"Lighthouses... just stand there shining."
June 3, 2016 6:18 PM   Subscribe

A former Stanford swimmer, Brock Turner, who sexually assaulted an unconscious woman was sentenced to six months in jail because a longer sentence would have “a severe impact on him,” according to a judge. At his sentencing Thursday, his victim read him a letter describing the “severe impact” the assault had on her. This article is a powerful but difficult read so please take care if accounts of sexual assault are triggering for you.
posted by orange swan (318 comments total) 124 users marked this as a favorite
 
No limit to the rage I feel.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:35 PM on June 3, 2016 [32 favorites]


The judge said he feared a longer sentence would have a “severe impact” on Turner...
This is my surprised face.
posted by Etrigan at 6:36 PM on June 3, 2016 [45 favorites]


nothing like a rage spiral to start your weekend off right
posted by dudley at 6:38 PM on June 3, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm actually surprised this could happen in 2016. In the 1950s, sure, in the 1970s, maybe, and even in the 1990s I could almost believe it. But now? I thought we were past this shit. Or at least, I'm surprised the judge had the temerity to say it; I can still imagine it happening quietly inside the judge's head (although I'd expect it more with a sport the public cared about).
posted by Mitrovarr at 6:39 PM on June 3, 2016 [7 favorites]


I was hoping this would show up here. It's a powerful essay, and I'm amazed by how well she's been able to write about it.

But...well, I hate that she has to be so poised and wise and strong in the face of all of this shit. Dammit.
posted by PearlRose at 6:49 PM on June 3, 2016 [32 favorites]


I love the image in my head of Turner having to sit silently in court listening while his victim told him in blistering detail what she thought about what he had to done to her. Maybe, just maybe, he'll start to clue the fuck in about what he's done and why it was wrong.
posted by orange swan at 6:53 PM on June 3, 2016 [7 favorites]


I hope that forevermore when someone searches his name, her statement is the first result. Her words should be the first thing anyone knows about him.
posted by gladly at 6:57 PM on June 3, 2016 [115 favorites]


orange swan: I love the image in my head of Turner having to sit silently in court listening while his victim told him in blistering detail what she thought about what he had to done to her. Maybe, just maybe, he'll start to clue the fuck in about what he's done and why it was wrong.

I wouldn't be too optimistic about that.

However, the following positives are likely to occur:

A. Assuming that's his real name, this is pretty likely to end up the #1 google result for it, forever.
B. The exposure is almost certainly going to destroy both his athetic and college potential.
C. The judge is likely to face substantial retaliation from the community, and might possibly lose his job over it.
D. If the judge violated sentencing policies/guidelines, it's possible the state could appeal.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:00 PM on June 3, 2016 [134 favorites]


From your lips, Mitrovarr.
posted by jeather at 7:02 PM on June 3, 2016 [29 favorites]


I fully respected his right to a trial, but even after twelve jurors unanimously convicted him guilty of three felonies, all he has admitted to doing is ingesting alcohol. Someone who cannot take full accountability for his actions does not deserve a mitigating sentence.

A guilty verdict and he's not even going to prison, six months in county jail.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 7:10 PM on June 3, 2016 [8 favorites]


Turner having to sit silently in court listening while his victim told him in blistering detail what she thought about what he had to done to her.

mine wasn't in a courtroom, but the reaction to me telling my first abuser (my brother) exactly how he had harmed me, and how that harm compounded every year, was his partner threatening my life. i have no indication he's felt a single speck of remorse then or now.
posted by nadawi at 7:11 PM on June 3, 2016 [14 favorites]


If you are a white, upper-class male in the United States, you can essentially do whatever you want to anybody that you want, and the consequences will be minimal to nonexistent.

This is the America that we have created.
posted by Tyrant King Porn Dragon at 7:15 PM on June 3, 2016 [25 favorites]


That was heartbreaking.
posted by graventy at 7:15 PM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


[Comment removed. If your primary interest in the thread is doing napkin math about whether or not it was reaaaaally rape, just skip it entirely.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:15 PM on June 3, 2016 [167 favorites]


According to this PDF, the judge in question is up for election this year. I wonder if anyone's running against him, and if not, can someone do that please?
posted by duffell at 7:18 PM on June 3, 2016 [7 favorites]


Her voice is strong enough to to speak for all of us who were afraid to. I'm so angry.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:21 PM on June 3, 2016 [19 favorites]


This is powerful and shows so much strength and bravery by someone who has been through a terrible ordeal.

Sadly, the sentence the rapist received was basically the same as what a columnist in the local paper advocated in a totally disgusting piece earlier today:

http://www.mercurynews.com/scott-herhold/ci_29966203/brock-turner-deserves-county-jail-not-state-prison

This column is the epitome of thoughtless misogyny -- he says "in the abstract" of course rape is terrible and should be harshly punished, but "in context", she was really drunk and didn't remember anything so you can't treat this like a regular rape. UGH!!! So rage-inducing to see this crap in a mainstream newspaper... In this environment, I think there is very little chance the judge will face any criticism at all in the community at large.
posted by Mallenroh at 7:30 PM on June 3, 2016 [11 favorites]


His brutal and thoughtless act was what would have had a severe impact on his life, not the court handing down a just punishment. Don't make it sound like he had no agency, garbage judge.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:34 PM on June 3, 2016 [8 favorites]


The judge is Aaron Persky. Here he is in his campaign statement from 2002 touting his work as a prosecutor:
A year after returning from Japan, I became a criminal prosecutor for the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, where I now prosecute sex crimes and hate crimes. I focus on the prosecution of sexually violent predators, working to keep the most dangerous sex offenders in custody in mental hospitals. I am also an Executive Committee member of the Santa Clara County Network for a Hate-Free Community, where I helped create a county-wide law enforcement policy on hate crimes. In addition, I serve as an Executive Committee Member of the Support Network for Battered Women.
posted by one_bean at 7:35 PM on June 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


From that disgusting Merc op-ed: "Nobody should be confused about the severity of this case for him. For the rest of his life, Turner will have to register as a convicted sex offender. That effectively closes many career avenues. It's a permanent blight."

What about HER and her life, goddamnit?????
posted by blucevalo at 7:36 PM on June 3, 2016 [75 favorites]


For the rest of his life, Turner will have to register as a convicted sex offender.

BECAUSE HE'S A RAPIST!!!

As that brave woman wrote "Assault is not an accident."

I can't read that op-ed; I'll get an anurism.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:43 PM on June 3, 2016 [71 favorites]


I don't get how people just cannot comprehend thst violent crimes against women are a big big impactful deal.

Everyone should read and believe this.
posted by AlexiaSky at 7:44 PM on June 3, 2016 [8 favorites]


From that disgusting Merc op-ed: "Nobody should be confused about the severity of this case for him. For the rest of his life, Turner will have to register as a convicted sex offender. That effectively closes many career avenues. It's a permanent blight."

This is the kind of situation that highlights why a system that is only (or perhaps even primarily) about rehabilitation is not a complete form of justice, and that victims must be taken into account. Even if we assume, for the sake of argument (and I don't believe this for a second) that Turner would never, ever, do this again, we have a strong innate sense that there's more to the question than whether or not a person who offends gets better. There has to be an accounting for lives that are ruined, and it's a fallacy to say that it's simply equivalent to revenge.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:45 PM on June 3, 2016 [8 favorites]


The judge is likely to face substantial retaliation from the community, and might possibly lose his job over it.

He's running unopposed to retain his seat in Tuesday's primary. I will be very happy if he loses somehow, but I don't expect it to happen. Not this time, anyway. Maybe next election, if a worthy opponent steps up who's willing to use this in their campaign.
posted by palomar at 7:46 PM on June 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


There's a Brock Turner For 2016 Olympics FB page. I won't link to it or repeat any of the rape apologist bile the page's admin is posting, but I will say I am heartened by the fact that about 99% of the comments on the page are from people who are firmly on the victim's side and mince no words when telling the admin what an ignorant, misogynist asshole he is.
posted by orange swan at 8:00 PM on June 3, 2016 [18 favorites]


I've reported that FB page and asked everyone I know to do so as well. Maybe if they get enough reports...
posted by palomar at 8:01 PM on June 3, 2016 [7 favorites]


Purvi Patel is currently serving a 20 year sentence in Indiana for her miscarriage, if we were looking for something to compare this to.
posted by mhoye at 8:04 PM on June 3, 2016 [128 favorites]


What the even fuck.

This kind of fuckery makes me wish I had never gone to law school, because clearly it is all just random bullshit.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:05 PM on June 3, 2016 [8 favorites]


Sometimes I think, if I hadn’t gone, then this never would’ve happened. But then I realized, it would have happened, just to somebody else.

I just want to leave this here, with a vigorous nod, for victims of sexual assault who still carry a shadow of self blame. (Which is, um, I'd say about 98%?) There were many powerful thoughts and truths in her statement, but this is the one that really rang my bell.

And, it need not be said, but the fact that the judge was reluctant to "ruin" this young man's life by imposing any serious prison time, because that would have been an over-punishement for the young man choosing to ruin someone else's life -- that right there is infuriating proof of the fucking patriarchal bullshit that women face every hour of every day.
posted by mudpuppie at 8:06 PM on June 3, 2016 [118 favorites]


That is incredibly powerful.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:14 PM on June 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


"And I thought finally it is over, finally he will own up to what he did, truly apologize, we will both move on and get better. ​Then I read your statement.... Somehow, you still don’t get it. Somehow, you still sound confused."

I don't think he's confused -- or ever was confused -- about the right-and-wrong of what he was doing. Running away from witnesses would seem to indicate a pretty clear understanding.
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 8:19 PM on June 3, 2016 [7 favorites]


[Another comment removed. If you need to talk about moderation, reach us at the contact form or take it to MetaTalk, but don't grandstand about it in-thread; that's been against the rules for like fifteen years now.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:21 PM on June 3, 2016 [55 favorites]


I live in the Bay Area. I grew up in Palo Alto, and on the Stanford campus. I am planning to spend my Tuesday protesting this "justice". Anyone who wants to join me, memail me.
posted by pleasant_confusion at 8:21 PM on June 3, 2016 [19 favorites]




B. The exposure is almost certainly going to destroy both his athetic and college potential.

What are you basing that assumption on?
posted by lazuli at 8:44 PM on June 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


Purvi Patel is currently serving a 20 year sentence in Indiana for her miscarriage, if we were looking for something to compare this to.

I'm just going to say that that seems like a really shitty thing to compare this to.
posted by 256 at 8:55 PM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is the kind of situation that highlights why a system that is only (or perhaps even primarily) about rehabilitation is not a complete form of justice, and that victims must be taken into account. Even if we assume, for the sake of argument (and I don't believe this for a second) that Turner would never, ever, do this again, we have a strong innate sense that there's more to the question than whether or not a person who offends gets better. There has to be an accounting for lives that are ruined, and it's a fallacy to say that it's simply equivalent to revenge.

I don't think this actually is a good case for exploring that idea because, apparently, Turner still does not accept that what he did was wrong. He's clearly not "better" in any meaningful sense.
posted by No-sword at 8:55 PM on June 3, 2016 [11 favorites]


From the way supporters are talking about this rapist's career you would think good swimmers are so rare on the ground that civilization would perish if we didn't let this one keep swimming. I mean, I enjoy a good swim competition but Jesus H, there is no number of Olympic swim medals worth letting a rapist walk.

I mean, I shouldn't have to say that, should I? We should all know that? Because apparently a lot of people do not know that.

Also glad orange swan posted this. Mods, you are doing the Lord's (or your preferred deity's) work on this thread, thank you.
posted by emjaybee at 8:57 PM on June 3, 2016 [65 favorites]


Would love to say something articulate and insightful to explain how reading that stunning letter made me feel and all the thoughts it evoked, but I can barely see straight for all the anger and despair.

Going to cuddle with my daughter and forget the world exists tonight.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 9:02 PM on June 3, 2016 [12 favorites]


How has his mother not disowned him
posted by wires at 9:13 PM on June 3, 2016 [9 favorites]


That is a powerful essay and I wish her healing and happiness in the future, she deserves it totally.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:22 PM on June 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


He's running unopposed to retain his seat in Tuesday's primary. I will be very happy if he loses somehow, but I don't expect it to happen. Not this time, anyway. Maybe next election, if a worthy opponent steps up who's willing to use this in their campaign.

I'm pretty certain - though having trouble finding documentation online - that he will still face affirmation in the November election. That is, even without a challenger, Santa Clara County voters will have the opportunity to vote "yes" or "no" to retain this guy, a guy who claimed to run on a history of prosecuting sexual assault cases in the past. I hope this case gets some traction by the fall.
posted by one_bean at 9:22 PM on June 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


That letter is truly worth a read, in its entirety, even though it is absolutely excruciating and very, very triggering, if you have any kind of sexual assault history. It's one of the most truthful and relatable pieces about the aftermath of sexual assault that I've ever read. This part especially:

He is a lifetime sex registrant. That doesn’t expire. Just like what he did to me doesn’t expire, doesn’t just go away after a set number of years. It stays with me, it’s part of my identity, it has forever changed the way I carry myself, the way I live the rest of my life.

Sometimes, I wonder if all these male judges (and many male non-judges) approve these light punishments for sexual assault because they genuinely don't understand that it does stay with you for your whole life, that it is a daily punishment, much in the way that a jail sentence is, not just one bad night. It's not like getting your wallet stolen, to use an analogy I've heard so often. Getting raped means you are a rape victim for the rest of your life. Getting your wallet stolen does not make you an eternal wallet stealing victim. I think it is something hard to understand for many men.
posted by armadillo1224 at 9:39 PM on June 3, 2016 [63 favorites]


I think that for many men they have to frame it as "one bad night", because if they acknowledged the true damage of rape they might also have to acknowledge the women in their own past who they've treated to "one bad night".
posted by palomar at 9:55 PM on June 3, 2016 [54 favorites]


Rape culture inaction in action.
posted by rtha at 9:58 PM on June 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


Thank you for posting this. That was incredibly powerful and affecting.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:06 PM on June 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


I do not have the words. Six months for this crime is an obscenity. The weighing of how this will affect the criminal's life because he is affluent and athletic is an obscenity. The tolerance in our legal system for allowing defendants against rape to employ defense strategies smearing the victim's reputation and integrity is an obscenity.

I can only hope that Mitrovarr is correct and there's room for the state to appeal this disgusting sentence.
posted by biogeo at 10:07 PM on June 3, 2016 [7 favorites]


I read this and I wept, but here's the worst part, I felt like she was one of the lucky ones. Six months in county lock up is not enough, but it's something. So many women get all the pain and not even any shred of justice. I don't care to retell the details, but, in high school, when I named my experience rape to my best friend (I drank too much and was told what happened after the fact, in a stranger's bathroom, because I didn't remember any of it, but it was very public) I was shunned. Cast out from my peer group because he's such a good guy. It's been twenty years and I still haven't been forgiven because I dared to say I was too drunk to give consent.
posted by Ruki at 10:11 PM on June 3, 2016 [74 favorites]


Of course they don't want to send him to prison for six years, there is a very real chance he might get raped.

Fuckin A we have a long way to go. blurgh
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 10:14 PM on June 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


Is the judge not obligated to write out his decision in detail? His rationale as quoted in the media is incredibly vague. Some researchers do generally challenge the efficacy of punishment and incarceration, but without his elaboration, it is equally fair to accuse this judge of enabling structural bias, implicit patriarchy, etc.
posted by polymodus at 10:25 PM on June 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


This is the kind of situation that highlights why a system that is only (or perhaps even primarily) about rehabilitation is not a complete form of justice

There has been, and will be, little to no attempt at rehabilitation of this man. The judge's decision had nothing to do with rehabilitation, in the criminal justice sense, that is, teaching him to appreciate his wrongdoing and giving him tools to avoid reoffending. Yoda couldn't fix this man in three to six months.
posted by praemunire at 10:29 PM on June 3, 2016 [8 favorites]


Horrific sentence, but what an awesome woman. That statement was incredible to read. Not only brave and important but magnificently planned and written. I hope she's a writer -- or at least that whatever she does do, she has all the success at it in the world.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 10:38 PM on June 3, 2016 [8 favorites]


That was excruciating to read (when she talked about wanting to take her body off like a jacket and I knew that so well I had to stop for a long time)but it is so. blisteringly. RIGHTEOUS.

Because holy shit I am done with people wringing their hands over ruining a young man/good guy/loving husband and father/promising career - ruining a man's life.

You know what ruins the shit out of your life? BEING RAPED. But somehow a woman's life - her career, her contributions, her potential, her love for her family and friends - are all deemed fucking worthless by that logic.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:27 AM on June 4, 2016 [86 favorites]


The judge said he feared a longer sentence would have a “severe impact” on Turner...

Isn't that the point, though? He raped someone. There needs to be a severe impact on someone who deems that a course of action to take, who takes that course of action, to make them someone who does not.
posted by Dysk at 1:10 AM on June 4, 2016 [28 favorites]


A "severe impact"? The judge feared the rape conviction would have a "severe impact" on the rapist?!? Well heck yeah it damn well should have a severe impact on the person who committed three felonies, who chose to rape an unconscious woman!

Criminey, what century are we living in?
posted by easily confused at 5:12 AM on June 4, 2016 [13 favorites]


I was glad to see that the comments on the Mercury News op-ed are overwhelmingly outraged about Herhold's rape apologism.
posted by Weftage at 5:24 AM on June 4, 2016 [10 favorites]


The first comment on the site:

I am a mother of four boys. I just made my 17 year old read this and I am saving it so that the other three can read it when it's appropriate. This is required reading before they can date. When they leave home for college, they will read it again. And I'll continue to save it. When they present me with grandchildren and they come of age to date and go out away from parental supervision I'll ask my boys, "have you read them the letter?" this is important. This matters and this should be shared.
posted by xammerboy at 6:19 AM on June 4, 2016 [142 favorites]


I'm just going to say that that seems like a really shitty thing to compare this to.

