Court statements from Brock Turner‘s father and the woman he was convicted of sexually assaulting have stirred up criticism over the length of Turner’s jail sentence and the status of sexual assault within public conversation.
Turner is a former Stanford swimmer who was convicted of three felony sexual assault charges this spring. Last Friday, the 20-year-old Turner was sentenced to 6 months in county jail along with probation. He will also have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Since the sentencing, court statements from both his father and his victim have been published over a wide range of media outlets, setting off a firestorm of criticism over the sentence and conversation about the issue of sexual assault.
The victim – whose name has been kept anonymous during the proceedings – gave a 12-page victim statement recounting her experience and speaking directly to Turner, who she feels “has failed to exhibit sincere remorse or responsibility for his conduct.”
The 23-year-old victim, known as “Emily Doe” in the proceedings, provided her full statement to BuzzFeed News last Friday.
You can read the full statement here. We’ve republished a short excerpt below:
I was not ready to tell my boyfriend or parents that actually, I may have been raped behind a dumpster, but I don’t know by who or when or how. If I told them, I would see the fear on their faces, and mine would multiply by tenfold, so instead I pretended the whole thing wasn’t real.
I tried to push it out of my mind, but it was so heavy I didn’t talk, I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t interact with anyone. After work, I would drive to a secluded place to scream. I didn’t talk, I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t interact with anyone, and I became isolated from the ones I loved most. For one week after the incident, I didn’t get any calls or updates about that night or what happened to me. The only symbol that proved that it hadn’t just been a bad dream, was the sweatshirt from the hospital in my drawer.
Instead of taking time to heal, I was taking time to recall the night in excruciating detail, in order to prepare for the attorney’s questions that would be invasive, aggressive, and designed to steer me off course, to contradict myself, my sister, phrased in ways to manipulate my answers. Instead of his attorney saying, Did you notice any abrasions? He said, You didn’t notice any abrasions, right? This was a game of strategy, as if I could be tricked out of my own worth. The sexual assault had been so clear, but instead, here I was at the trial, answering question like:
How old are you? How much do you weigh? What did you eat that day? Well what did you have for dinner? Who made dinner? Did you drink with dinner? No, not even water? When did you drink? How much did you drink? What container did you drink out of? Who gave you the drink? How much do you usually drink? Who dropped you off at this party? At what time? But where exactly? What were you wearing? Why were you going to this party? What’ d you do when you got there? Are you sure you did that? But what time did you do that? What does this text mean? Who were you texting? When did you urinate? Where did you urinate? With whom did you urinate outside? Was your phone on silent when your sister called? Do you remember silencing it? Really because on page 53 I’d like to point out that you said it was set to ring. Did you drink in college? You said you were a party animal? How many times did you black out? Did you party at frats? Are you serious with your boyfriend? Are you sexually active with him? When did you start dating? Would you ever cheat? Do you have a history of cheating? What do you mean when you said you wanted to reward him? Do you remember what time you woke up? Were you wearing your cardigan? What color was your cardigan? Do you remember any more from that night? No? Okay, we’ll let Brock fill it in.
Then over the weekend, media outlets began reporting on a statement made by Dan Turner, Brock Turner‘s father. A photo of an excerpt of Dan Turner’s statement appeared on the Twitter profile of Michele Dauber, who is a Stanford law professor according to The Guardian‘s report on the statement.
#brockturner father: son not "violent" only got "20 mins of action" shouldn't have to go to prison. @thehuntinground pic.twitter.com/IFECJs687b
— Michele Dauber (@mldauber) June 5, 2016
As of now, we’ve been unable to find either full-length statement in court records, but we’ll continue to search and update the story if we discover more information.
UPDATE: The Huffington Post has published Dan Turner’s full letter. You can view it here.
The statement drew criticism from many social media contributors, many of whom condemned the statement’s tone and the phrase “20 minutes of action.” The Guardian reports further on the social media uproar here.
UPDATE: Dan Turner responded to the criticism of his letter in a statement to The Huffington Post. His statement is published in full below:
“My words have been misinterpreted by people,” he said in a statement to The Huffington Post, submitted through his son’s defense attorney. “What I meant with that comment is a 20 minute period of time. I was not referring to sexual activity by the word ‘action.’ It was an unfortunate choice of words and I did not mean to be disrespectful or offensive to anyone.”
The BBC compiled a number of critical tweets, and reports that a petition has been circulated to recall the sentencing judge for what some feel is a “lenient sentence.”
Brock Turner could have faced up to 10 years in prison, but the prosecution pushed for 6 years in a California state prison. Judge Aaron Persky said a harsh prison sentence would have “a severe impact” on Turner, according to the BBC, and he sentenced Turner to just 6 months, taking into account Turner’s lack of a prior criminal record and Turner’s remorse for his actions.