Brock Turner, You Will Not Win This One

Brock Turner, You Will Not Win This One

Your case could be overturned, but your story will live on forever.
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In the early hours of January 18th, 2015, two lives were forever changed. One became a victim, the other a registered sex offender. The latter of the two most definitely deserves his new identity, but he should have paid a much higher price. Brock Turner, I have been following your case from the very beginning, and I have a few words for you.

For one reason or another, you do not think you should have to live with the weight of this case on your shoulders. Most recently, you have stated that you would like your case overturned, which ultimately means that you'd like to pretend as if all of this never happened.

You do not want to be known as the Stanford freshman who sexually assaulted someone outside of a fraternity house. I don't think that anyone would want that label, but you get what you give.

You are a coward. You are a predator. You are evil.

Your father believes that "20 minutes of action" was not enough to taint your reputation as the Stanford swimmer. You know what? Had you not made the conscientious decision to ultimately ruin somebody else's life, you could still be the Olympic-hopeful that everyone knew and loved.

You could've had it all.

Instead, you chose to rape an unconscious, intoxicated woman behind a dumpster and blame it on alcohol consumption and "sexual promiscuity," whilst also claiming that it was consensual. It's been said before, and I'll say it again:

Somebody who is under heavy influence of drugs and/or alcohol is not able to give proper consent.

No matter how much you'd like to believe she wanted it, too, she did not. She does not remember anything from the incident, and you knew that she likely had too much to drink, so you are the only one at fault here.

Do not blame this on any sexual tendencies she may have had, while at a BAC over three times the legal limit; she was incapable of giving ANY consent. How would you feel if you woke up in a hospital, only to find out later that you were raped at a frat party? Not only that, she was informed of this through the internet and television news.

I want you to take a moment to think about how traumatizing this must have been for her.

Judge Persky was concerned that an actual prison sentence would have "a severe impact" on you, never mind the fact that there is someone out there who probably lost countless hours of sleep because of what you did to her.

Hopefully, you were listening to her 7,000-word statement that she read to you directly at your sentencing on June 2, 2016. Having read the whole thing myself, I found it to be very powerful and emotional, but one of the opening lines is the most iconic by far:

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

That in itself is enough reason for you to live with the consequences of your actions.

You claim that you would “give anything to change what happened," but would you really? If so, with whose wellbeing in mind? What you did was outwardly selfish, inhumane, and wrong. I'm not sure how many times you'll need to be told that before you finally accept the punishments you HAVE been given.

For what it's worth, you received a VERY lenient punishment. You were sentenced six months in a county jail — not even a federal prison — to only serve half of that due to "good behavior"? Meanwhile, the woman you inflicted inexplicable pain upon will deal with what happened for the rest of her life.

You may be known as the former Stanford swimmer, but you will ALWAYS be a registered sex offender in the state of Ohio. Unfortunately, your previous credentials will always remain with you in the eyes of society, but it does not change the fact that what you did is irreversible.

If anything, following your story has taught me that some things in life are simply unfair. I hope that you will eventually accept that what you did was wrong and that you'll strive to become a better person. I think that would be a long shot, as you will never be able to erase what you did. That in itself could never excuse the injustices your victim faced through all of this, but I hope she knows that there are so many people on her side. Though her identity remains anonymous to the public, she prevailed with dignity, strength, and courage, and she set an example for sexual assault victims nationwide to speak up.

You will not win this one, Mr. Turner.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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6 Things You Should Know About The Woman Who Can't Stand Modern Feminism

Yes, she wants to be heard too.

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2018 is sort of a trap for this woman. She believes in women with all of the fire inside of her, but it is hard for her to offer support when people are making fools of themselves and disguising it as feminism.

The fact of the matter is that women possess qualities that men don't and men possess qualities that women don't. That is natural. Plus, no one sees men parading the streets in penis costumes complaining that they don't get to carry their own fetus for nine months.

1. She really loves and values women.

She is incredibly proud to be a woman.

She knows the amount of power than a woman's presence alone can hold. She sees when a woman walks into a room and makes the whole place light up. She begs that you won't make her feel like a "lady hater" because she doesn't want to follow a trend that she doesn't agree with.

2. She wants equality, too

She has seen the fundamental issues in the corporate world, where women and men are not receiving equal pay.

She doesn't cheer on the businesses that don't see women and men as equivalents. But she does recognize that if she works her butt off, she can be as successful as she wants to.

3. She wears a bra.

While she knows the "I don't have to wear a bra for society" trend isn't a new one, but she doesn't quite get it. Like maybe she wants to wear a bra because it makes her feel better. Maybe she wears a bra because it is the normal things to do... And that's OK.

Maybe she wants to put wear a lacy bra and pretty makeup to feel girly on .a date night. She is confused by the women who claim to be "fighting for women," because sometimes they make her feel bad for expressing her ladyhood in a different way than them.

4. She hates creeps just as much as you do. .

Just because she isn't a feminist does not mean that she is cool with the gruesome reality that 1 in 5 women are sexually abused.

In fact, this makes her stomach turn inside out to think about. She knows and loves people who have been through such a tragedy and wants to put the terrible, creepy, sexually charged criminals behind bars just as bad as the next woman.

Remember that just because she isn't a feminist doesn't mean she thinks awful men can do whatever they want.

5. There is a reason she is ashamed of 2018's version of feminism.

She looks at women in history who have made a difference and is miserably blown away by modern feminism's performance.