No, it's perfect. In the one case, a woman goes through an entirely natural (albeit traumatic for her, of course) process and is sent to jail for twenty years. In the other, a man makes the choice to rape someone and goes to jail for 3-6 months.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:38 AM on June 4, 2016 [50 favorites]


Tyrant King Porn Dragon: "If you are a white, upper-class male in the United States, you can essentially do whatever you want to anybody that you want, and the consequences will be minimal to nonexistent."

...well, as long as you don't do it to another white, upper-class male...
posted by notsnot at 6:43 AM on June 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


This garbage judge is a garbage fire of garbage.

I don't have anything more articulate to say because RAGE.
posted by batbat at 6:53 AM on June 4, 2016 [10 favorites]


You said, you are in the process of establishing a program for high school and college students in which you speak about your experience to “speak out against the college campus drinking culture and the sexual promiscuity that goes along with that.” .... I don’t see headlines that read, Brock Turner, Guilty of drinking too much and the sexual promiscuity that goes along with that. Campus Sexaul Assault. There’s your first powerpoint slide. Rest assured, if you fail to fix the topic of your talk, I will follow you to every school you go to and give a follow up presentation.

I love this woman. What epic strength! Legally she's a victim and her life has been profoundly changed, against her will. But clearly it hasn't been ruined. I suspect - and hope - that we haven't heard the last from her.
posted by headnsouth at 7:05 AM on June 4, 2016 [51 favorites]


Rage. Flaming, incoherent rage. I cannot even articulate.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:13 AM on June 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


I read the whole terrible thing, but it was when I got to the bit where she sleeps with the two drawings of bicycles over her bed that started to cry.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 7:59 AM on June 4, 2016 [42 favorites]


Re: the judge running unopposed: I don't see him (Aaron Persky) on this list of candidates. Does that not list judicial candidates? Or candidates running unopposed? I know a handful of voters in Santa Clara County and want to urge them to write their own names in.
posted by sunset in snow country at 8:08 AM on June 4, 2016


I don't think this actually is a good case for exploring that idea because, apparently, Turner still does not accept that what he did was wrong. He's clearly not "better" in any meaningful sense.

I think it's a good case not because of Turner's response, but because of the victim's. Even if we assume for the sake of argument any good thing about Turner, the victim should necessarily be taken into account regarding what constitutes a just response. This should be happening in every case (and it's a shame that it's not), but here happens to be a clear example of someone who makes it obvious to any calloused bystander that effects on the victim need to be part of the calculus of justice. The judge, who happens to be (very) wrong about the future life contributions of Turner, blew right by it. It shows that the "eventual good end" for the guilty is not a sufficient condition for our justice system. I would argue that it's not even always necessary, but it's definitely not the only or primary thing, and I think a distortion in that direction creates situations that we see like this.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:09 AM on June 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


What I would compare it to is George Zimmerman. Turner's life is over in any meaningful way -- he's unemployable, anyone who associates with him will become an instant social pariah, and to be honest he will almost certainly be a potential target for violence for as long as he's alive. I'm not saying this to excuse the judge; the judge is a piece of shit. But the world is Turner's prison now. Sadly, he shares it with potential future victims of his own; with any luck, local bars will know his face and refuse him service.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:20 AM on June 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Not to detract a thing from this brave woman's horrifying story but please spare a thought for the countless people who could write a similar letter about someone powerful in their social circle, or a member of their own family, yet who never do because they'd either be disbelieved or ignored in favor of preserving the easy status quo. So the abuser gets family holidays, while they stew in loneliness; featured in portraits and candids, while they are not pictured; and eventually get buried with full honors, while...well, there's a lot of different ways a life can end and not all of them involve actual death. Think about your weirdest cousin, your strangest Aunt, the uncle no one's seen for years but no one can say why. Because given the rates of sexual abuse and lack of reportage of same, there are so many families, social circles, and institutions marked by absence that it's quite simple to pretend no one was ever there at all.

As long as people protect the predators in their circle -- as long as so many cops scoff at accusations of rape -- as long most evidence collected from victims goes untested our outright ignored -- and as long as judges pass out lenient sentences to abusers perceived to have community value, the dismal reportage of these crimes will never improve. And that's only one piece of the puzzle; there are many reasons this is a poisoned world for so many survivors, and very few people have the stomach to work directly on improving that. I'd like to think that one day the massive silence and denial around rape will improve, and that these days will be cited with the identical disgust most people express at the stomach-turning violence of defunct tortures like thumbscrews and crushing, but I've come to accept that I likely won't live to see it. Millions of vulnerable people somehow live on despite experiencing this endless violence and violation, but no one has to tell them what they've lost. So why the hell do we keep having to remind the societies and institutions -- some even originally created to protect victims -- that hideous though it may be, this is the reality we share?
posted by melissa may at 8:33 AM on June 4, 2016 [32 favorites]


This is the most powerful victim statement I have ever read. I have read it twice now and I've wept both times. I would use the term beautiful to describe the writing, because it is so well crafted and you can feel her anger and strength and courage (what courage!) with every word, but given the horror of what was done to her and the evil and inhumanity of the person she is addressing, I cannot use it. I will say that I admire this woman more than any person I have never met and that this statement should be required reading for all high school students and college students in the United States. If I had children they would be reading this (and thank you xammerboy for asking your children to read this).
posted by longdaysjourney at 8:34 AM on June 4, 2016 [13 favorites]


Amazing. Tears. What an incredible woman and a powerful statement. Buzzfeed should be very proud of posting this and promoting her message.

This man did an unfathomably violent and horrific crime and I would be surprised if it's the first or last time he attempted something similar. Aside from the injustice of his sentence, there should be serious concern about his potential future victims. Absolutely disgusting lack of concern for all women and ridiculous lenience for this criminal.
posted by rainydayfilms at 8:47 AM on June 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Re: the judge running unopposed: I don't see him (Aaron Persky) on this list of candidates. Does that not list judicial candidates? Or candidates running unopposed? I know a handful of voters in Santa Clara County and want to urge them to write their own names in.

Like I said up thread, I'm having trouble finding the full process laid out online, but I'm pretty sure judges running for reappointment for CA Superior Court (a) aren't listed on the primary ballot if they're unopposed but (b) will get a straight yes/no vote in November. Five months to get the word out.
posted by one_bean at 8:57 AM on June 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Turner's life is over in any meaningful way -- he's unemployable, anyone who associates with him will become an instant social pariah, and to be honest he will almost certainly be a potential target for violence for as long as he's alive. I'm not saying this to excuse the judge; the judge is a piece of shit. But the world is Turner's prison now. Sadly, he shares it with potential future victims of his own; with any luck, local bars will know his face and refuse him service.

I don't think any of these things are true.

And when I worked in a rape crisis center in a college town, we couldn't get a single bar to agree to let us come in -- for free! -- and teach bystander intervention to its staff, so that they could have better training to look out for predators among their customers and to help potential victims. And I'm talking five-ish years ago, not decades.
posted by lazuli at 9:01 AM on June 4, 2016 [67 favorites]


But the world is Turner's prison now.

I don't see this happening for this guy, I just don't.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:30 AM on June 4, 2016 [20 favorites]


Depending on how the laws are written regarding sex offenders in his state many sex offenders are not allowed to be where children may congregate (schools, parks and other places where children may congregate)which could include pools depending on the officers maintaining his sex offense status.

He will have a hell of a time finding shelter, and will be excluded from some fields of work.

His athletism will be forgotten.

I've worked with sex offenders, and their lives are miserable. There are also evaluations here which can increase sentence length depending on factors on risk assessments of reoffending. (In IL anyway).

I'm not saying he doesn't deserve more jail and prison time, because in my opinion he does. What she wrote very important.

My point is don't be deceived by what a sex offender registrant goes through. I have very conflicted feelings on the matter of lifetime registration.
posted by AlexiaSky at 9:33 AM on June 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


So powerful. So triggering. So enraging. So inspiring.
Not everyone gets bicycles. I'm very glad she did.
posted by Superplin at 9:40 AM on June 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


xammerboy, I said much the same thing (about this being required reading) when I posted it to all my social network feeds yesterday. I truly believe that it is something every single human over the age of 12 or so should read.
posted by Gaz Errant at 10:15 AM on June 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


He's a white man smart and privileged enough to get into Stanford, whose parents are well off enough to have paid his $150K bail (and presumably for a private lawyer). I'm not a fan of lifetime offender registries, either, and I get that they have actual consequences, but this particular perpetrator is going to have privileges shielding him much more from those consequences than many other convicted perpetrators. I think it's not helpful to claim that his life is somehow "over" or "meaningless" at this point, because it makes it seem like the lack of a reasonable prison sentence is ok, because it overestimates the social consequences of being convicted for sexual assault, and because it undermines the meaningful lives of people whose lives are much more difficult than this asshole's but who have not assaulted anyone. Someone without a bunch of privileges does not automatically have a meaningless life.
posted by lazuli at 10:20 AM on June 4, 2016 [44 favorites]


Judge Aaron Persky was captain of Stanford's lacrosse team.

Well, that explains it.
posted by lamp at 10:59 AM on June 4, 2016 [23 favorites]


A quick & dirty google search just gave me (among other things) a facebook page, Brockturnerfor2016olympics, that features the sentence "in a tragic miscarriage of justice, Brock has been fround guilty by some betas who probably never got any play in college" --- which tells me that the young fool will, unfortunately, be just fine, protected in a safe little cocoon of like-mindedness.

Dammit.
posted by easily confused at 11:03 AM on June 4, 2016 [9 favorites]


The guy's not a Kennedy. Unless his parents are absurdly wealthy, their wealth can't do much more than give their shithead son a place to live. As his friends get older, and increasingly have professional reputations to protect, who's going to want to associate with him? I'm not saying this to excuse what he's done or make the ruling sound better or to elicit sympathy. Personally, I think he should never have been born.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:11 AM on June 4, 2016


What I would compare it to is George Zimmerman.

George Zimmerman has profited to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars since his acquittal, all while abusing women and continuing to be involved in violent incidents.
posted by Krom Tatman at 11:17 AM on June 4, 2016 [29 favorites]


It's been a long time since I've read anything that made me cry genuine tears, but this did:
Most importantly, thank you to the two men who saved me, who I have yet to meet. I sleep with two bicycles that I drew taped above my bed to remind myself there are heroes in this story. That we are looking out for one another. To have known all of these people, to have felt their protection and love, is something I will never forget.

And finally, to girls everywhere, I am with you. On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought everyday for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you. As the author Anne Lamott once wrote, “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” Although I can’t save every boat, I hope that by speaking today, you absorbed a small amount of light, a small knowing that you can’t be silenced, a small satisfaction that justice was served, a small assurance that we are getting somewhere, and a big, big knowing that you are important, unquestionably, you are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you. To girls everywhere, I am with you.
posted by jokeefe at 11:20 AM on June 4, 2016 [48 favorites]


I don't see this happening for this guy, I just don't.

Nah, this guy is fucked, now that this has hit the national news. This is the kind of person hundreds of people turn out to protest when a college lets him in. He's an enormous liability to any organization that admits him, far in excess of any value he might have to them. He's just going to live a sad little life in what is basically house arrest, surrounded by a family that probably despises him.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:24 AM on June 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Y'all realize that repeating that his life is valueless is just contributing to the idea that privileged white men shouldn't get harsh sentences because they'll "suffer enough" without them?
posted by lazuli at 11:31 AM on June 4, 2016 [36 favorites]


Y'all realize that repeating that his life is valueless is just contributing to the idea that privileged white men shouldn't get harsh sentences because they'll "suffer enough" without them?
Are you making the case that people saying bad things about him on social media is punishment enough?
posted by ArmandoAkimbo at 11:38 AM on June 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


What
posted by Krom Tatman at 11:45 AM on June 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


Y'all realize that repeating that his life is valueless is just contributing to the idea that privileged white men shouldn't get harsh sentences because they'll "suffer enough" without them?

Well, obviously every case can't have a national outcry to obliterate someone's reputation forever. Particularly when it's due to the shitty sentence in the first place. But I see what you mean.

Honestly, I'd rather see the guy get a worse regular sentence and not the unofficial permanent one. While what he did is obviously very bad (and I view it as serious sexual predator shit, not any kind of misunderstanding), I don't view him as totally beyond any kind of help forever. However, he'd have to actually get help for that, which would start with everyone in power agreeing that he did a very bad thing and make sure he knows it. The judge has ruined any hope of improvement here by not taking the crime seriously.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:46 AM on June 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


No, lazuli is saying that the laughable idea that rapists are shunned by society is an extension of the idea that they are the ones we need to be concerned for.
posted by Krom Tatman at 11:46 AM on June 4, 2016 [28 favorites]


I'm saying that becoming a life registrant sex offender is a huge punishment.

He will have difficultly getting into a nursing home in 60 years. I've had to try and place sex offensers with and without money.
posted by AlexiaSky at 12:49 PM on June 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


Ok AlexiaSky, but he's alive, after all. Look up the suicide rates, the incidence of drug and alcohol addiction and general self-harm among survivors and tell me that any punishment is huge enough. A conviction? Not enough. He's one of 7% of all offenders convicted, and for all of a few months -- there will be plenty of men who see him as a hero (or did you miss his Facebook fan page?). A prison sentence? Not enough, not that it's a concern for most offenders, and certainly not him as he plots to make a career of this crime, warning all those young people not to drink because hey! Before you know it, you're raping someone. Bad dreams? I don't think he has the imagination, unless it's to anticipate what's going to happen to his Tinder success rate once women near him connect his face to his prior acts. Just...please stop conflating this unrepentant, protected-by-the-old-boy-network, completely amoral person with a victim. He is a perpetrator, a shameless one, and he deserves so much more punishment than he's gotten or will ever get.
posted by melissa may at 1:05 PM on June 4, 2016 [13 favorites]


I'm not saying anything about this person's sentence, but in a large city like Seattle, the housing issue for sex offenders, particularly low income ones dependent on public housing, is *huge.* There's one industrial neighborhood in South Seattle where there is a high concentration but most of the sex offenders I see find it easier to be homeless or live in their car. Regardless of the amount of time spent incarcerated, condemning someone to a high probability of homelessness is a fairly serious thing to add on to someone's sentence.

I'm not losing a ton of sleep about it this problem, but it's a thing that keeps reminding these people what society thinks of them.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:08 PM on June 4, 2016


I think it's fair to say both that there are problems with the way the sex offender registry is run and used to deny basic services and that someone who is already planning on parlaying his crime into a speaking career is maybe not the poster boy for reform.
posted by Krom Tatman at 1:12 PM on June 4, 2016 [45 favorites]


It's... gross how all the empathy for (guilty) convicts in our criminal justice system seems to come out so 'generously' in cases like these. Guess whose lives matter?
posted by Salamandrous at 1:15 PM on June 4, 2016 [15 favorites]


a thing that keeps reminding these people what society thinks of them

And yet I don't care, and encourage those who do to start an adopt-an-offender nonprofit so the rest of us can get back to worrying about the victims. By all means, take them in, it's saintly work I suppose and might save the considerable number of homeless women routinely predated on by criminals from further rape and exploitation. I'm not remotely attempting levity here. I'm genuinely wondering how yet again the conversation turns to the affect of sexual violence to a meditation on perpetrators' suffering.

I. Simply. Don't. CARE. And frankly can't imagine the mental contortions required to do so after reading that heartbreaking, infuriating, utterly sickening victim's statement. Is it because women are required to be endlessly giving, compassionate, peaceful, or what? Because I like to think I have those qualities -- especially for those who most desperately need them, and that would be the victims of violence.
posted by melissa may at 1:21 PM on June 4, 2016 [57 favorites]


I had to stop reading her statement partway through due to pure rage. I'm so disgusted by this. People wonder why women don't report rape or don't press charges?
posted by threeturtles at 1:24 PM on June 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


My opinion on his punishment is that 1) he is not being incarcerated for enough time and 2) sex offense registries are serious things.

Nothing about what I'm saying denies the rage, anger and sheer courage of this woman, and the impact of rape on women. I have my own trauma I live with every day. It is something I take very seriously. I've worked with both survivors and perpetrators professionally and I have very complex opinions on this.
posted by AlexiaSky at 1:31 PM on June 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


Yeah, fuck this guy. I have worked in homeless services and let me tell you there are plenty more people to be concerned about than the guy who violently raped a woman behind a dumpster while she was unconscious. I give zero shits if this guy is outcast from society forever. He deserves to be. If you want to care about the plight of the homeless who did not rape people behind a dumpster, which is the vast majority of them, they are always seeking volunteers.
posted by corb at 2:12 PM on June 4, 2016 [22 favorites]


Look I too have worked with sex offenders. And sex registries are a serious issue to contend with for life. There are crimes for which people get sex offender status which are not worthy of the seriousness of that punishment. HOWEVER, this is not one of those cases. Labeling this sexual predator AS a sexual predator is the LEAST that can be done here.

Coming in here and choosing this context to raise your personal issue with registries is inappropriate and offensive to victims.
posted by threeturtles at 2:12 PM on June 4, 2016 [42 favorites]


I love this woman, and I love her eloquent and powerful letter. I hope she keeps feeling better all the time, and I hope that in the future, her memory of writing and reading this letter gives her a feeling of power and strength in spite of all the horrific bullshit of the last year. I hope she knows that girls everywhere, women everywhere, are with her too.
posted by beandip at 2:35 PM on June 4, 2016 [14 favorites]


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

Daaaaaaaamn
posted by odinsdream at 2:47 PM on June 4, 2016 [9 favorites]


If I have not made it clear, yes I believe that registries were created for this kind of offence, and am upset by his lack of jail time. I have not defended the perpetrator by stating that registration is tough. I am not here to minimize survivors of their experiences. I was responding to the idea that the registry is going soft on someone.
posted by AlexiaSky at 2:50 PM on June 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


No one was saying the registry is "going soft". People were saying that his life is "over", even if he doesn't go to jail, that he'll never have a job again, that "the world is his prison" and other people were saying that's not a realistic notion of how society treats rapists.
posted by Krom Tatman at 2:54 PM on June 4, 2016 [10 favorites]


That was an amazing, powerful read.

