For quite some time, I've watched the investigation of your son's brutal attack on a 23 year old woman and the legal proceedings that have ensued. As a survivor of rape, a lawyer, and a mother, I am left in a swirl of emotions. The facts of the assault are terrifying and nauseating. Judge Persky's sentence of your son to a mere six months in county jail is infuriating. And the statement you released in support of your son is unforgivable.
You believe your son “will never be his happy-go-lucky self with that easygoing personality and welcoming smile?” What do you think he robbed his victim of? Did you hear the words she spoke in the courtroom? Your son's “every waking minute is consumed with worry, anxiety, fear, and depression”? Welcome to the hell he inflicted on the woman he raped.
In your statement, you argue that your son's sentence is a steep price to pay for “20 minutes of action.” Mr. Turner, what your son did was not “20 minutes of action,” it was rape. In that “20 minutes of action,” he took his victim's dignity, her self-worth and her independence and shoved it in the dirt along with her body. That “20 minutes of action” will reverberate through her entire life in ways you will never be able to comprehend. It will echo in every unaccompanied walk she takes, every relationship she forges, every opinion she voices.
You have said that your son has never been violent, “including his actions on the night of January 17, 2015”. That was the night that your son was found sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. He was caught in the act. Her body was bloodied, and medical personnel retrieved dirt and pine needles from inside her vagina. His actions were not violent? Your definition of violence gives great insight into the environment in which your son was raised.
Your statement concludes with blame of binge drinking for this “unfortunate result”. Binge drinking didn't violate an unconscious woman- your son did. It was the reason she could not consent, and why the acts your son committed that night were a felony. To blame alcohol for the violence your son inflicted is cowardly and despicable, and an attempt to skirt blame for the decision he made to invade another's body with force.
This case has proven that rape culture is alive and thriving here in America. Do you even know what rape culture is? Rape culture is your son's refusal to acknowledge that he sexually assaulted this woman. It's the judge's refusal to hand down the prison sentence warranted under California law. Rape culture is the media's refusal to write a story about your son without referencing his athletic achievements. And it's your refusal to see the victim that evening was the young woman, not your son. Until you, your son, the media and the Courts recognize that fact, this scenario is doomed to repeat itself.
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