Not only have women in the past won themselves the right to vote, but also the right to buy birth control and have credit cards in their names and EVEN saw marital rape become a criminal offense.

None of them dressed in vagina costumes to win anyone over though... Crazy, right?

6. She isn't going to dress in a lady parts costume to prove a point.

This leaves her speechless. It is like the women around her have absolutely lost their minds and their agendas, only lessening their own credibility.

"Mom, what are those ladies on TV dressed up as?"

"Ummm... it looks to me like they are pink taco's honey."

She loves who she is and she cherished what makes her different from the men around her. She doesn't want to compromise who she is as a woman just so she can be "equal with men."

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Silenced

A reflection of my sixteen and a half years as a competitive gymnast, and the ways in which the system allowed monsters like Larry Nassar to thrive.

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"How could something like this happen?" I was asked, "Did you ever experience anything like this?"

These were the questions that followed me following Larry Nassar's whirlwind trial and subsequent sentencing. I never knew how to respond. Myself, along with so many gymnasts, were angry. Key word angry; shockingly, not surprised. The media pointed fingers at Nassar; yet, no one questioned the sport itself. During my time with USA Gymnastics, the organization supported an environment where coaches were free to physically and mentally abuse their athletes. I was one of those athletes, and this article is my story.

I started gymnastics at 18 months old with mommy-and-me classes. I was placed on "pre-team" (a precursor to the competition team) by age 4, and I started competing at age 6. Rather than birthday parties and playdates with friends, I spent up to 30 hours training in the gym each week. My best friends were my teammates, and I saw my coaches more than I saw my own parents. I was on the elite track at age 11; I was deemed an Olympic hopeful. The label appeared as a glowing achievement; upon reflection, however, being labeled as the "best" was not worth the physical and mental damage that ensued.

Gymnastics is more important than academics.

Gymnastics is more important than health.

Gymnastics is more important than happiness.

That was the rhetoric that our coaches instilled in us, and that was the rhetoric that silenced my voice.

At some point between ages 11 to 12, I tore my meniscus. I cannot pinpoint the exact moment since my injury was not diagnosed until I was 14 years old. I remember feeling my knee painfully pop and click whenever I ran, walked, or jumped. I can recall the searing pain that shot through my leg every time I landed a dismount, tumbling pass, or vault. I can vividly see my purple kneecap and blue toes after tightly taping my knee in a failed attempt to numb my pain. There were days when I could not walk. I was in sixth grade, hobbling down the stairs at school, struggling to make it to my next class without crying.

Even with all these blatant symptoms, my coaches did not believe me. I was told that I was faking my injury to get out of assignments, and that my body was hurting because I had gained weight. At the time, I weighed less than 100 pounds.

My meniscus tear later contributed to a series of other injuries. As I tried to compensate for the mounting pain in my knee, I subjected my other body parts to other injuries: one broken wrist, multiple sprained ankles, and two calcified achilles tendons. Each injury--barring my broken wrist--was written off as an excuse that should instead be attributed to a change in my weight.

Like many pre-teens, at age 13, I went through puberty. I gained some weight, but I was still small and athletic. My coaches, however, made me feel like a whale. I was pulled aside during my morning practice by my head-coach. She scolded me, "Your parents make a lot of sacrifices for you to attend this gym. You cannot be putting on weight; you're getting fat, and you need to lose the weight to be good."

I remember holding back tears and nodding. I could not fight back. I was small, demeaned, and hopeless--silenced.

Later that week, I met with a "diet specialist" who wanted to eradicate real, tangible food from my diet and replace it with powders and juices. I refused. Things went from bad to worse.

Corrections from my coaches turned into personal attacks. After I did not make a correction the first time, my vaulting coach snapped at me, "Are you retarded or something? It's a wonder that your parents send you to private school... It's clearly not paying off."

I nodded with tears in my eyes. I could not fight back.

I was not a stranger to harsh comments and punishment. On my thirteenth birthday, for example, I was told that I was not allowed to get off of the beam until I made thirteen flight series (my custom birthday present from my head coach) in a row. I could not get water, and I could not talk to anyone until the assignment was finished. Getting off would result in thirteen rope climbs. I spent over an hour standing on that beam; I was dizzy, tired, and trapped. Another day, I remember being forced to stay in our splits for over an hour of practice. Our legs were propped up on 8 inch mats, and our arms were forced to stay elevated above our heads. I recall not being able to walk the next day since my hamstrings were effectively overstretched on both sides. Another time, a plastic Nalgene water bottle was thrown at us as we stood on the beams. What about the time that my friend was yanked off the ground and yelled at after ramming her ribcage into the beam?

I could not do it anymore; however, gymnastics was an integral piece of my identity, and I did not know how to leave the sport behind. Thus, after talking to my parents, I decided to move gyms. My knee injury was diagnosed and repaired, and after multiple cortisone shot treatments, my achilles pain became manageable. I was happier. I had a coach who taught me to own my voice. He reminded me that my feelings were valid, and he gave me a sense of individual purpose--a purpose to stay strong and never let anyone silence my pain again.

In short, I was not surprised by Larry Nassar. The environment in which gymnasts survive is toxic; our voices are obliterated and oppressed. Nassar's abuse, an abuse that many of my teammates and friends survived, thrived in this preferred system of silence. I am tired of silence, and I invite other gymnasts to share their stories too--here's to breaking that silence.

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