She was right, if it had not been her, it would have been someone else, and just because he has no record doesn't mean he hasn't done this before. There is every likelihood he will do it again given that he shows no remorse. The guy is a little shithead and deserves to be shunned.
posted by maggiemaggie at 3:16 PM on June 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


I really hope someday this woman writes something else that is just as eloquent as this. I hope it gets read and shared just as widely. I hope it is something that comes out of great joy, not great pain. I hope she gets to put her name on it, and I hope all over the world people say "wow, did you read that piece by so-and-so? Wasn't it beautifully written? Wasn't it wonderful and moving?" Because seriously, this is an amazing piece of writing by an amazing writer, and someday I want her to be celebrated publicly, by name, for that talent and not only for the admirable, necessary, important act speaking truth to a terrible person and a fucked-up justice system.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:23 PM on June 4, 2016 [87 favorites]


Some colleges have programs, mandatory for freshmen, focused on sexual assault prevention education. They're not perfect and they're not everywhere, but I was a facilitator of these classes - giving the workshops to my only slightly younger peers - and once or twice a semester, a young man would pipe up and say, "That's not rape, I've done that." And a male facilitator would take him aside and talk to him outside the class. Sometimes I could see their faces outside the room if I was at the right angle from the windowed door. The range of young male facial expression, wordless, kept me an activist long after I stopped teaching. Because it's true that if we can teach men to treat women differently, we can stop rape. Getting through to one young man who once thought, "That's not rape," can mean that today he is going back to his dorm and stopping his roommate from making a bad decision, it can mean offering to keep an eye on female friends in parties, it can mean saying something to one of his friends who says, "That's not rape, I've done that."

As an activist and former teacher, I have read many many victim impact stories, but this one is truly sterling and has the power to change minds of young people if they read it. I hope that anyone who influences a young person will share it.
posted by juniperesque at 4:44 PM on June 4, 2016 [52 favorites]


Facebook tells me that the Brock Turner for 2016 Olympics page does not go against their community standards.
posted by jokeefe at 5:04 PM on June 4, 2016


This was so powerful throughout, and stirred up such emotions in me. I'm not sure at what point the tears started coming, but for some reason one of the smallest details stuck out to me: her grandma sneaking chocolate into the courtroom to give to her while the trial was going on. A simple little detail of human kindness, a tiny transgression to make her feel a little better, from an older woman who has no doubt seen her share. In the face of enormous, overwhelming, ongoing horror, an easily overlooked gesture that speaks volumes.
posted by naju at 7:25 PM on June 4, 2016 [17 favorites]


I think that every time I do a Google search I will also do a separate search for his name+swimmer+rapist or some combo of those terms. Doesn't really help much but makes me feel better. He's probably going to hire one of those "reputation defender" firms who will try to bury this story by spamming google search results with bullshit SEO crap and inane links.

I once hired a lawyer who unbeknownst to me had killed someone while driving drunk. No jail time and was still practicing law. I found the "conviction" in our local county court records but could find nothing about it via Google. Nothing. And this happened only a few years ago.
posted by futz at 7:53 PM on June 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


There are people who think that he will be a pariah and no-one will want to associate with him? What planet did you just arrive from? Have you got any evidence or prior examples of this ever happening, or are you just incurable optimists who can't distinguish between the real world and fantasyland?
posted by harriet vane at 3:52 AM on June 5, 2016 [13 favorites]


He wants people to believe that because he'd been drinking, he is not responsible for his actions and SIMULTANEOUSLY believe that because she'd been drinking, she is responsible for his actions.
posted by vitabellosi at 5:16 AM on June 5, 2016 [71 favorites]


David Bowie, Bill Clinton, and more from the daily beast
"Mike Tyson is a convicted rapist, and he now stars as a loveable cartoon TV detective. Roman Polanski raped a 13-year-old and has since won an Oscar to a standing ovation. Sean Connery is the celebrated embodiment of rugged cool, who has openly championed beating women in order to keep ’em in line. Bill Murray has been accused by his ex-wife of repeated, brutal physical abuse. Rick James was arrested for torturing and sexually abusing a woman for three days straight, only to have his image rehabilitated by Dave Chappelle years later. John Lennon is one of the most worshipped artists who has ever drawn breath, and he has copped to battering the shit out of women.
Also, who could forget Michael Jackson, R. Kelly, CeeLo Green, Julian Assange, Terry Richardson, Tupac Shakur, Gary Glitter, Charlie Sheen, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Nicolas Cage, and Chris Brown."

Careers ruined? Social pariahs?
I don't see any evidence that assaulting women ruins the lives of the men who do it whether famous or not. Oh poor them, what a terrible life ruining burden they carry... or not. And I have yet to meet any of the men in my own life who have sexually abused have their lives ruined either. That guy who had sex with a minor student he was teaching at highschool? He went to prison for a few years. He came out and got a job right away, is now married, has his kids back and a new child. That one guy who we all knew had abused his partner? No one shunned him. Everyone went to throw him a big support party before he went to prison for drug charges. I just.. I don't think these consequences people imagine actually exist. Some mean comments on the internet and lost friends? Sure, that might happen. A few good people choose not to associate with rapists and sexual abusers for the sake of their victims. But we get told even by well meaning people how damaging this is for the poor sexual abusers, even my kind Aunt tells me it's not the survivors she's worried about but the abusers because they are the ones who hurt the most. Their souls are hurting and they need the most love!

I grew up believing this stuff.
I grew up holding a guy while he cried about making me cry because he raped me. I grew up telling him not to kill himself because it's ok and I know his pain of the bad things he did is so bad he needs support. I can fix it somehow. I can just... not care. I can retroactively go back in time and give consent and make it ok. It can all be ok. His pain is so bad, it's so horrible. I can just destroy myself inside and not exist so when I'm being raped I can go somewhere else, this.. nice place there's like... butterflies, right? Or this place where it's just numb. Just numb. Just go there. It can be ok.

And living out that very popular social attitude, I ALSO get to live the same people who think "poor them" turning on me in shame for how bad I am for trying to help these men, for being caught up in caring about their pain and having my empathy used against me because *I* should have been more responsible and stood up for myself better. I lead them down this path of tragedy by existing with a vagina and not avoiding men like the plague or being more "assertive" and preventing rape.

I'm just... look I have a huge heart and I care about rapists. I still don't think they should be the focus of our concern because their lives are very rarely ruined while employment issues, homelessness, disability as a result of rape trauma that actually DOES ruins ones ability to work, these are things many survivors are coping with all alone and they really do often carry a heavier burden that even the people who think they are "compassionate" ignore in favor of the sinners who REALLY need the help. I'm not sure that people understand that decades later ones abilities to work and function can still be altered by sexual abuse. That ongoing supports are sorely needed, that housing and ongoing counselling and taking away the stigma from struggling with life after assault are things we need to work on more for survivors.
posted by xarnop at 5:40 AM on June 5, 2016 [43 favorites]


I have problems with registries. Heck, I have problems with prisons. However, they are the system we have, and there is no hope whatsoever of reform if the privileged can avoid the effects of the system by virtue of their privilege. Based on TFA, this guy falls squarely in the camp of people who should be in prison and should be on a registry, and yet he's wriggling out in a bold statement of what really matters to the judge and society, not because of some demand for criminal justice reform.

And, honestly, I'm a little tired of talking about Brock Turner. He's a privileged rapist, and that's about it. I find it a little infuriating that the woman who wrote this, who turned violence and horror and pain into eloquence, who wants to help others, who, after being torn open, opens herself up to more vulnerability and pain not just for her own hope for justice but for many others, can't be praised by name for her courage, tenacity, and skill. And, yeah, I get why we know Brock Turner's name and not hers, but I wish we could just celebrate her and leave him (and the judge) on the garbage heap of history. It's not realistic, but it's what I dream -- that she be praised, and he be the nameless faceless one.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:56 AM on June 5, 2016 [31 favorites]


There is woman in Toronto who was raped many years ago in a very high profile assualt. She was referred to as Jane Doe in the media throughout the trials and lawsuits that followed. Today she has her own life and career under her own name, and from time to time she turns up on radio or in the newspaper providing commentary on cases like this using the moniker Jane Doe. Maybe this young woman will end up doing something like that, so that she can continue to speak out but her entire identity doesn't become just this.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 7:37 AM on June 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


There are people who think that he will be a pariah and no-one will want to associate with him? What planet did you just arrive from? Have you got any evidence or prior examples of this ever happening, or are you just incurable optimists who can't distinguish between the real world and fantasyland?

Yeah...if anything, the victim's more likely to lose most of her social support going forward, because like some of us, she might be lucky enough to know people who'll say that she "is just full of problems" or "weird", or will think that she's too much of a buzzkill to be worth an invite to things. Outside of think-y, liberal, social justice-oriented circles, people simply don't like women who've had things happen to them and don't pretend that everything's perfect all the time. Ask me how I know.
posted by blerghamot at 7:52 AM on June 5, 2016 [45 favorites]


Oh good lord, I just checked out the Facebook. The horrible, awful Facebook. It's so over the top, I thought it was a parody in bad taste, but no. It's real.
posted by mochapickle at 8:56 AM on June 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm saying that becoming a life registrant sex offender is a huge punishment.

So is being a rape survivor.

The difference, though, is that the rape survivor didn't actually do anything to deserve that punishment.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:21 AM on June 5, 2016 [32 favorites]


His name is Brock Turner. He should be infamous for a long, long time. We need to remember him.

There should be a recall petition for the judge. We need to express deep outrage that privileged white guys get off, and its corollary, that non-white, non-privileged people get screwed.
posted by theora55 at 9:43 AM on June 5, 2016


Outside of think-y, liberal, social justice-oriented circles, people simply don't like women who've had things happen to them and don't pretend that everything's perfect all the time.

inside of them too, frankly.
posted by nadawi at 9:59 AM on June 5, 2016 [20 favorites]


Holy shit. The apple does not fall far from the tree.
posted by kmz at 10:18 AM on June 5, 2016 [17 favorites]


Recall petition: https://www.change.org/p/california-state-house-recall-judge-aaron-persky

File a complaint: https://www.change.org/p/update-brock-turner-rape-judge-running-unopposed-file-a-complaint-to-have-him-removed

A friend posted these on my Facebook status after i realized he wasn't on the primary ballot to vote against.
posted by sunset in snow country at 10:20 AM on June 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


Yeah, the statement from his father is something else.

Michele Dauber is a law professor at Stanford and seems to be leading the recall effort, so she would probably be a good person to follow on Twitter if you want to be involved in that.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:24 AM on June 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Kmz that letter... *throws up*
posted by AlexiaSky at 10:26 AM on June 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


The "20 minutes of action" line started me gagging but the part about how sweet Brock can so helpfully educate others about the "dangers of sexual promiscuity" brought up real, actual bile.
posted by mochapickle at 10:39 AM on June 5, 2016 [21 favorites]


ACTION

ACTION


ACTION
posted by jokeefe at 10:56 AM on June 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


As has been pointed out, if he hadn't insisted on going to trial there would have been a private settlement and we would have never heard about it.
posted by jokeefe at 11:00 AM on June 5, 2016


After reading the father's letter, I'm thinking that he meant to write something like "an action that lasted 20 minutes" or "20 minutes out of 20 years" but fell into the vernacular instead. I'm guessing that it's because he's a fuckheaded misogynist, but who knows? /sarcasm
posted by jokeefe at 11:03 AM on June 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


Holy shit I just can't. Dear Shitbag Turner Family (because apparently you're all a bunch of shitbags): having a favorite food and enjoying snacks is not a moral virtue. Sorry your rapist shitbag son doesn't like to eat much anymore, maybe that's his fucking conscience gnawing at him because he knows he committed a crime. Maybe he should, I don't know, accept that and start coping with it? Just a suggestion.
posted by palomar at 11:06 AM on June 5, 2016 [25 favorites]


I'm sure I'll find the answer despicable, but how is it not like an immediate automatic verdict and sentence if you rape an unconscious person? Like what the fuck is there to decide?
posted by odinsdream at 11:29 AM on June 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Well, we have to weigh what the accused says about the incident against what the accuser says. The accused says he had consent, that the accuser was totally into it and wanted everything that happened? And the accuser says I don't remember saying any of that, I'm pretty sure I would not consent to going behind a dumpster with a complete stranger to get fingerbanged? Well. The accuser is clearly an unreliable witness since they can't clearly remember every single detail of the evening, therefore the accused is innocent. That seems to be how the logic goes in these cases.
posted by palomar at 11:58 AM on June 5, 2016 [4 favorites]


This is the letter he read at the sentencing hearing, if I'm piecing a few reports together. So she had to sit there and listen to him spew this horseshit and call her rape "20 minutes of action." And all this after she read her own letter. The mind boggles.
posted by naju at 12:01 PM on June 5, 2016 [7 favorites]


Wow. "he has never been violent to anyone including the night (of the rape)." What the fuck does he think rape is if not violence?
posted by corb at 12:19 PM on June 5, 2016 [11 favorites]




It shouldn't even need to be said, but your poor gorgeous son Bracken was eating those rib eyes after practice because his body needed it after a workout. He's not working out now! No more voracious appetite! There, sorry to burst your bubble.
posted by naju at 12:33 PM on June 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Thank you, sunset, for the link to the recall petition. This is what I wrote: I'm signing because any judge who empathizes more with criminals than victims has no business on the bench. Borrow at will, but please sign the damn thing even if you think it'll do no good. This brilliant, courageous woman needs to hear all our disgust loud and clear -- as powerfully and often as she can.
posted by melissa may at 12:44 PM on June 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


Petition signed and forwarded, and I borrowed your phrasing, melissa may. You summed it up perfectly.
posted by palomar at 12:59 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well, we certainly know where Brock Turner got his inability to take responsibility for his actions and feel and express remorse for them comes from. He learned it from you, Dad.
posted by rtha at 1:28 PM on June 5, 2016 [16 favorites]


This is the letter he read at the sentencing hearing, if I'm piecing a few reports together. So she had to sit there and listen to him spew this horseshit and call her rape "20 minutes of action." And all this after she read her own letter. The mind boggles.

All I can hope is that he felt the every ounce of the shame and self-disgust he deserved for reading that letter after he'd heard hers. Slim chance, I know.
posted by Krom Tatman at 3:41 PM on June 5, 2016 [6 favorites]


If I were anywhere near -- and not so old and weary and walking with a stick like a bent old woman despite my relative youth -- I'd be slicing a minimum of 20 minutes out of my day, every day to head to the CA state house to disrupt all activity, showing up everywhere Judge Persky does to bellow my rage, protesting anywhere Turner or his vile father dared to show their faces, because that's the "20 minutes of action" this crime requires until a prison sentence actually commensurate with a violent felony crime is passed.

I would expect pushback, vilification for being part of an "angry mob," and rape threats of my own but I woke last week and realized: I am in my mid-40s. Everything I've ever accomplished -- educationally, professionally, artistically -- seems like random scraps lifted by bloody stumps. Because I've spent all my life since age 8 -- perhaps earlier, I don't know, anything seems possible in this benighted world -- fighting against concrete proof that my culture, my peers, and people in my own family provided that none of my desperate effort to be and do better meant anything. That my purpose on this earth was to charm, distract, and flatter -- and that any of the more criminal interpretations of what that actually meant were my due as a pretty little girl. It was the same for my mother and hers. This is the world we barely survived and that our daughters will inherit unless we fight with all we are to stop the sick violence soaking all of us in depression, lost dreams, loneliness, and despair.

Friends or no: I am fucking done. Done making nice at reunions, done pretending that the careful, flawlessly academic and mostly polite voice I had to learn like a second language encompasses all I am and all the truth I know. So done, I'm a steak broiled in lava. Done with this hidden anger that extracts such great price and from me alone, so I am silently boiling in bile while the few who hurt me that are still living for me to vigilantly track from afar go skipping about, seemingly perfectly content -- and why shouldn't they be? They've never been named. They've never been arrested, much less jailed, much less convicted for a sentence of any duration. I've served time instead and I am DONE with it. I am done serving anyone or anything that so pitilessly devours each happiness I've had to fight for every other goddamn minute of my life. DONE.

My goddaughter, my nieces, all the beautiful young artists and scholars I've known -- they must have a better world than this. It won't happen without a fight, the hardest and most dangerous one most of us have ever faced. But what other choice do we have? Please, if you've got any spark or life in you at all, fight this fight and never stop until the thought of a judge sentencing a violent rapist to a slap on the wrist -- permitting him to speak of profiting from this experience, as though it was passing weather and not a personal choice he made to rape, negate, lie, and destroy -- is as vile to everyone as it is to most of us. Please, go on fighting and please, don't stop until the covert war against our humanity is ended, and for good. Please.
posted by melissa may at 4:46 PM on June 5, 2016 [50 favorites]


Whenever I read a public impact statement like this, the thing that pops into my mind and never leaves is that a survivor can write a confessional and have it responded to one of two ways:

a) they're as speaking truth to power, or
b) they're seen as some annoying, attention-seeking narcissist who's making a big deal, given that they're not the only person this has happened to (not my words, other peoples').

Who gets to fall into category A and who gets stuck with category B?
posted by blerghamot at 5:35 PM on June 5, 2016


I'd like to think the sex offender registry will be problematic locally for him, given that it comes with additional restrictions, requirements to inform police, stay away from schools, and the like. Except he might just move to another country, and I'm not sure that he couldn't, and then he'd have no consequences later in life.
posted by gryftir at 8:17 PM on June 5, 2016


If this is how he acts when he's drunk, he needs to be banned from drinking for ever.

He kept blaming the alcohol but you don't drag someone behind a dumpster because you're drunk.

You drag someone behind a dumpster because you know what you're doing is wrong and you're trying to hide.
posted by sio42 at 9:55 PM on June 5, 2016 [24 favorites]


I'd be curious to read an opinion from one of our MeFites who is knowledgeable about professional legal ethics regarding the behavior of the defense attorney. I understand in principle that ours is an adversarial system and of course the defendant is entitled to present a defense. But where is the line between presenting a vigorous defense and deliberately fabricating a false account of what happened?

