Public testimonies were relied on by Judge Aaron Persky in the case of former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner, convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. But nothing was as loud and as resounding as the letter the victim read to Turner in court. Will people be seeing the face of this very strong soul?
One of these testimonies was of Turner’s father, and the other was of a close friend. But two official letters, addressed to Persky, have also been written by the hundreds of Stanford students and alumni. Led by campus sexual assault prevention groups like Stanford Association of Students for Sexual Assault Prevention, Stanford “Scary Path” Initiative, and the Stanford Fearless Conference on Sexual Assault Prevention and Education, hundreds of students added their signatures to the letter.
These letters emphasize the impact that a milder sentence can have. “If the court imposes a light sentence on Mr. Turner it will send a dangerous message to other students that in the eyes of the law, ‘party rape’ is not really a serious crime,” the letter reads. “It will treat a campus assault as somehow less serious than one that occurs off campus.”
The letters also highlight the mandatory training regarding sexual consent that Turner underwent at Stanford. “Mr. Turner received extensive training on consent. This is not a case of someone who just didn’t know what he was doing and made a mistake,” the letter reads.
Speaking about a lenient sentence, Stanford law professor Michele Dauber said in an interview with ThinkProgress.org, “If you commit a sexual assault on Stanford grounds, lucky you.” The letters, moreover, also emphasize that a light sentence would discourage rape victims to report their attacks.
Brock Turner victim chose to remain anonymous
“I remain anonymous, yes to protect my identity. But it is also a statement, that all of these people are fighting for someone they don’t know. That’s the beauty of it. I don’t need labels, categories, to prove I am worthy of respect, to prove that I should be listened to. I am coming out to you as simply a woman wanting to be heard. Yes there is plenty more I’d like to tell you about me. For now, I am every woman,” statement from the victim that was acquired through the prosecutor as reported by KTVU.