Here I am, still coming to grips with the fact that Stanford rapist Brock Turner is walking free today, and I find out that he is getting to travel to college campuses across the country to speak to students about “the dangers of party culture, alcohol, and promiscuity.”
I’ve always tried to hold onto the faith that there’s some good inside of everyone—even the people who commit the most heinous crimes. So when Turner embarks on this speaking tour, I’m hoping, I’m praying, that these are the things he’ll say—the only words I want to hear from him:
I want to hear him admit he was wrong. I want to hear him own up to his disgusting actions and take the responsibility he’s been running from like a cowardly child. I want him to state what seems to be obvious to everyone but him—that sexual assault is sexual assault regardless of whether or not alcohol was involved, and that it is not an acceptable excuse.
Most of all, though, I want Turner to do more than just apologize to his victim because a mere apology is not enough. I want him to acknowledge the fact that what he did to her changed her life in the worst possible way. Simply saying sorry for his actions doesn’t cut it, because for rape victims, when the horrifying experience of unwanted penetration ends, it is only the beginning of a world of pain in many ways. No, what I want to hear is an apology for the lasting impact his actions had and will always have on her, an acknowledgement of his upheaval of the life she had come to know. An acknowledgement that what he did stripped her of not only her rights, but of her personhood and stability as well. And an acknowledgement that being raped by him is now an experience that is burned into this woman’s memory.
These are the only words that could even begin to make up for Turner’s crime—the only words, in my eyes and the eyes of all the American public, that could begin to make him worthy of redemption.