Because as much as I am disgusted by the rapist in this case and his continuing refusal to admit what he did, I think I'm actually more disgusted by the perpetrator's father and the defense attorney if the description of the defense strategy is remotely accurate. The perpetrator I can believe did the horrible thing he did obliviously while out of a toxic mix of entitlement and absence of empathy. But it's hard to imagine that the others in this case didn't do what they did knowing full well what they were doing.
posted by Nerd of the North at 11:43 PM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Such courage.
posted by Coaticass at 12:36 AM on June 6, 2016


An op-ed published in the college newspaper, the Stanford Daily - A case against Brock Turner’s incarceration, that was most kindly described in comments as an "an absolutely ludicrous article".
posted by bitteschoen at 1:13 AM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


When the policeman arrived and interviewed the evil Swede who tackled you, he was crying so hard he couldn’t speak because of what he’d seen.

*Sobs*

Jesus Christ, can you get any more entitled than a Stanford white male frat athlete? Good thing the judge is an alum. I weep for this fucked up world.
posted by benzenedream at 1:45 AM on June 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


I feel that their petition[in support of his imprisonment] reflects neither the values of the Stanford student body

One of the values of any ruling elite is "no one from our tribe may be imprisoned", so I guess that statement's true.
posted by ambrosen at 5:30 AM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


where is brock's mother? why hasn't she slapped her son and husband upside the face?
posted by osi at 6:52 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Even if we assume, for the sake of argument (and I don't believe this for a second) that Turner would never, ever, do this again, we have a strong innate sense that there's more to the question than whether or not a person who offends gets better.

Indeed. I don't want to live in a world where everyone is allowed one rape so long as they promise to never do it again.

I also find it supremely weird that the out is primarily for wealthy white men. Like they didn't already have all possible opportunities to avoid falling into patterns of crime and violence. Meanwhile, someone from a disadvantaged upbringing faces all kinds of challenges to avoid them, and if they mess up they're put away long enough so that rehabilitation is a real struggle.

where is brock's mother? why hasn't she slapped her son and husband upside the face?

Slut shaming is largely between women. Female genital mutilation is a practice passed on largely by women. A good deal of body dysmorphia and judgements about appearance come from women. The oppression of women is an internal as well as an external practice. Brock is her son. My mother would probably smack me upside the head if I did what he had (well, she wouldn't smack me — but she would do everything in her power to see that I atoned for my sins) but not every mother is like that. Some are perfectly happy to blame women for the incorrect behaviors of their sons.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:19 AM on June 6, 2016 [9 favorites]


[One deleted. While I don't think anyone is specifically suggesting this, let's be careful to steer clear of anything in the neighborhood of doxing, or going after family members, etc. Thanks.]
posted by taz (staff) at 8:38 AM on June 6, 2016


@justkelly_ok (combined tweets):
This is how a convicted rapist was portrayed by @washingtonpost. Include his swimming creds, avoid the word "rape". Media like @washingtonpost have an obligation here. And they're doing a terrible job. For contrast, here's @washingtonpost coverage of other rapes. All three headlines use the word, use mugshots. In none of those three headlines did @washingtonpost find it necessary to include other details about the rapists' lives. More examples, just from the past couple of months. Does anyone else notice a pattern here?
posted by zombieflanders at 9:24 AM on June 6, 2016 [21 favorites]


Yeah, uh, definitely wasn't suggesting doxxing anyone by pointing out that the entire family's full names are splashed all over the internet and that I wonder what his siblings think as I'm sure their privacy has been eroded, but thanks.
posted by palomar at 9:28 AM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Apparently Ashleigh Banfield just read the victim's entire statement on CNN.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:34 AM on June 6, 2016 [16 favorites]


Wow. I saw it on the TVs as I was walking into work, and was glad that this is getting major attention. But that's fantastic and unprecedented, if true.
posted by naju at 9:40 AM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


i understand the 'where his is wife/mother!?' stuff as an impulse, but it serves to once again blame women for the actions of men.
posted by nadawi at 10:08 AM on June 6, 2016 [28 favorites]


The father's statement....I can't even... I would bet money that he has a ton of stories about "action" he's gotten from drunk coeds, hesitant secretaries, and a wife who didn't put out the way he wanted. His statement sent shivers down my spine because I know those sociopaths, the ones who think that all things belong to them by right, and women are just things.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 10:38 AM on June 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


Bbc has an article now. It's not any new information, but it is nice to see this mans actions hit international news.
posted by AlexiaSky at 10:56 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's not just the sociopaths, because we live in a patriarchy.
posted by benzenedream at 10:57 AM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


No matter how many times I see examples in the news and even in my daily life, I'm still stunned every time I witness someone completely, utterly, and unhesitatingly fail to empathize with those of us who are "othered" in society.

I feel like I want to post a dot here because the father's and the judge's words and actions here are so awful on top of the vileness that was perpetrated, they represent some kind of death to me.

All respect and praise to this brave and strong woman for that statement and to those in this thread who have vowed to stand stronger than ever before in the wake of this.
posted by lord_wolf at 11:07 AM on June 6, 2016 [10 favorites]


I don't believe that he deserves to receive a lighter sentence than other convicted rapists.

But I do believe the crime should have a lighter sentence to reflect how common it is.

It should be light enough that society believes the woman. The harsher the punishment, the more disbelief that this fine man couldn't possibly do it. The higher the hurdle to get a conviction. When only 7% of people get convicted, the crime is functionally legal.

I say this as a victim. So I understand the harm. But for me the harm was as much about that one violent night, as it was about the isolation and disbelief that followed.
posted by politikitty at 11:17 AM on June 6, 2016




There's a brief couple of comments from the victim (and writer) in the Guardian:

“I remain anonymous, yes to protect my identity. But it is also as 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 everywoman.”
posted by progosk at 2:28 PM on June 6, 2016 [16 favorites]


Another letter of support written for Brock's sentencing hearing, from a female friend. Get ready to vomit forever. Link
posted by palomar at 2:46 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


(Her letter, translated: "I tried really hard to cope with reality but it was too much for me to take so I'm falling back on my belief that a guy like this would never hurt me or any of my friends, because if I have to consider that the guys I think are super sweet might actually try to hurt me, I'll just fall apart. So I'll blame my friend's rape victim for being a big slutty slut because that's just easier for me. #sorrynotsorry")
posted by palomar at 2:46 PM on June 6, 2016 [10 favorites]


His mug shot has been released. Article discusses why it matters.
posted by Lexica at 4:22 PM on June 6, 2016 [9 favorites]


A healthy rewrite of the father's letter.
posted by Dashy at 5:02 PM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Facebook tells me that the Brock Turner for 2016 Olympics page does not go against their community standards

They told me the same thing earlier today, but then just now they I got an update that it was against standards and they took it down.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:32 PM on June 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


B. The exposure is almost certainly going to destroy both his athetic and college potential.

What are you basing that assumption on?


Well, in terms of the Olympics it looks like he's never going to be eligible, at least in the US.

"Turner would be not eligible to become a member should he attempt to return to the organization in the future"


(As the article notes, you have to be a member of USA Swimming to compete in the Olympics / Olympic Trials)

While that in no way makes his sentence reasonable, at least his victim will never have to see him being celebrated at the Olympics.
posted by thefoxgod at 5:39 PM on June 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


That's a relief, thefoxgod. After I posted this FPP I did some googling to try to find out whether the Olympics had any kind of embargo against competitors with criminal records and found nothing to indicate that they did. It's good to know the USA swim team has a code of conduct that would bar him from membership. I don't think I could bear to see that kid on a medal podium.
posted by orange swan at 6:02 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


The female friend's implication that rape can happen without a rapist. Um?
posted by Lyme Drop at 6:13 PM on June 6, 2016 [12 favorites]


From this Guardian article: "Palo Alto Online reported that Turner plans to appeal his conviction and will be represented by Dennis Riordan, a well-known San Francisco appellate attorney."

Oh for fuck's sake. He doesn't get it at all. I hope the upshot of all this is that he winds up with a stiffer sentence. He should do at least three years in prison.
posted by orange swan at 6:13 PM on June 6, 2016 [12 favorites]


I don't think I could bear to see that kid on a medal podium.

Yeah, I searched for it because when I read the stuff about the judge being worried about the impact on his career or whatever I had a horrible image of this guy getting a medal on TV in the future. Thankfully thats not going to happen, which is a tiny tiny consolation.
posted by thefoxgod at 6:26 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Can you get a harsher sentence if you appeal? I thought the sentence could only be reduced. (I don't know anything about law.)
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:05 PM on June 6, 2016


IANAL but I think you can get stiffer penalties.

The purpose of the appeal is to drive the victim into maddness
So she suddenly 'remembers', concenting and the case is closed.
That's the privalage part.

I would love it if a judge rules that he must complete the entire appeal in jail, and that it would increase his sentace time to fight it because any appeal will take a good while.(I dont think this can legally happen)
posted by AlexiaSky at 7:31 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]




They told me the same thing earlier today, but then just now they I got an update that it was against standards and they took it down.

I reported it but didn't get this update. Glad that page is gone. I wonder what made them change their minds? The sheer numbers of people reporting the page, hopefully.
posted by crossoverman at 7:46 PM on June 6, 2016


I reported it, too; glad to hear it's gone. The counterpoint page, Brock Turner for Prison 2016, is getting some attention. And someone has set up a single-page shaming website based on his full name.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:50 PM on June 6, 2016


If he appeals, maybe this time the two men on bikes will come from Sweden to testify.
posted by Puddle Jumper at 11:21 PM on June 6, 2016


Maybe this time? They testified in the trial.
posted by jamaro at 12:11 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


You can't get more time if you appeal.
posted by agregoli at 5:30 AM on June 7, 2016


I didn't think a defendant's appeal could result in more time, but I was hoping there was some other process by which Turner's sentence could be overturned. As Mitrovarr said upthread, "If the judge violated sentencing policies/guidelines, it's possible the state could appeal."
posted by orange swan at 8:59 AM on June 7, 2016


Kudos to ESPN's Mike Golic.
posted by TwoStride at 10:56 AM on June 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


In response to this,
Thank you, sunset, for the link to the recall petition. This is what I wrote: I'm signing because any judge who empathizes more with criminals than victims has no business on the bench. Borrow at will, but please sign the damn thing even if you think it'll do no good. This brilliant, courageous woman needs to hear all our disgust loud and clear -- as powerfully and often as she can.
and everyone else demanding the judge's recall, I'd just like to share the words of someone from facebook, who said it much better than I could have:
over the past year i've seen movements to recall alvarez, mcginty, and now judge persky. while the individual reasons behind the calls for defeat are justified (stanford rape, tamir, laquan) the overall implication is that we have a leniency problem.

nope. nope nope nope nope nope.

we didn't become the most incarceratory country on the planet by being too lenient. there is no dogma of under prosecution driving american criminal justice. it is quite the opposite. we LOVE to punish. we are literally addicted to incarceration. we thirst for it. it is our answer to everything.

so, if you call for more punishment make sure to contextualize its rarity. and get mad about over sentencing, too.

anyone working to recall florida circuit court judge matthew destry? he gave a 23-year-old black kid 60 years in prison for driving with a suspended license and having bullets in his car. or what about da leon cannizaro in new orleans? he wants a man to serve 20 years for stealing $31 of candy. or, judge jerri collins in florida? she sentenced a dv victim to three days in jail for not attending her abuser's trial because she was too terrified. or da billy west, who charged a 17 year old with five felonies because he had naked pictures OF HIMSELF on his phone.

these stories are remarkably common. leniency, on the other hand, is rare. it is so so rare. (anita alvarez spent eight years terrorizing black and brown people, prosecuting anyone and everyone, and stuffing people into prison. the irony is that the backlash came the one time she DIDN'T prosecute.)

this doesn't mean brock (seriously, what kind of name is brock) should be let off the hook. or mcginty or alvarez or this judge.

but don't let these other elected officials off the hook, either.

the truth is, you cannot fight mass incarceration through more incarceration. so when we call for punishment in the (VERY RARE) times that deserve more of it, we must also constantly call for more leniency. if you care about mass incarceration, you must also care about these stories. you must fight these elected officials, too. you must. you must. you must.

just your weekly reminder that america has an over sentencing epidemic.
I understand the objections to this judge, particularly in light of his Stanford affiliation and his seeming mercy for Brock, and I will not defend his actions. But practically speaking, activists running recall campaigns only in response to perceived UNDER sentencing are doing all of us a great, great injustice.
posted by likeatoaster at 11:42 AM on June 7, 2016 [15 favorites]


John Pavlovitz: To Brock Turner’s Father, From Another Father.
"Dear Mr. Turner,

I’ve read your letter to the judge on behalf of your son Brock, asking for leniency in his rape conviction.

I need you to understand something, and I say this as a father who dearly loves my son as much as you must love yours:

Brock is not the victim here.
His victim is the victim.
She is the wounded one.
He is the damager."
posted by amf at 12:00 PM on June 7, 2016 [12 favorites]


I was about to post that beautiful document myself, amf -- thank you. Raising boys who see girls as people instead of targets to acquire takes engaged, decent fathers and other male mentors -- women cannot do it alone in such a poisoned culture. Good men help grow good boys and thank goodness they do, because life's a far finer thing with friends and partners instead of friendzones and predators.
posted by melissa may at 12:33 PM on June 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


Yikes, it just occurred to me that I know, or rather know of, a Brock Turner. I had a friend in my twenties who had an older brother named Brock, whom I never met. He's the only person I ever knew of who had that name. I just clued in a few minutes ago that, as her maiden name was Turner, that he's also Brock Turner. What an unhappy coincidence for a 55-year-old Canadian guy.
posted by orange swan at 1:13 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]




A mother discusses what a Brock Turner-infested world does to someone trying to raise daughters safely with devastating eloquence and sincerity.

(Edited because I first mistook this essay as being written by the Stanford survivor's mother. Instead, she's just another scared mom trying to keep girls safe in what's often a terrifying world.)
posted by melissa may at 2:03 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, jeez, I was so disappointed to fall for the clickbait naju linked. I would really, really like to hear what the Swedes said beyond what's already been reported.

Actually, I think they're key; I wonder (doubt, tbh; ugly but I do) whether two random American college students would have stopped or intervened. At any rate, that article offers nothing new, sorry.
posted by Dashy at 2:15 PM on June 7, 2016


Here’s a possibly naive/ignorant question, but in strictly legal terms, I wonder - with those two Swedish students as key witnesses and their testimony, confirming the woman was perfectly still to the point they had to check she was alive at all, and Turner trying to run away when they caught him, and them having to hold him down until the police arrived - how could the judge basically ignore all that, legally speaking? Because in his statement it sounds like he didn’t think any of that mattered that much. How is that even doable? How can you legally justify that at all?

How can a sentence fly in the face of both the concept of there basically being a sentence at all (I mean, if as a judge you suddenly have a problem with the very idea of issuing a decision that could have a "severe impact" on the life of the person accused of the crime, maybe you’re in the wrong job?) and the actual testimony of the only witnesses?

(On top of ignoring the jury’s conclusions, but I don’t even know how that system works)

Is there no further legal remedy the victim can pursue?
posted by bitteschoen at 2:18 PM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


At any rate, that article offers nothing new, sorry.

Eh, to each their own, but I was glad to see their faces, know their names, hear that they read the victim's letter and what they thought about it, and learn that they're not especially interested in being in the limelight at the moment, even though they're surely deserving.

It's a grim story all around, with lots of bad actors. As the victim said, it helps to remember there are some heroes involved.
posted by naju at 2:20 PM on June 7, 2016 [18 favorites]


she could sue civally. and in fact in this case probably should, since his money has shielded him from further criminal consequences.

there are a few legal activists groups pushing for this remedy to be used more often, in fact, because the standard of proof is lower and the criminal system doesn't really remedy victims so much as punish offenders. also it more adequately targets privileged perpetrators, and sidesteps cohorting with mass incarceration.
posted by likeatoaster at 2:47 PM on June 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


likeatoaster, I agree with that as possible remedy while still wringing my hands because from her letter we know this has been a year of absolute degrading hell for her, so the notion of diving back into our legal system for further remedy is likely the last thing on her mind. I think we're all tired of these ad-hoc patchwork legal solutions to such a deeply entrenched social injustice.
posted by melissa may at 3:37 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I wonder (doubt, tbh; ugly but I do) whether two random American college students would have stopped or intervened.

