inconvenience this must be for you. Six months in prison? That is sure to throw off your no longer existent Olympic training schedule. In fact, we should be apologizing to this country. It’s absolutely wrong of us to rob US citizens of a potential Olympic athlete. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if our athletes are rapists, so long as they can represent our country by winning us a medal. Right? I guess USA Swimming would disagree.
Anyway, as Judge Persky has already pointed out, this time in prison could have a “severe” impact on your life. It must be so hard for you. Your life is never going to be the same, what with a criminal record and all. Sure, your victim’s life has changed. She’ll probably spend the next few months struggling to be around males. But how much could that affect her? I mean, that’s only 50 percent of the population. She’ll probably spend a couple of years not able to be in a relationship. That’s okay, though, right? Nothing wrong with being single. She’s could struggle the rest of her life whenever her spouse goes to kiss her, to smooth her hair, or to hold her. Every time she has intercourse from this point on could bring traumatic flashbacks, and the smallest things could trigger PTSD. She’ll spend the rest of her life with people telling her it was her fault. She shouldn’t have “provoked you.” She should’ve dressed more conservatively. And she certainly shouldn’t have been drunk. I mean, if you’re drinking, you should pretty much assume you’re going to be raped. Although, I guess that doesn’t apply to you. She will struggle to let others in, she will struggle to trust, and she will struggle to feel her body is her own. But hey, it’s just her body. What claim does she really have to it? She will always feel vulnerable and exposed. She will face a hurt you could never understand the rest of her life. You physically and mentally shattered her in a way you’ll never experience.
Still, it’s you we should be apologizing to. As you so kindly explained, you are emotionally damaged, as well. "During the day, I shake uncontrollably from the amount I torment myself by thinking about what has happened. I can barely hold a conversation with someone without having my mind drift into thinking these thoughts. They torture me. I go to sleep every night having been crippled by these thoughts to the point of exhaustion." My gosh, you poor thing. You don’t think there’s any chance that your victim could be experiencing this same thing, do you? Amplified by about one hundred? She might be the one who has to live with the wrongs someone else inflicted on her, but you have to live with inflicting those wrongs. What a terrible, mixed up world we live in where someone could possibly not recognize how much greater your pain is in comparison to your victim’s pain.
You’ve also said that you “want no one, male or female, to have to experience the destructive consequences of making decisions while under the influence of alcohol.” Yet another inconvenience for you, of course. You were referring to the destructive consequences of the decision you made while under the influence of alcohol, while she did not get to make the decision at all. People will blame her for drinking alcohol, but by your use of the words decision, you just admitted you were coherent enough to make a choice. She was not.
So here is my apology to you, Brock Turner. I am sorry that you have people in your life like your father and friend who encourage leniency and insist you should not be held accountable for your actions. It is actually pitiable that you’ve been raised to believe your desire for intercourse-whether that be consensual sex or rape-is above everyone else’s basic human rights and dignity.I am sorry that somehow, this idea was perpetuated rather than destroyed as it should have been. Many people don't know this, but your mother wrote her own letter saying you were just trying to fit in, and your sister blames your alcohol consumption. I am sorry for this, as well. I doubt your parents or sister would feel the same way if you or your sister had been the one who was raped. You grew up surrounded by rape culture, and I do genuinely apologize that you saw this as the norm, that you were exposed to so much victim blaming. But I am more sorry that you never bothered to listen to anything that opposed this culture. That somehow, you couldn’t follow the logical progression of yes means yes. You managed to think that silence meant yes. Or maybe that no meant yes. I am sorry that you think blaming alcohol for your behavior is acceptable, and I am sorry that society continually uses alcohol as in excuse in rape cases.
I am genuinely sorry that this horrific event occurred at all. I wish it could be undone, and at this point, I’m sure you do, too. Don’t get me wrong, I still hold you accountable. But I do wish things could be different. You’ve said that you regret your decision, Brock. You’ve said you never want to drink another drop of alcohol again, and you claim you understand you’ve hurt someone.I hope that you truly recognize what you have done, and I hope this recognition came from the pain you caused your victim rather than the repercussions your actions have had academically and athletically. So please, apologize to her. Your words can’t cover your actions, but she deserves an apology.