A friend of mine (American) once intervened in a somewhat similar situation when he was a grad student when he saw a man physically threatening his apparent-girlfriend on campus one evening, if it makes you feel any better. He got the crap kicked out of himself for his trouble, but at least was pretty sure he prevented her from being assaulted that night. I think a lot of people of various nationalities really would intervene if they saw something like that. It sucks that the world contains as many pieces of shit like Brock Turner as it does, but there's an awful lot of decent folk, too.
posted by biogeo at 4:01 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I firmly believe that most people would help like the Swedes did. I have to believe that, because the alternative is to horrible to contemplate.
posted by COD at 4:44 PM on June 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


The current trend in campus sexual assault prevention is to train students in bystander intervention techniques. You create a clear expectation that people will intervene when they see or overhear something that seems suspicious, and then you give them specific techniques to deal with various scenarios. I don't know how well it works, but students are definitely getting the message that they ought to do something if they encounter a situation like this.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:56 PM on June 7, 2016 [8 favorites]




Is it possible to donate negative money to that account? Hell, I don't even _want_ the money, I'd be happy if it went to RAINN or, hell, just disappeared. Rather that than those fuckers get it.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 5:29 PM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


(actually now I kinda want someone to start a fake fundraiser for the Turners and send the money to RAINN instead. That would be awesome — fleecing motherfuckers who deserve it and actually doing good in the world.)
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 5:30 PM on June 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


As a little sister myself, parts of the letter that made me cry:

- The writer's searing protective fury that Brock Turner and his lawyer tried to use her little sister's testimony against her.
- The mutual horror between the writer and her sister that it could have been the little sister that Turner raped that night. If it hadn't been the writer, it still would've been another woman. A nightmare you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy, let alone your sister.
posted by nicebookrack at 5:37 PM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]




(Rev: Has RAINN reconfigured its stance on rape culture since 2014?)
posted by nicebookrack at 5:44 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm happy to give them my 2 cents about their son, the rapist.
posted by jamaro at 5:52 PM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


nicebookrack I can't answer your RAINN question but as someone who has been involved tangentially and in fundraising for them I can say -- for the longest time they stood completely alone as the sole major nonprofit to make eradicating sexual abuse their mission and as such, they are completely besieged. They must walk a very fine line between educating the ignorant about the devastating effects of sexual abuse while not completely alienating the wider giving public, so I forgive them missteps. Maybe WE as a culture are finally ready to hear what they know completely unvarnished, or maybe like so many nonprofits that become nationally renowned they will ossify and die in their own self-importance. In which case, some better, younger, more connected group will take their place, but I will always be grateful to them for being the first national number I could hand to a survivor to say look, see, you aren't alone -- none of us are alone. So I am inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt and hope like hell they are poised and ready to assert their toughest messages into the public sphere because maybe, FINALLY, someone other than survivors and those who love them are ready to hear them.
posted by melissa may at 6:40 PM on June 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


This is a contrast that is so fucking infuriating to me:

Exonerated football player cites "privilege" in Stanford rape case

Brian Banks spent five years in prison after being falsely accused of rape, nearly completely derailing not just the football standout's playing career but his life.

As his day in court approached, Banks told "60 Minutes" in a 2013 interview, his lawyer feared that the then-16-year-old wouldn't get a fair trial, based on his age, size and race. So she, an African-American herself, convinced Brian to plead no contest to a crime he insisted he didn't commit, and was later exonerated for after his accuser was secretly recorded admitting to making the whole thing up.

His plea meant he'd avoid a possible 41 years in jail, but he was agreeing to a deal that included a sentence of anywhere from 18 months to five years, and Brian received the maximum.

..."You know a man is guilty, so why aren't we unleashing half of the punishment that was unleashed on Brian Banks when he was innocent and there was no evidence?" he said. "They gave me six years. They gave him six months."

Like many other critics of the outcome in the Turner case, Banks says all this consideration for the negative impact on the rapist only deepens the suffering already unleashed on the victim, and diminishes the victim's voice in the case.

"I wasn't physically raped, but I was raped in a sense of my freedom," he said. "I was kidnapped, taken against my will, placed in a box for five years and two months. I was denied all human rights. When I screamed and pleaded and begged, it fell on deaf ears. It's a different form of being assaulted and taken advantage of. I know what she is going through."

posted by futz at 7:18 PM on June 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


The Change.org petition needed about 19,000 signatures when I signed it almost an hour ago. Watching that number tick down to 2,872 (at last refresh) in that brief timespan restored some much needed faith in humanity.
posted by juliplease at 7:26 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Lexica mentioned the mug shot upthread. Here is a bit more about it.

The Santa Clara County's Sheriff's Office finally released Turner's sentencing photo — the photo taken when a convicted defendant is handed over to state custody — on Monday afternoon. And Stanford provided NBC News with his original arrest mug from Jan. 18, 2015.

In statements to the media Monday, the sheriff's office said it was Stanford's place to release any photos — even though booking photos are public records under California law. Stanford maintained Monday that it was the sheriff's job.

The photos were finally made public a few hours after Diana Prichard, a filmmaker and freelance journalist in Michigan, published a formal request she made Monday afternoon to Stanford public safety authorities rebutting point by point the arguments she said the university had made to decline her requests for Turner's mugshots.

(Pritchard's comment:

After a full day of pressure, Stanford has released what does appear to be the original arrest photo for Brock Turner; Jan 18, 2015.
It should be noted that this was the result of MANY journalists pressuring them all day long. It should also be noted despite Stanford's official press release earlier today that they did not have the authority to release the photo, the email came directly from them.
Back story here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10154299312244697&set=a.54768564696.50147.662924696&type=3)

Still, Tuesday after midnight, the previously active Facebook page of the sheriff's office hadn't posted anything on the case — or anything at all since June 1, in fact.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It took almost 4 months to release a photo THAT WAS LEGALLY A PART OF THE PUBLIC RECORD. Initially they released his sentencing photo (he was in a suit, new haircut etc...) Who is pulling the strings here? Why wouldn't they release his mug shot for 3.5 months? Releasing a mug shot is SOP. This is TWO different law enforcement agencies subverting access to a public record. Why is this particular white guy getting special treatment?

I don't know what to do with all this anger.
posted by futz at 8:23 PM on June 7, 2016 [15 favorites]


palomar, if it's any comfort, the author of that vomitous letter, Leslie Rasmussen, is in a band, along with her sisters, and that band is losing gigs as a result. She issued a statement via the band's Facebook page that managed to be as bad, if not worse, as the original character letter. The statement (and later the whole FB page) was subsequently deleted, but of course, the internet never forgets.
posted by bakerina at 8:31 PM on June 7, 2016 [9 favorites]


WaPo's Petula Dvorak on the pictures of Turner: Why the Stanford attacker’s smiling photo is far more telling than any mugshot.

Because this is what a campus sexual predator looks like. And that’s the truth too many people refuse to acknowledge. It’s the most difficult part of the campus rape culture destroying the lives of so many young women: acknowledging who their rapists are.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:56 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't know what to do with all this anger.

Sorry to keep chiming in on this thread but from experience I can tell you: leaving it inside you is the most destructive thing you can do. USE IT. To donate or volunteer to help survivors, to protest anywhere you see rape normalized in our legal system or wider culture through direct action or art, and to protect any being smaller, more vulnerable, or less connected than yourself. That's the only solution I've found that restores our humanity, and is the only vehicle we've got for wide and lasting social change.
posted by melissa may at 9:27 PM on June 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


UGGGGGGGH. I actually had been feeling kind of bad for Leslie Rasmussen and her bandmates (who are also her sisters), because the internet shaming machine is pretty awful to be caught up in and while I totally support anyone not going to the band's shows I'm not so sure how I feel about the Twitter hordes going after an incredibly young and obviously rape culture indoctrinated woman like that... but the "poor me" of her statement that bakerina linked sort of made me want to vomit everywhere forever.
posted by palomar at 9:52 PM on June 7, 2016 [9 favorites]


Jesus. I want to forgive Rasmussen for being 20, obviously sheltered, and utterly ignorant, but god damn. Woman, I've performed in clubs too, probably much divier than you or your sisters would set one dainty foot in, but the ONLY reason I could -- not having the comfortable hedge of $$ or family to shield me from the worst of those scenes -- is because I met and married a man who isn't an abusive, overly privileged, rapist piece of shit. A man that in our younger days I witnessed falling off plenty a bar stool but to whom the idea of exploiting another human is so repugnant, so antithetical to who he is as a person, that he could never -- never -- NEVER do what your old childhood friend Brock did to the still unnamed victim.

Of course he never raped you, you twit. Raping you would have had a consequence, if only in frosty family relations between your two well-to-do houses. Raping you would have meant having to see your beaten face again and thus confront his own inflated self-image as a promising young champion. Girls like you definitely get raped -- don't get me wrong -- but generally not while in the company of your family or their oldest friends. You poor, naive, idiot child -- you don't understand now and likely never will, but you need to shut up and do it right now.

Just -- fuck -- if nothing else proves the lie that young people get all the sex education and "political correctness" they need make ethical, intelligent decisions, this should be a fairly clear signal that no, you can be from money -- even make some gesture toward making art and an independent female life of your own choosing -- and still be vastly uneducated about the basic realities of the world you occupy with a great many other horribly suffering people. Maybe when she's my age she'll revisit this moment and feel the full shame and mortification that she should at this moment, but who knows? She's got wealth, connections, the skin color of the majority, and the thin education that allows her to mouth all the right phrases of contrition despite zero understanding of what she actually did wrong.

Jesus wept. This is a nightmare that just keeps on giving, and if I feel this way in my deepest gut I can only dimly imagine the Stanford survivor's face as she reads this egregious apology. Jesus. Fucking. Wept.
posted by melissa may at 10:07 PM on June 7, 2016 [24 favorites]


Rasmussen: "rape on campuses isn't always because people are rapists"

Those of you willing to at least try and give her the benefit of the doubt for being young and foolish are better people than me.

My immediate reaction was that she is utter scum. On reflection, I stand by it.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:33 PM on June 7, 2016 [16 favorites]


So raping women isn't the only thing Brock Turner lies about: apparently he's something of a drug aficionado. Experimenting with weed, LSD, and MDMA is something I have no problem with -- some of my favorite people, etc. -- but as others have pointed out: can you imagine a minority defendant getting away with such a bald-faced lie regarding his drug use to a court while under investigation for a violent felony? Fuck no. So Judge Persky ignored every last bit of victim testimony, eyewitness accounts by the good men who tackled Brock Turner to the ground so he might face justice, goddamn lab reports of all description -- and who knows what else. But it's allll coming out now. These diseased cock-drunk fuckwads thought they could get away scott free and almost did, if not for the meddling of a lot of invested pesky kids.

Stay invested. No more sleeping, no more despair. They will be brought to account and oh, how I long for their pain and suffering -- because no matter how harsh and vivid it is, it will not approach within a million miles of what this brave, brilliant, miraculously eloquent woman has suffered. All respect at her for igniting a lot of suffering people to shake off the blues and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
posted by melissa may at 12:55 AM on June 8, 2016 [9 favorites]


[A few comments deleted. Please step back from the personal stuff and let's drop the derail about "not being wrong but indistinguishable from being wrong."]
posted by taz (staff) at 2:04 AM on June 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Besides the rape apologism, this is the saddest part of Rasmussen's letter, IMO:
I have been repeatedly reminded by my family and coached by police to hold my personal sobriety closely and seriously because of the industry I work in and the risks to my own life that I could face as a young woman playing regularly in venues across the country where alcohol is served.

It's sad that she hears the message that all women get about drinking and uses that to blame alcohol instead of rapists. And that she thinks that because the victim did drink she's to blame. Internalized misogyny's a bitch.
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:07 AM on June 8, 2016 [17 favorites]


Rasmussen: "rape on campuses isn't always because people are rapists"

I will link again to the best discussion of this sort of thing I've ever seen on MetaFilter or anywhere: "well, sure, I farted, but that doesn't mean I'm a Farter. I'm emphatically a Non-Farter who just happened to fart one time."
posted by Etrigan at 6:26 AM on June 8, 2016 [9 favorites]


The recall petition has over 600,000 signatures. And there's now a White House petition which guarantees a response from the President if it gets 100,000 signatures.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:54 AM on June 8, 2016 [6 favorites]


Brock Turner's statement to the judge

In Brock Turner's hometown, we're raising kids who are never told no

I wish I could be more surprised about those terrible, terrible letters of support for this rapist. I am angry as hell, yes, but surprised? Sadly, I am not.

We have to fight harder.
posted by palomar at 8:25 AM on June 8, 2016 [8 favorites]




can you imagine a minority defendant getting away with such a bald-faced lie regarding his drug use to a court while under investigation for a violent felony?

Speaking of which:

Brock Allen Turner: The Sort of Defendant Who Is Spared “Severe Impact”

This means that the system is generally friendly to defendants who look like Brock Allen Turner and generally indifferent or cruel to people who don’t look like him. No high school dropout who rapes an unconscious girl behind a dumpster is getting six months in jail and a solicitous speech from the likes of Judge Persky. Judges take their youth as a sign that they are “superpredators,” not as grounds for leniency. If you tell a judge that they aren’t a danger to others, the judge will peer over his or her glasses and remark that people who rape unconscious girls in the dirt are self-evidently dangerous, and don’t be ridiculous. Judges don’t think that a good state prison stretch will have too severe an impact – after all, what are they missing, really?

So you won’t find defense lawyers like me cheering Brock Turner’s escape from appropriate consequences. We see it as a grim reminder of the brokenness of the system. We recognize it as what makes the system impossible for many of our clients to trust or respect. And we know that when there’s a backlash against mercy and lenient sentences – when cases like this or the “affluenza” kid inspire public appetite for longer sentences – it’s not the rich who pay the price. It’s the ones who never saw much mercy to begin with.

posted by zabuni at 10:55 AM on June 8, 2016 [16 favorites]


You know I was looking this morning for more information, but all I could find were opinion pieces or stories about the various letters from family and friends that have been surfacing. Thanks for the link to the WaPo article.
posted by LizBoBiz at 11:39 AM on June 8, 2016


Brock Turner’s dad started fund to help with legal fees

Ugh, there's no end to the sense of entitlement. You know what, Dan Turner, being a good parent would have saved you a lot of money. Instead of funding your son's legal defense, you could have said, "Brock, you're guilty of doing a terrible thing. There were witnesses. There is medical evidence. Don't lie to me. No, I will not help you put the poor woman you raped through more trauma in an effort to escape a just punishment for what you did. Plead guilty and do your sentence. I'm saving my money to help you rebuild your life once you take responsibility for what you did and take the consequences for it." But you did not say this, or anything close to it. Instead you funded your son's defense, your hired a lawyer who inflicted more abuse on your son's rape victim, and now that Brock's gotten a fucking joke of a jail sentence, you're going to fund a fucking appeal in an effort to help him get out of even that. And, as if that isn't enough, you also want other people to help you pay for it.

I can't tell you how much satisfaction I take from the fact that the one crowdfunding effort I ever launched, which was to pay for my cat's cyst removal and dental surgery, earned out in three days, while Facebook deleted yours for being below even their elastic community standards. You think about what that says about how much sympathy people have for your effort to help your son escape the consequences for having raped a woman. You think about the backlash you're facing for enabling your son's behaviour. And if you learn anything from these reflections, you'll withdraw your support for your son's appeal, issue a public apology to the victim, and begin the task of teaching your son to be a decent human being who understands that he needs to make amends for what he's done.
posted by orange swan at 11:52 AM on June 8, 2016 [20 favorites]


The night of January 17th changed my life and the lives of everyone involved forever. I The victim can never go back to being the person I she was before that day. I am no longer a swimmer, a student, a resident of California, or the product of the work that I put in to accomplish the goals that I set out in the first nineteen years of my life. Not only have I altered my life, but Everything that has happened to me since is well deserved. I’ve also primarily changed [redacted] and her family’s life. I am the sole proprietor of what happened cause of the rape on the night that these people’s lives were changed forever. I would give anything to change what happened not rape that night. I can never forgive myself for imposing trauma and pain on [redacted]. It debilitates me to think that my actions have raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster caused her emotional and physical stress that is completely unwarranted and unfair unthinkable and inexcusable. The thought of this is in my head every second of every day since this event has occurred I raped. These ideas never leave my mind. During the day, I shake uncontrollably from the amount I torment myself by thinking about what has happened me unambiguously singling out, preying upon, and raping a passed-out woman. I wish I had the ability to go back in time and never pick up a drink that night unconsentingly touch anyone at that party, let alone interact with rape [redacted]. I can barely hold a conversation with someone without having my mind drift into thinking these thoughts about how I'm a rapist. They torture me. I go to sleep every night having been crippled by these thoughts to the point of exhaustion. I wake up having dreamt of these horrific events that I have caused. I am completely consumed by my poor judgement and ill thought actions. There isn’t a second that has gone by where I haven’t regretted the course of events I took on January 17th/18th. My shell and core of who I am as a person is forever broken from this. I am a changed person. At this point in my life, I never want to have a drop of alcohol again. I never want to attend a social gathering that involves alcohol or any situation where people make decisions based on the substances they have consumed. I never want to experience being in a position where it will have a negative impact on my life or someone else’s ever again. I’ve lost two jobs solely based on the reporting of my case. I wish I never was good at swimming or had the opportunity to attend Stanford, so maybe the newspapers wouldn’t want to write stories about me. I'm awful, what I did was horrific, and this cannot be blamed on binge drinking, promiscuity, or anything else other than my fully conscious decisions. I'm an example of unmitigated white privilege and rape culture. I deserve the full, unsparing extent of justice.
posted by naju at 12:04 PM on June 8, 2016 [11 favorites]


Yeah, I wonder what could possibly be behind the wild disparity between Brock Turner and Corey Batey.
posted by TwoStride at 12:06 PM on June 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Brock Turner’s sexual assault victim explains why she’s remaining 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.

posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:04 PM on June 8, 2016 [14 favorites]


"Brock has been given six months in the county jail instead of the potential 14 years in state prison, because the judge worried about the impact prison time would have on his young life.

I reported the incident with this boy to the school office and the school counselor said, “These boys don’t even know what they’re saying. They don’t mean it. They hear these things on TV and in movies, then repeat them. He will feel so embarrassed if we call him out on it, and it didn’t actually happen on school property.”"

Rape culture starts as early as middle school
posted by gaspode at 4:12 PM on June 8, 2016 [10 favorites]


One more thing is how the judge also cited lack of a record and I wonder if he maybe got off from earlier incidents he got off because he swims fast and has no record. Not necessarily another rape but maybe drug possession or fighting where some less privileged and athletic folks would have gotten punished.

So his privilege keeps him out of trouble and then keeps him out of trouble some more. It's like geometric privileges!
posted by LizBoBiz at 4:25 PM on June 8, 2016 [8 favorites]


I reported the incident with this boy to the school office and the school counselor said, “These boys don’t even know what they’re saying. They don’t mean it. They hear these things on TV and in movies, then repeat them. He will feel so embarrassed if we call him out on it, and it didn’t actually happen on school property.”"

Good Christ, how else are people going to learn when something is wrong unless we DO call them out on it? It is not like aging magically gives you knowledge, someone has to TEACH you things, and part of those teaching moments sometimes involve being taught "this act has serious consequences because IT IS BAD".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:44 PM on June 8, 2016 [13 favorites]


middle school is definitely where i started to learn that boys will take advantage of their privileged position against girls - especially when the boy was from a better part of town.
posted by nadawi at 6:47 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Gina Mei: Brock Turner's Sentence Has Already Been Shortened Two Months
Due to "automatically applied 'credits,'" Turner will be released from Elmwood prison in Milpitas, California on September 2, eight weeks shorter than his original sentence and a total of four months after he was first admitted. The Daily Mail reports that these "credits" were applied due to good behavior, and that "it was assessed that he was unlikely to misbehave behind bars."

Due to the nature of his crimes, Turner has a private cell to himself at Elmwood, unlike the majority of the jail's inmates; but representatives for the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office confirm that he will not be getting special treatment otherwise.
[...]
Court documents reveal that Turner has continuously lied to his probation officer in order to secure an even more lenient sentence, claiming that the entire assault had actually been consensual and the victim had given vocal consent. This statement was given after Turner had already been convicted of three counts of felony sexual assault and sentenced to jail; and the Santa Clara district attorney present during his statement had to intervene to say that Turner was being "untruthful."

At this time, Turner is seeking to serve his three-year probation period in Ohio, his home state, after he is released from Elmwood. He is already in the process of requesting a transfer.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:45 AM on June 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


If you're on Twitter please join your voices in support of this amazing & brave woman with #BrockTurner and #20min. Sign the petitions and raise all the consciousness of sexual violence's epidemic nature you can. She needs YOUR voice. We all do!
posted by melissa may at 10:28 AM on June 9, 2016




i really love that biden letter...and it would have been so much more impactful to me if he had taken this as a chance to apologize for his own failures as a bystander with regards to clarence thomas.
posted by nadawi at 12:26 PM on June 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


Pieces like this one, trying to shame the people justifiably outraged over this travesty by arguing that we're opening Pandora's Box and enabling more draconian courts, are making me see red. And the funny thing is that in the abstract, I agree with the argument, but the simple fact is that a judge who, in defiance of the facts of the case and the verdict of the jury, sentences a rapist to effectively 3 months in the county lockup is a judge who is manifestly unfit for his job, and needs to be dismissed. The problem is not that the people advocating for his recall are hypocrites, it's that the legal profession refuses to clean house, and now they're finding that people will do it for them.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:28 PM on June 9, 2016 [8 favorites]


This has been really incredible to watch unfold. I've wanted to stay away from Facebook over these past few days because of election stuff but my friends have all been absolutely on fire with this story, sharing petitions, actions, personal stories, and I didn't want to miss it. I've been around the feminist block, I've seen shit go down that's equally enraging and equally lacking in justice, and nothing like this has ever happened; I credit it all to the incredible eloquence of the victim's statement. It's really amazing.
posted by sunset in snow country at 12:52 PM on June 9, 2016 [8 favorites]


NoxAeternum, my sole comfort is that it's a Slate link. No one on any axis point of the political spectrum would consult their legendarily confused and reactionary stable of political writers for anything but bitter laughs. I'm sure the same argument is being made elsewhere. I

n any case, the obvious racism of harsher rape sentences for some minorities -- particularly the poor and brown -- are a serious problem that people who've actually been thinking about this issue for longer than the last 15 fucking tweets care about and seek to address. Social justice is social justice. Like a great many pinkos, my personal preference for a prison model is the famously successful rehabilitative Norway system. But that's not our system. And until sexual assault crimes, which are committed primarily against the most socially vulnerable, are prosecuted and punished with the same zeal as other violent crime, it's an injustice I'll fight.

I don't want prisoners sentenced to long unbroken stretches in violent facilities that do nothing to prepare them for reintroduction into society -- and especially decry prison rape and the sociopathic jokes people make about them, instead of addressing them as a sickeningly unacceptable "punishment" for any offender -- but I don't make those rules. Lawmakers do, and until more Americans agree that our current system is flawed without redemption, nothing will change. But the answer isn't light or no sentences for rapists, which send a clear signal to victims that we don't matter. That testifying in court or otherwise participating is pointless, only resulting in hell and humiliation instead of hope for actual justice. Six months with 3 for good behavior is not enough to teach Brock Turner a damn thing, just as life sentences for growing a little weed to nothing to make our society safer. Both can be true at the same time -- a complexity of the sort most Slate writers seem wholly unable to grapple with.
posted by melissa may at 1:37 PM on June 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


Fuuuuuck, so much for the edit window. Please forgive, it's an emotional moment for me and a lot of other people. As I said in apology to everyone I know for incessantly posting on our personal media: to me, the explosive national reaction to this case -- and the sudden flurry of demanding justice for this survivor -- feels like Bastille Day. And I have quite the axe , one I've been longing to swing at some entitled and empty heads for a long damn time.
posted by melissa may at 1:52 PM on June 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


The White House petition received over 100,000 signatures, so the White House should respond within 60 days. The recall petition is closing in on a million sigs.

I think sunset in snow country nailed it: the eloquence of the victim is what pushed this into overdrive.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:13 PM on June 9, 2016


More good news: Judge Persky is getting our message loud and clear as he attempts to continue adjudicating cases. "I understand," indeed. I wonder if he understands that whether he is recalled from the bench or not, his career is over? What with Joe Biden's letter, I'm feeling more and more optimistic that he will be recalled. O happy day, and one that if you'd told me as a scared and heartbroken young girl was coming in my lifetime, I would have never believed. The power of just one voice -- now that's the US I grew up having hope for.

O happy, happy, happy day!
posted by melissa may at 2:27 PM on June 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yes. I'm also glad to see the Swedes getting viral coverage, because that's an important element that we need to highlight and emulate.

(I apologize for my earlier cynicism. Well, I'm still cynical, but you all don't need to hear it, and I'm certainly glad for it to be refuted.)
posted by Dashy at 2:33 PM on June 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'd like to hear from other judges & probation officers on why the sentence was abnormally light and how we can improve the entire justice system. I feel like all the attention is going to focus on Persky and then when he gets recalled everyone is going to sit back with a job well done grin and we aren't going to get any deeper into improving sentencing for sexual assault crimes.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:54 PM on June 9, 2016


Especially since the probation office recommended that sentence.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:55 PM on June 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


From the blog Very Smart Brothas:
convicted rapist Brock Turner, his father Dan, and Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky just provided a Fisher Price-meets-Trump University-level lesson plan for recognizing White privilege and rape culture. You will never find a plainer, less sophisticated, and easier to grasp example of these particular strains of pervasive shitty.
posted by Lexica at 3:16 PM on June 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


Sometime next week, members of Congress - from both sides - will take turns reading this letter into the Congressional Record.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:57 PM on June 9, 2016 [13 favorites]


Brothercane, I spent time the other day talking to a psychologist who worked with perpetrators of sex crimes in jail.

She is way more up to date on California law, (which has one of the strictest sex offender laws and enforcement in the country). That is the reason he wants to transfer back to ohio (in addition to population density making finding appropraite housing way more difficult in Ca). But that transfer can be barred. It has to be approved while on probation. They may just make him stay in the area.

He still has to go through the sex offender evaluation part of jail who deal with this type of person way more than you want to know. They have lots of control over parts of his probation, evalutate his probobility of reoffending, have to approve his out of jail housting options, approve employment opportunities though out his entire probationary period and after . The doing presentations at schools will most likely be barred because clinically, the presentations are a huge redflag and I see it as part of the reason why he may reoffend. It affects many things. I've met and done trainings with people who do this kind of work in IL and they dont play around and they don't care who you are or where you came from.

So .the insider view to me seems to be that the registry is going to cause problems, create a system where he has little control, and very simple things can land him back in jail or prison. In fact, many people in IL are serving their probation in jail because they can't find housing.


So, it is possible that the 3 years probation is going to be way more miserable than people think. They can deny his right to leave the state, hold him in incarceration longer if he cannot find suitable housing, argue to extend his sentace due to his level of risk to reoffend.

Most likely has parents home is not compliant with sex offender rules. He is an adult who has to find his own housing. BuyIng property after a sex offense is risky, as someone can open a daycare next door and then he has to sell the property. (I believe property bought before conviction is exempt)

People on the inside see all kinds of problems and the strictness of the registration system and may view it as enough. *I DO NOT.*
posted by AlexiaSky at 7:12 PM on June 9, 2016


I really should just let this lie, but (...I cannot be the only one who is extremely frustrated with the one-sided nature of this conversation).

convicted rapist Brock Turner

nope, sorry. he was convicted of sexual misconduct. that's the whole reason he faced such a light sentencing range, as opposed to what he would have faced if he was convicted of rape. I think it's wack that in California digital penetration is just sexual misconduct and not rape, but by deliberately reporting inaccurate facts, the news coverage is blurring the reality that the California legislature is at least as culpable if not more culpable for this turn of events than the judge.

And while I'm here saying unpopular things, here's a post in the National Association of Public Defenders defending the judge as actually one of the fairest ones of the bench, and gee I wish more people were paying attention to his record as a whole and not just trying to teach the entire judicial bar a lesson about being too lenient. It says something when you have the local public defender bar defending a judge and his record, and that something is based on cumulative direct experience representing 100% poor people and over 50% people of color, notwithstanding some people's willingness to write-of the opinions of criminal defense attorneys as biased.
posted by likeatoaster at 7:23 PM on June 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Per Assistant District Attorney James Gibbons-Shapiro, the DA's office will not challenge the sentence:

Normally, Turner would have been ineligible for county jail. One of the three felonies he committed -- assault to commit rape -- is considered a "serious crime" under the California Penal Code and carries a mandatory sentence of two years in state prison, when combined with the other two felony offenses.

But the law allows judges to deviate from the mandatory sentence for certain crimes by making a finding of "unusual circumstances." The probation report, which recommended a county jail term, cited 20-year-old Turner's youth, high level of intoxication (twice the legal blood-alcohol level) and lack of a criminal record. Under the law, those are legitimate grounds.

"The bottom line is that in this instance we believe that Judge Persky applied the right laws and reviewed the right circumstances and factors that he was required to review," Gibbons-Shapiro said. "We believe that he made the wrong decision, ... that he should have sentenced Turner to prison. We don't believe that we have a basis to appeal or seek a writ in this case, though, because his decision was authorized by law and was made by applying the correct standards."


In other news, Leslie Rasmussen apologizes for her letter:

Although I was asked to share how I knew him, how long I have known him, his character and personality, time spent with him, activities together, and any other opinion I had on the matter, I was not there that night. I had no right to make any assumptions about the situation.

Most importantly, I did not acknowledge strongly enough the severity of Brock’s crime and the suffering and pain that his victim endured, and for that lack of acknowledgement, I am deeply sorry.

posted by creepygirl at 7:36 PM on June 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


the National Association of Public Defenders

Respectfully, likeatoaster, this is exactly what I'd expect from someone charged with defending clients accused of similar crimes. The prosecution team, CA lawyer (and personal family friend of the victim, apparently) Michele Dauber, and various public figures with direct experience in law such as Congressman Ted Poe are unanimously expressing outrage at this sentence, whether it followed the probation report or not. Also, please keep in mind that Brock Turner bald-faced lied about his actions that night and his previous drug use in order to imply this was completely out of character for him. I don't think it's irresponsible to wonder, given his disgusting actions, poor model of a father, and the width and depth of his dishonesty whether this is even his first sexual assault.

Three separate charges of bad acts -- he will spend a month in prison for each if he successfully demonstrates "good behavior." Given how skilled he is at such a young age with presenting a facade rather than an authentic self, it's fairly obvious he'll be able to pretend at reform regardless of having actually changed. Nothing about his behavior, or that of his family, friends, or defending attorney suggests rehabilitation is even something any of them conceive to be something Turner requires. That makes him a genuine danger to any other young woman who crosses his path should he take pains to ensure that his acts won't be witnessed or interrupted.

Just like the classic rapist-behind-the-bushes who is actually a rare phenomenon -- around 80% of all already know their attacker(s) -- Turner committed a bold and very public crime. A half-year sentence with a high chance of being halved again is simply not enough of a penalty for someone so violent, callous, untruthful, and unrepentant.
posted by melissa may at 7:57 PM on June 9, 2016 [7 favorites]


...did you read what I said about maybe considering the judge's entire record when making a decision about his suitability for the bench, or did you just read the word "defense" and think, oh, doesn't count because biased? Because I pretty much pre-empted that objection in my initial comment (and frankly it's a tired stereotype and a deeply offensive one to the many feminists in the field trying to also make the criminal justice system less racist), and I was hoping for a bit more of a considered response.

So, just to be crystal clear because I realize what I am saying is against the trend of this thread: I do not think Brock Turner is a good person. I think he probably deserved a more severe sentence. I also do not think that one decision made in a judge's long career, by itself, warrants removal from the bench without due consideration of his career as a whole, and the sentences he has set for other individuals appearing in his court. And I do not think, in the United States's most-incarcerated-people-in-the-world climate, that it is reasonable to consider only victim's and prosecutor's perspectives on whether sentences handed down by a particular judge are too lenient. I do not understand the pushback to that, and I think it is poorly-considered, and frankly, dangerous.
posted by likeatoaster at 8:15 PM on June 9, 2016


In other news, Leslie Rasmussen apologizes for her letter:

That's... actually not a bad apology.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:22 PM on June 9, 2016


Gee, here's me trying to be respectful but apparently that was wasted effort. What on earth makes you think I'm not a feminist concerned with making the justice system less racist? I've been doing this work -- albeit from the outside -- for over 25 years. I just happen to believe that this case is not the one to solve the problem of overly long sentences for minority defendants or the issue of a globally too-punitive justice system. If something looks, talks, and smells like the worst kind of old-boy cronyism you'll just have to get used to the idea that people will perceive it that way. Any judge who indulges in that -- even once -- is not a judge I trust to take the consideration of victims into account.

Or to sum up plainly: Judge Persky listened to the entire victim statement from the victim herself, looked her in the eyes, and told her sorry, the justice system is not overly concerned with you or your wounds or your impassioned cry for justice. So yeah, this old-ass feminist wants him gone. Disagree all you want but kindly don't imply no one else has thought about the issues as you have, given they've been mentioned at length in this thread.
posted by melissa may at 8:25 PM on June 9, 2016 [14 favorites]




nope, sorry. he was convicted of sexual misconduct.

Let's be clear. Turn was convicted of three charges, specifically:

- assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated/unconscious person,
- penetration of an intoxicated person, and
- penetration of an unconscious person.

The latter two fall within the ordinary meaning and usage of the word 'rape', which in non-legal sense includes sexual activity without consent (at least as far as Miriam-Webster is concerned).

Law and language have a complex relationship. Laws require maximum precision in they way that they use language. But that doesn't always align with the way that society at large talks about concepts, which can cause confusion.

We can absolutely call him a rapist, not withstanding that the word 'rape' is not included in the charges under which he was convicted. And we should. Because he is.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:41 PM on June 9, 2016 [22 favorites]


As to the question of "would American males intervene" in a situation like this: I once was in a situation with a female friend who got herself incredibly intoxicated to the point that she couldn't stand and became...well I didn't realize it then but later learned that she basically went into a psychotic state. (She had existing mental health issues.) Myself, my boyfriend, and her boyfriend had to basically carry her out of a club and try to get her home. I will say we were approached by several people at the club who questioned us about what was going on, what she was on, where we were taking her, etc. I'm pretty sure the presence of another woman helping her made them feel better. We got her to the apartment and she was lying in the driveway and became combative and was screaming. Several men came out of their residences to investigate, and again I'm pretty sure if it had just been a man or two men there, things would have gone differently.

So that's the good news. The bad news is that I was SURE someone would have already called the police cause I would have if I heard what was going on, and they never showed. (I eventually talked her into the apartment and into bed, but not without getting punched in the jaw. I realize now we should have called an ambulance, but her boyfriend was adamantly opposed to it.)
posted by threeturtles at 8:44 PM on June 9, 2016


Melissa may, I never said or implied anything insulting about you or anything questioning your credentials. I never implied that you were not a feminist, and I never implied that you did not work in the field. I don't know where you got that. Instead, I said that I am frustrated by people dismissing my opinion as a feminist (and the opinions of my colleagues) because I am also a defense attorney. You did that, and that happens around here a lot.

I find the knee-jerk read of disagreement as disrespect to be exhausting, but I've said my piece.
posted by likeatoaster at 5:39 AM on June 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


gee I wish more people were paying attention to his record as a whole

Stanford judge allowed revealing photos of alleged gang-rape victim in prior case
Judge Aaron Persky, who is under fire for his lenient sentencing of Brock Turner, a former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexual assault, made several controversial rulings in a 2011 civil trial stemming from the alleged gang rape by members of the baseball team at De Anza Community College in Cupertino, California.

Among those rulings was the decision to allow the defense to display photographs that showed the alleged victim “nestling a shot glass full of liquor in her exposed cleavage,” as one local reporter described it. Another photo showed the victim making a sexually provocative gesture.

The judge allowed the images to be shown to the jury in the civil case after the defense argued that they would help prove that the young woman was not, as she claimed, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Did you have PTSD when you did the acts shown in these pictures?” one defense attorney asked the woman in court, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Barbara Spector, one of the attorneys for the alleged victim, who was known as Jane Doe, said that she felt at the time the images “were irrelevant”.

“The impact was very definitely prejudicial for Jane Doe and had a positive impact for the defendants on the jury,” she said.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:55 AM on June 10, 2016 [20 favorites]


Thanks for posting that, zombieflanders, I saw the "I wish people would pay attention to the entire record of the judge" thing and wanted to post about that very case.

But I'm sure these are the only two cases where this judge sided with rapists over victims. Definitely. We should all cut the guy a break.
posted by palomar at 6:10 AM on June 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


The idea that we should look at the judge's while career is kind of abhorrent to me. Like no amount of fast swimming should mean you're allowed to commit rape, no amount if good judgment should allow or excuse the kind of naked favoritism on display in this trial. You only need to demonstrate corruption once to prove forever that you aren't uncorruptable.
posted by Dysk at 6:50 AM on June 10, 2016 [13 favorites]


feels like Bastille Day.

Yes, this! And while we have everyone's attention, let's not forget the California legislature's potential role in all of this. All of the legal parties in this case (the prosecution, the defense, and the probation office) agree that the sentence was within the law, even though the prosecution argued for more time and the victim (and many of the rest of us) disagree with the result. (For better or worse, the victim and the rest of us are not parties to the case, we're ostensibly represented by the prosecutor.) Even if we disagree with the way the judge applied the law, an important way to prevent this from happening again is to examine whether the loophole needs to be closed.
posted by slmorri at 7:49 AM on June 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Instead, I said that I am frustrated by people dismissing my opinion as a feminist (and the opinions of my colleagues) because I am also a defense attorney.

Nobody is dismissing your opinion because you're a defense attorney. People are rejecting your argument that we should not respond to a horrendous demonstration of lack of judgement fueled by privilege because "it's only one decision" because frankly, it's a very bad argument. Yes, if you fuck up badly enough, that fuck up can erase an entire career. Furthermore, the lack of judgement that the judge showed is the sort of insidious expression of privilege that turns people away from the legal system because it makes them feel like the system is rigged against them. Which is why there has been such a backlash. And finally, there's the fact that when we do look into his record as you ask, it turns out that the judge in question has a track record of this sort of lack of judgement.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:25 AM on June 10, 2016 [13 favorites]


Empress, that's uncalled for. And I was talking about his reputation among those who represented poor people and defendants of color as being lenient and merciful, which has been mentioned a half dozen times in this thread. I think that should count for something, amongst the vast majority of judges who impose outrageously high sentences. But thanks for the charitable read, everyone.
posted by likeatoaster at 9:07 AM on June 10, 2016


That he has been merciful or shown good judgement to defendants who may have deserved such treatment doesn't erase is poor judgement towards one who doesn't, and it sure as hell doesn't do jack for the victim in this case. Where was his concern for her future? For the longlasting impact of the defendant's actions on her life?
posted by rtha at 9:12 AM on June 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


[One comment removed, and in general let's try and sort ease it down a little in here; this is a difficult discussion that intersects more than one complicated-as-hell social axis, and finding a way to talk about it that doesn't involve folks who mostly agree getting into escalating dynamics with each other about which axis they should be talking about will make things go better.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:17 AM on June 10, 2016


So, we should turn a blind eye to the fact that this judge has some really fucking major problems when it comes to cases involving sexual assault because he does his job appropriately in other cases? That is an astoundingly bad argument. Yes, I want judges to be merciful and lenient when it is appropriate. This was not that sort of case - you had numerous first hand accounts of the crime, and an unremorseful perpetrator. To give him a sweetheart deal makes a mockery of justice.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:17 AM on June 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


Those of you who are defending this judge based on his overall record and the fucked-up system he exists in... I mean, you do see what you're doing there, right?
posted by Etrigan at 9:41 AM on June 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


And I was talking about his reputation among those who represented poor people and defendants of color as being lenient and merciful, which has been mentioned a half dozen times in this thread. I think that should count for something, amongst the vast majority of judges who impose outrageously high sentences.

Setting aside the "but he's nice to some people" argument, if this is the case, then the problem seems to be that he is incapable of knowing when to sentence more harshly, which brings us right back to the problem at hand, which is that he was too lenient on Brock Turner, which is what we are all arguing anyway. Trying to defend this particular trait by saying "but there are some people who appreciate receiving merciful sentences" still acknowledges that this is a trait of his, and does nothing to explain why a lenient sentence is justified in this case.

In fact, it makes it even worse - it points out that this particular judge is incapable of rendering harsh sentences at times when they are called for, which strikes me as being all the more reason to remove him from duty. It is good that he can be merciful when the situations warrant, but he should also have the discernment to know when a lenient sentence is actually a miscarriage of justice. He seems to not have that discernment.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:55 AM on June 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


There is also a case right before this one, where Persky gave barely a sentence to a man who severely beat his wife.

"And when he was sentenced even to that weekend in jail, there was a—the judge was very concerned to make sure that he was going to get to go to work on Monday."

http://www.democracynow.org/2016/6/9/just_before_giving_stanford_rapist_6
posted by waitangi at 10:00 AM on June 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


That's... actually not a bad apology.

Clearly I am not the most neutral person to consult about the quality of Rasmussen's third apology after the first two were rightfully called out for being disgusting, but: she's made this "apology" on Facebook, closed comments to all but her contacts (somewhat understandable) who are busily supporting her with not-at-all understandable sentiments such as:

"Once people decide they want to be angry and offended.. Sometimes there is nothing you can say to appease them. But it was noble of you to make the attempt. It is probably more than I would have offered them at this point."

"It's just a witch hunt at this point. Last week it was a gorilla, next week it will be something else. The Internet is not a very merciful place. But it has a very short attention span too"

"You didn't do anything to deserve the reaction that occurred. I believe in polite conversation Not social media verbal spankings."

"Everyone involved is young. You are a courageous and amazing young woman, Brock did amazing things in his life up to this tragic night and his victim did not deserve this. Period. We have a criminal justice system and Facebook isn't it. People just constantly want to weigh in, regardless of the facts and spew their own hate and vitriol. You are a good friend. You provided a character witness, period. The victim stated that she did not want him to be in jail. Brock can and hopefully will learn, recover, repent and make a contribution from this. You, my friend, should not apologize to Facebook lynchers. Please do not apologize. You are a brave young woman. Brock is lucky to count you as a friend and he deserves an opportunity to rehabilitate, as our justice system provides. Period. Night."

"The internet is a witch hunt based on headlines which are based on lies. I never judged. Infact I thought it noble. Who knows what happened?"

"You owe no one an apology, some people are just cunts and need someone or something to lash out at, because they are so unhappy with their own lives. Keep your head up this will blow over faster than you know it."

Forgive quoting at such length but: if this apology is actually directed at the anonymous survivor or the countless people who have stepped forward to raise their voices in support of her, permitting these comments to fester for 48 hours or more (most are dated June 8) is the worst possible way to show it. Remember -- ostensibly the Stanford survivor will be reading all these words right along with us, and so will suffer yet more from a situation already loaded down with some of the worst hurts any human being can be forced to feel.

I vividly remember being a confused and hurting 20 saturated in rape culture myself and so actually wanted to give Rasmussen the benefit of the doubt but...she wrote a support statement for her friend without the facts, issued two extremely self-pitying and tone-deaf apologies before settling on this carefully crafted piece, and made it public but not for anything but the most grotesque and truth-denying comments. I do agree with her that she has a lot to learn, but putting a statement up in a supportive echo chamber while lacking the sense to contradict or delete replies calling pained survivors and their allies cunts who are on a witch-hunt is again unforgivable. They don't call the survivor noble and brave; rather, they praise her convicted rapist friend for having done wonderful things before that night and being willing to rehabilitate.

Yet again, Brock's young friend demonstrates all to clearly that she indeed has much to learn but is doing a rather piss-poor job of it. My well of sympathy usually overflows for people tangentially caught in overwhelmingly controversial media storms -- but all her actions and choices from during the trial until right to this very moment are truly shitty. I stand by my earlier comment: the Turner family and their horrendous allies continue to believe they are above answering for any of their truly ill-judged and stomach-churning behavior. I don't believe for a moment that any of them have an iota of real sympathy for the true victim of this case, and as such, they do not receive mine.
posted by melissa may at 10:04 AM on June 10, 2016 [10 favorites]


The judge said he feared a longer sentence would have a “severe impact” on Turner...

Stanford judge allowed revealing photos of alleged gang-rape victim in prior case

There is also a case right before this one, where Persky gave barely a sentence to a man who severely beat his wife.

Once is an accident, twice is coincidence.
Three times is enemy action.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:21 AM on June 10, 2016 [15 favorites]


State lawmakers want judge in Stanford rape case investigated
Lawmakers said the [state Commission on Judicial Performance] can find that Persky engaged in misconduct if it concludes he acted in a way that adversely affected the public’s perception of the judiciary.

“Judge Persky’s bias, whether intentional or inadvertent, affects the esteem of the judiciary in the eyes of the public, which undermines the public confidence in the integrity and the independence of the judiciary system,” the lawmakers wrote.

Persky’s office has declined to comment on the uproar surrounding Turner’s sentencing.

In a separate letter, the lawmakers also asked Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen to seek a writ to have Persky’s “inappropriate and unlawful sentence” reviewed by another judge. A district attorney can seek an appellate review of a sentence, and if there is clear abuse of discretion by a trial judge, that sentence can be changed, the lawmakers wrote.
posted by Lexica at 11:50 AM on June 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Another thing I have been thinking about all this: rape comes from not thinking of women as anything more than objects for sex, and Brock Turner obviously didn't know or care that the woman he decided to rape at that party was a talented writer. Why should he, right? Except in this case, that fact about the victim didn't turn out to just be a little detail that we pull out to humanize her, like in a news lede, that she liked riding her bike or watching classic movies. Instead it was a powerful gift that she then USED to bring all this about - the media attention, the protests, the petitions, the attention from Joe Biden and state lawmakers, jurors refusing to serve in the judge's courtroom, his garbage friend's band's gigs getting cancelled. I've read about so many enraging cases where justice has been denied, and I've never seen anything blow up like this; I really believe that all of this happened because of the victim's unique and powerful way with words. He underestimated her to his peril.
posted by sunset in snow country at 12:56 PM on June 10, 2016 [15 favorites]


And apparently Turner took non-consentual pornography of his victim and sent it to his buddies.

What a disgusting specimen of humanity.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:20 PM on June 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


waitangi's link is a must read, it is an interview (video + transcript) with Michelle Landis Dauber, the Stanford law professor who is leading the Judge Aaron Persky recall effort.

It answers a couple of questions we had in this thread about Brock Turner's sentence and probation:
No, the sentence cannot be changed, and he will serve approximately 89 days in the Santa Clara County Jail. He had one day served, and he gets day-for-day good time in Santa Clara County. So he’ll serve about 89 days, three months, a little bit less. And then he will go home to his parents’ house in Ohio—that was, I believe, part of the sentencing—and serve his probation, his three years of probation, there. He will not be on electronic monitoring.
Regarding the domestic abuse case which preceded the Brock Turner sentencing, Persky sentenced the wifebeater to weekend jail. The woman in that case tried to read her victim's statement in court:
And, you know, the judge interrupted the [victim in the domestic violence case] multiple times and said, you know, "Could you hurry it along? Yes, yes, get to the point." You know, "Yes, I’m familiar with your case." He treated her very dismissively, to the point that other people in the courtroom were sort of murmuring, like, you know, "Why can’t she finish?"
So...wow. The official recall effort site is here. As a voting Santa Clara County resident, I'm in the position to help make a direct impact but they are also accepting donations for the campaign to gather signatures.
posted by jamaro at 2:30 PM on June 10, 2016 [13 favorites]


The reason the conscientious/lenient reputation matters, to me at least - although I do understand y'alls point regarding old boys club etc - is that Turner Brock's conviction is one in a billion. The fact that he was charged is probably one in a million. Rich, white, student-athlete rapists do not get criminally charged with rape, and when they do, they do not lose in court. He did, which is extremely, extremely rare. And his sentence is not going to be appealed. So he will not pay the price of a draconian backlash. All of the other hundreds of thousands of defendants before this judge (if he stays on the bench, or his wary colleagues if he doesn't), the vast majority of which require public defenders, will be the ones hit by the harsher sentences, especially while the public's attention is turned towards his courtroom. So yeah, the judge made the wrong call. Absolutely. But I think there are other things to consider in enthusiastically trumpeting the recall campaign. And you can think I'm a not-all-mener if you want, but I thought at least this perspective added something to this conversation.
posted by likeatoaster at 2:47 PM on June 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


The root cause of any backlash will be the fact that Judge Aaron Persky has a well documented issue when it comes to intimate crimes committed against women. Which is why the solution is for him to be removed from the bench.

As I've said in several other threads, when you allow a principle to serve as cover for abuse and injustice, you should not be surprised when people stop seeing that principle as legitimate.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:57 PM on June 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


From the LA Times: Here are 9 things you should know about the Stanford sex assault case. Each new sickening detail that emerges about the true character of Brock Turner -- most of them facts that prosecutors already presented in court -- the more obvious it becomes that this game was rigged before Emily Doe shook the last pine needles from her hair. Like sunset in snow said: Turner, his allies and defending counsel, and hideously enough, Persky himself, thought this woman was a nobody nothing they could callously dismiss without fallout.

For nearly every rape prosecution I've ever examined in any depth, they'd be right. There are millions of victims who've never reported because they knew that fact (*raises hand), and countless rapists who use deep-ingrained cultural sexism (and all too often, every other damn applicable ism regarding class, race, sexual orientation, ad infinitum) to camouflage themselves. It's far more effective cover and cheaper to obtain than a ski mask or any of the other traditional instruments in the more savvy predator's toolkit, that's for sure.

Not this time. All because of one woman's eloquent and indomitable voice -- not this time. I haven't wept once for her; my tears on this subject can be hard to find after years of shedding them alone. But I'm crying now, for this Everywoman (and every other woman, man, and child) whose history -- thanks to cross-cultural, deep-seated, and long-standing viciousness against victims of sexual abuse -- will never be heard. We all owe her a debt. What we're hearing from survivors and their strongest allies is the sound of long-ignored pain channeled into concrete and widespread political action. If we can sustain it, I have no doubt -- not a single one -- that it's a debt that will at long last be paid. And paid in full.
posted by melissa may at 3:11 PM on June 10, 2016 [13 favorites]


[One deleted. We've gone a few rounds on likeatoaster's point specifically now; she's made her point, folks who disagree have made their points, it helps nobody for this to just repeat in escalating ways. ]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 5:04 PM on June 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just when you think it can't get any worse, NoxAeternum's link tells you that it can.

And I am disturbed that the Marie Claire article suggests that you should salaciously "pin" all the assault details to Pinterest. Is this something new or am I just lucky to have never seen it before? It is fucking disgusting.
posted by futz at 5:08 PM on June 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


There is a treasure trove of court docs just made available this afternoon to the public that demand our careful scrutiny, given the expense that Turner and his allies have gone to obscure the facts here.

likeatoaster, apologies for my earlier defensiveness; your perspective is no doubt shared by many of your colleagues and so is valuable to hear. Emotions are running high in all directions, but the survivor of this crime deserves the best possible conversation we can have. We're all here at the bitter end of this discussion because we care. So let's care about what otherwise would have remained hidden truth. It's a rare opportunity and it shouldn't be wasted on pointless argument.
posted by melissa may at 5:13 PM on June 10, 2016


Oh shit, futz, I totally missed that bit with Marie Claire -- they're a weird hybrid of gossip rag and beauty tip alongside serious fiction and journalism so missteps like that are way more common than they should be with them. I really appreciate you pointing that out because: gross. And I don't want to propagate it. Seriously: thanks.
posted by melissa may at 5:20 PM on June 10, 2016


I know nothing about Pinterest. Never been there or used it. Is this a Marie Claire thing or the new normal? Whatever it is I DO NOT LIKE.

(you're welcome. i was like, what are all these "P's? some of them are actually blocking text)
posted by futz at 5:26 PM on June 10, 2016


(The Pinterest share buttons are baked into the site's javascript and show up on every image within the story blocks. They probably can't even turn them off on a case-by-case basis, however this is an excellent demonstration of why that functionality should have been included).
posted by jamaro at 5:37 PM on June 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


I actually am on Pinterest -- I use it for garden planning and various ultra-girly interests of mine, and it's actually quite wonderful for those things. But encouraging pins of highly sensitive material in such a -- as you put it, salacious -- and click-grabby way is foul. For that matter, so is some of Buzzfeed's recent media about this. (After a rather exploitative video, one guy I know joked that he was worried they were setting up to stage a musical of the victim statement. I admit it, I cackled.)

Yet for each crap media piece there seem to be hundreds springing up from all directions that are truly excellent, and conversations that are long overdue and worth hearing. So, you know, I can handle a little classlessness -- a lot better than I could handle the typically dark and frozen silence on this topic that's more typical from far-reaching mainstream sources. I'm also profoundly grateful there's space here on MeFi for serious conversation about it. This has been one hell of a week and one I will never forget.
posted by melissa may at 5:47 PM on June 10, 2016


I'm so used to Pinterest apps that I would never have noticed those. That's pretty ubiquitous on lifestyle sites and blogs. I'm a pretty avid Pinterest user for craft and recipes. But ultimately, Pinterest is just a link-storing and organizing site, so I don't know if anyone uses it for news or activism, but, you know, they might. I don't know what sites people use for storing their "serious" links these days.
posted by threeturtles at 7:00 PM on June 10, 2016


Word is now that prospective jurors are refusing to serve on juries under the judge. One of them reportedly flat-out told him "I can't believe you did that."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:09 PM on June 11, 2016 [7 favorites]


melissa may's link includes a/the statement from "Jane Doe 2," the victim's sister, which is equally heartbreaking and demonstrates similar strength as the victim. This is what she says to Turner:
“I have felt more sadness, guilt and anger than I have ever felt. But I would go through what I’ve suffered a million times over if it meant that I could take away what you did to my sister. I can’t undo your mistakes and I can’t mend the part of her that you took away, even though she’s dedicated her life to mending me when I need her.... The only sorrow I feel for you is that you never got to know my sister before you assaulted her. She’s the most wonderful person in the world.”
Jane Doe 1 & 2's parents have clearly raised two well-spoken, strong, compassionate women. Compared with the other family.... what a study in opposites.
posted by headnsouth at 4:19 PM on June 11, 2016 [12 favorites]


Brock Turner has a prior arrest and pending case in which he reportedly ran from campus officers while carrying a backpack of beer and a fake driver's license.

Wherein he admits to another split second decision that he regretted making. What an angel.
posted by futz at 5:43 PM on June 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


Jane Doe 1 & 2's parents have clearly raised two well-spoken, strong, compassionate women. Compared with the other family.... what a study in opposites.

I'd say so. Other letters of support from the Turner family have been released, including a four-page letter from his mother, Cathleen Turner, in which she never once mentions the victim and says that she's so upset by the case that she hasn't had the heart to decorate the new Turner family residence. It's clear that in Brock Turner's case the asshole didn't fall far from the asshole tree.
posted by orange swan at 6:04 PM on June 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


Brock Turner is everywhere.

And for as long as he and those like him continue eluding justice thanks to their enviable connections. Lawyers, judges, academics, and all sorts of prominent people with reputations to risk wrote glowing endorsements for their champion rapist If this case hadn't caught fire as it had they would have continued right on without any consequences the threaten their conveniently ignorant and cushioned lives. The sick regret and fear many of them are feeling right now? Again, it's a useful reminder: none of it comes within a global radius of what this survivor and so many others have endured. Still -- and at the risk of sounding yet more unlady-like -- it's my most fervent hope that today, every last one of them is choking on it.
posted by melissa may at 6:11 PM on June 11, 2016 [2 favorites]




The unsung villain in Brock Turner's lenient sentence: probation officers

The public remains unaware of the considerable power wielded by probation officers in the criminal justice system.

...The reports can include evidence that was excluded at trial. The probation officers who write these them almost never appear at sentencing hearings, and they aren’t required to testify about their recommendations, which means they can’t be cross-examined on them, either. They drop off their reports and go.

...Because they may contain sensitive information about victims, such as descriptions of injuries or impact statements, pre-sentence reports are sealed to everyone except defense attorneys, prosecutors and the judge. That’s why no one knows the name of the person responsible for Turner’s sentence.


Brock Turner the rapist apparently lied to his probation officer. Where is the due diligence from the PO? Why is their opinion apparently given more weight than a jury?

How is any of this considered sane/reasonable/acceptable? Fuck everything.
posted by futz at 7:46 PM on June 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


I see facebook, after initially rejecting my report about the brock turner page, saying that it was in line with community standards, obviously got enough reports flooding in a real human being looked at it, and the page is now taken down. Should be a win, still bitter they only shut it down when it would have looked really bad to keep it up.
posted by smoke at 11:36 PM on June 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


And then the Brock Turner Family Support page showed up and it's the same vile shit as the previous Brock Turner page on Facebook. Time to report this one as well.
posted by crossoverman at 1:40 AM on June 12, 2016


I reported the page and got the response that the page didn't violate their community standards. When asked for my feedback on how Facebook could make my reporting experience better, I wrote, "Why is it that Facebook always waits until there's a critical mass of complaints and outrage from their users before they take down misogynist pages? Why can't you set the bar higher and do the right thing of your own accord?"
posted by orange swan at 6:26 AM on June 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


The Brock Turner Family Support page is a textbook example of Poe's Law. I don't think the family had anything to do with it.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:34 AM on June 12, 2016


I'm voting troll.
posted by mochapickle at 7:59 AM on June 12, 2016


My first instinct was troll, too. But then the first group was quite horrifying in a way and was not a troll. The depth of misogyny and rape culture on the net makes it hard for me to tell what's real.
posted by smoke at 3:50 PM on June 12, 2016


I started to suspect the first of troll when the posts got a little too self-aware and sophisticated in their use of "SJW bait" and felt completely sure this new page falls under that tattered sad umbrella. Then I wondered huh, is this some ultra-sophisticated honeypot meant to get virulent sexists and rape apologists to reveal themselves publicly? Then I remembered why I started spending a lot of time offline in the first place because holy shit, whatever this is -- parody, pure harassment, sneaky flytrap -- it doesn't fucking work and only serves to make anyone reading feel base validation or instant nausea.

In the end, though, my last thought is of all the tough yet empathetic, pragmatic yet idealistic women and men who are using social media right now not just to organize against the bad actors in this specific case but to as a springboard for more global political action and support of each other. Lots of people once the very definition of powerless are fighting for this woman and for all victims of rape and abuse, and that's a truly heart-lifting thing to see.
posted by melissa may at 10:26 AM on June 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Hang on, I just want to end on another a high note. Stanford students -- across too-often hostile lines of sex, gender, ethnicity -- joining together at their graduation in support of this woman and the many survivors like her. They even hired a plane to underscore the urgency of their message.

Silences aren't merely breaking, they're spilling into public events where they've rarely if ever been seen before, filling the sky itself with long-obscured truth. For once, survivors at the table, not as the subject of scared or contemptuous whispers but to to be protected, fought for, and loved: oh, what a feeling, to be loved.
posted by melissa may at 3:53 PM on June 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


A juror in the Turner case wrote to Judge Persky:
Justice has not been served in this case. The jury's verdict of guilt on all three felony counts of sexual assault was completely disregarded in an effort to spare the perpetrator a 'hardship'. What message does this send to Emily Doe, and indeed all victims of sexual assault and rape, especially those on college campuses? Your concern was for the impact on the assailant. I vehemently disagree, our concern should be for the victim.

Shame on you.
posted by yasaman at 5:30 PM on June 13, 2016 [22 favorites]


Santa Clara County District Attorneys office filed a motion today removing Judge Persky from adjudicating a different sexual assault case, stating, “We lack confidence that Judge (Aaron) Persky can fairly participate in this upcoming hearing in which a male nurse sexually assaulted an anesthetized female patient.”
posted by jamaro at 6:06 PM on June 14, 2016 [18 favorites]




From jamaro's link:

And here – I think this is relevant to the – to the sentencing decision – she writes, [as read] “You should have never done this to me. Secondly, you should never have made me fight so long to tell you you should never have done this to me. But here we are. The damage is done. No one can undo it. And now we both have a choice. We can let this destroy us. I can remain angry and hurt, and you can be in denial. Or we can face it head on: I accept the pain; you accept the punishment; and we move on.”

So, as she writes, the damage is done.


He took the victim's own words and threw them back in her face as his justification for a slap on the wrist. It's odious.

there is less moral culpability attached to the defendant who is legally intoxicated. That’s as a comparative measure. But I don’t attach very much weight to that.

But he made sure to bring it up.

And, finally, the factor number eight is the likelihood that if not imprisoned, the defendant will be a danger to others. I think that he will not be a danger to others. I think he has a good chance of complying with the conditions of probation. The character letters suggest that up to this point he complied with social and legal norms sort of above and beyond what normal law-abiding people do.

His actions suggest that the character letters might possibly have the air of bullshit.

The judge's remarks read like he doesn't think that Turner really did anything that wrong.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:35 PM on June 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


Damn it all, I really meant to end on peace and light but there is a resource I'm finding truly amazing in these troubled times. If you can stomach Facebook at all and are active there to any degree, please check out a group called Brock Turner for Prison 2016 -- which began its life purely as a place to gather for fresh information about this particular case, but is quickly morphing into a global anti-sex abuse and assault activism site.

I'm as cynical as it gets regarding the typical treatment survivors are subject to in US courts but the page admins recently posted a story whose particulars, from the facts of the case to what's been happening legally, sicken me to my very core. As in, not eating for pure nausea sickened, so please if you read and are already on edge about this issue, be ready for pain. It feels odd to shout "trigger warning" at this point, but: it's regarding ex-Vanderbilt football player Brandon Vandenburg and it's truly one of the most vicious stories I've ever heard.

Yet people all over the internet are writing heartfelt cards of support to the survivor and are committed to keeping an eye on these proceedings because if the case against Brock Turner has proved nothing else, it's that enough voices raised in outrage can truly make a difference. It's way, way too soon to know if it's a lasting change but it's the most hopeful one I've seen since first becoming aware of the difficulty of successfully prosecuting rapists back in the 1980s. Brock Turner is a vile criminal, but there are so many more stories like this that need outside observers to fight the good fight for justice. If you can bear it, don't file this under "job well done" and move on: we're all wanted and desperately needed to effect a permanent cultural shift towards believing and aiding survivors. Broken hearts and lives abound. Caring about them enough to do something is the only way I know to end this hell for future victims.
posted by melissa may at 12:31 AM on June 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Prosecutors 'lack confidence' in Stanford sex assault judge — and that could be a big problem for him
Santa Clara County prosecutors on Tuesday blocked Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky from hearing another sex crime case, citing his decision in the Turner case.

“We are disappointed and puzzled at Judge Persky’s unusual decision to unilaterally dismiss a case before the jury could deliberate,” Dist. Atty. Jeff Rosen said. “After this and the recent turn of events, we lack confidence that Judge Persky can fairly participate in this upcoming hearing in which a male nurse sexually assaulted an anesthetized female patient. In the future, we will evaluate each case on its own merits and decide if we should use our legal right to ask for another judge in order to protect public safety and pursue justice.”
posted by gladly at 9:41 AM on June 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


Oh look, AJ Burt -- one of Brock Turner's former high school competitors -- came forward to discuss Turner's penchant for gay-bashing. If only the probation officer and Judge Persky had solicited more widely for letters revealing Turner's "character"... it probably wouldn't have made any difference to this particular court anyway.

Examine at this monstrous person with the jankiest middle-school microscope and he and his allies lies are utterly transparent. Yet this happened in a court of law -- where the sole expensive and laborious job is to find fact -- so how can this be acceptable to anyone, within the legal community or without? Recalling Persky doesn't seem like enough anymore; he should have to forfeit whatever he was paid for hearing this case if not directly to Emily Doe, than to a fund serving survivors of her choosing. What a travesty, from start to finish.
posted by melissa may at 10:39 AM on June 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


What the fuck.

"I mean, I take him at his word that, subjectively, that's his version of events," Persky said. "The jury, obviously, found it not to be the sequence of events."


So he basically just decided in his gut that Turner was telling the truth and essentially overrided the jury by giving a nothing sentence.
posted by thefoxgod at 3:55 PM on June 15, 2016 [17 favorites]


The embers are dying in this thread but there are a lot of people to follow on Twitter if you want to keep up with this case and others like it. Start with @mldauber and @BrockForPrison and they will lead you elsewhere. This thread has meant a lot to me, so thank you orange swan and various passionate posters for giving a damn about this case and the greater global issue of sexual violence.
posted by melissa may at 4:16 PM on June 17, 2016 [9 favorites]


The Marshall Project reports that 70 defense attorneys are counter-petitioning over attempts to remove Persky, arguing that the sentence he gave was reasonable and fair.

Seriously? This is the sort of bullshit that helped legitimize the push for mandatory minimums. To argue that an utterly unrepentant rapist should be given a sweetheart deal undermines justice, and it undermines the push for discretion in sentencing. As I said before, if you allow a principle, like judicial discretion and independence, to become a shield for abuse and injustice, it will turn people away from the principle you seek to protect.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:39 PM on June 20, 2016 [5 favorites]




Here's the thing that infuriates me about the response from the defense attorneys - had they acknowledged the unjustness of the judge's ruling, and then backed it up with the argument that broader principles like judicial independence need to be protected - I could understand that argument.

But to out and out defend the ruling as just, and to say that the people arguing for the recall are motivated by mass incarceration...yeah, that's pretty much a "fuck you" to a lot of people who, in the broader case, are opposed to mass incarceration, but also think that an unrepentant convicted rapist should see more than three months in prison.

I really hope that someone can explain to these individuals how they have done more to damage their movement than their opponents could.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:21 AM on June 24, 2016 [8 favorites]


Mark Pygas: The Stanford Rapist's Judge Just Gave Three Years To A Latino Man For The Same Crime
The sentence was part of a plea agreement overseen by the judge and signed in March, but which only became public knowledge recently. While this sentence is standard given the crime, Persky was immediately criticized for being lenient with Turner and ignoring the minimum of two years in state prison prescribed by law, while treating this very similar case in the way it should be treated.

“What’s happened with Mr Ramirez is standard,” said Alexander Cross, a defense attorney who briefly represented Ramirez when his "very poor" family could afford a private lawyer. “The anomaly is the Stanford case.”

Like Turner, Raul Ramirez had no criminal record before he was convicted. Both women were assaulted in a similar manner, but unlike Turner, Ramirez admitted to the assault and told responding officers that he "knew what he did was wrong and he wanted to say sorry." When two students caught Turner on top of the unconscious woman he made a run for it, and when questioned by police, claimed it was consensual.

Bail for Ramirez was set at $200,000, higher than the $150,000 bail set for Turner.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:29 AM on June 29, 2016 [14 favorites]


I am shocked to find that a judge who is sexist is also racist. Shocked.
posted by jeather at 1:27 PM on June 29, 2016 [9 favorites]


“What’s happened with Mr Ramirez is standard,” said Alexander Cross, a defense attorney who briefly represented Ramirez when his "very poor" family could afford a private lawyer. “The anomaly is the Stanford case.”
Yes, "standard=POC" and "anomaly=white" often applies when we're talking about a case making it to trial.
posted by Etrigan at 1:30 PM on June 29, 2016 [3 favorites]






Pardon my salt but to hell with Judith A. Levine and any other leftist critic who calls survivors' desire for justice "carceral feminism." Unlike "carceral" murder and "carceral" battery, rape is primarily committed against women and children, and it always seems to be they disproportionately asked to bear the greatest social ills afflicting us. Yes, prisons need reform. Fight for that. Treatment for mental illness needs to better funded and cheaply available to all who require it. Fight for that. But don't tell women who've been raped that it's their job to refrain from seeking justice because prison is ugly and treatment is sparse. It's our job to recover, and the sole tool at our disposal for doing so? The one that's free and that also connects us to medical care, victim compensation funds, and other tangible social support? That would be our flawed, evil, but only-one-we-got justice system.

One brief note on restorative justice: It's effective when used as originally conceived -- to heal wounds in countries wracked by war, especially civil war -- and typically such hearings happen many years after the fact, when all parties still live side by side but want to come to some peace with each other. However, it's COMPLETELY INAPPROPRIATE for one-on-one crimes and most especially those where the perpetrator -- like Brock Turner -- lies or refuses to admit the full extent of his wrong-doing. When universities or justice systems do it, it's usually because it's easy. Testimony stays tidy and private, and no one has to face the messy inconvenience or expense of expulsion or jailing. No one needs to go to the actual effort of protecting women from future attacks by the same perpetrator, which given that most rapists are serial offenders, is a very real concern. Everyone's schedules stay unburdened and everyone's records stay falsely clean.

When "restorative justice" is used to adjudicate rape cases, especially on college campuses, the only person who suffers is the person against whom the original crime was committed. The only thing "restored" is a university's reputation and that of a rapist. As for justice? There is none. It's a sham and a shame and it makes me absolutely furious that any self-proclaimed feminist would advocate it so irresponsibly.
posted by melissa may at 4:42 AM on July 2, 2016 [14 favorites]


It's effective when used as originally conceived [...]when all parties still live side by side but want to come to some peace with each other.

I guess I don't see how that's not America's problematic relationship with rape. Six to fifteen percent of men will admit to attempted or committed rape. Brock Turner isn't an anomaly. One third of college men say they'd rape a woman if given opportunity.

Our society doesn't think there's something wrong with this crime. We're not acknowledging that Brock Turner is acting the way American society has taught him. That his great crime was getting caught.

We shouldn't have to live with our perpetrators. But our current system is based on most rape victims being told their rape isn't prosecutable, even if police believe that it happened. Because it's hard to prove the absence of consent. Instead it's evidence of assault that proves the absence of consent. Our current system requires a secondary crime to prove the first crime. When that's the case, the first crime isn't actually illegal. We just say it is, because we want to pretend we're a civilized society.

Restorative justice provides a framework that acknowledges the crime happened, which is something our current system doesn't for a majority of victims. It acknowledges that this is a deep wound in America, and we are still struggling to teach our boys consent.
posted by politikitty at 2:48 PM on July 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


No, what restorative justice does as it is actually practiced by universities as opposed to the dignified formal and public hearings war-torn countries employ? Is sit everyone down in a private room, with no public records filed of the proceedings, and put victims on the defensive. The same ugly questions that Emily Doe was peppered with at trial about her drinking habits and purpose in going out and romantic history and just about every personal fact short of her bra size? Those happen during "restorative justice" sessions, and the victims are not even permitted counsel to cut them off or seek advice how to answer. Young men -- particularly the rich ones like Brock Turner and John Enochs -- get coached by private consultants within an inch of their lives about what to answer and how. They are permitted to refrain from answering because the system is not adversarial -- its goal is to bring conciliation, which is simply impossible given the nature of the crime and unequal weight given to personal testimony as opposed to hard evidence like the presence of DNA or visible wounds.

Every day in courts across the US, survivors of sexual assault who have personal testimony, eyewitness support, lab results, and scads of other physical evidence to support their claims are brushed away because the economics of prosecuting rape costs plenty. It costs money to process rape kits, to pursue difficult and reticent testimony, and to fight DAs who interpret a "zealous defense" as carte blanche to rake victims over the hottest and most humiliating and ultimately irrelevant coals they can cook. Demand change to law and funding for prosecuting sexual assault and that will change. But even if it doesn't? There is a public record of trial. John Enochs served merely a day for raping two women on his campus and was just photographed a week later laughingly playing golf on a private course with his friends. But his name, and that of Brock Turner's, will forever be recorded as presenting a real danger to women. Their future partners, employers, and communities now know that unless they've done some very hard work to change their behavior, they present a very real threat to the women they encounter. And that's as it should be.

Recently I learned that one of the boys who raped me when I was 15 now finally has a record as a sex offender. That's because as a much older adult, he raped yet another underaged girl -- simple enough for him, given that neither I nor the other girls in my school he predated on ever spoke a word about his actions. The other boy who helped him drag me into his car and participated with equal enthusiasm is now an athletics coach with daughters. He is literally molding young men in his image and nothing I say or do now can prevent it. There are so many stories like mine, far more than can be "restored" with a few secret meetings and yet more empty promises. I intend to spend the rest of my life fighting so that no other young woman will ever suffer the same fate as I, or his last and perhaps now final victim, have suffered so brutally. Join me or don't, but make sure you understand exactly what you are signing up for. Because restorative justice as practiced in this country is to justice as a placebo is to medicine. It's yet more deception enacted by the powerful against the powerless. And I and every last one of the survivors I have worked with reject it -- utterly.
posted by melissa may at 3:16 PM on July 2, 2016 [14 favorites]


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