Someone Edited Brock Turner's Father's Letter On Twitter To Include A Few Significant Details
Twitter user Ali Ozeri has posted an edited version of Brock Turner’s father’s letter online with the caption, “Here, I fixed his letter.” Ozeri is referring to a statement written by Dan A. Turner prior to the sentencing of his son, Brock Turner, last week. In March, Brock Turner was convicted of three felony charges related to the sexual assault of an unconscious woman in January of 2015. Though Turner was eligible for up to 14 years in state prison, on June 2, Judge Aaron Persky sentenced him to only six months in county jail with probation, a sentence that many have argued is far too lenient given the nature of his crimes.
Further outrage emerged upon the release of the letter written by Turner’s father, in which he asks the judge not to give his son jail time. In the process of defending his son’s character, Dan Turner manages to create a snapshot of everything that’s wrong about the way people approach rape. Basically, if you could take rape culture and boil it down into a nice, bite-sized piece of ignorance, entitlement, and victim-blaming, it would be this letter on a platter. Throughout the statement, Dan Turner refrains from acknowledging his son’s actions as rape or assault. Instead, he refers simply to the “events of January 17th and 18th” and describes the assault itself as “20 minutes of action.” He describes his son’s sexual assault of an unconscious woman behind a dumpster as the “unfortunate results” of “binge drinking.” He spends a bizarrely long time discussing Brock Turner’s altered eating habits, as if his low appetite is punishment enough for sexually violating another person. He frames Brock as a victim, laments his wasted potential, and insists that he “has never been violent to anyone including his actions on the night of Jan 17th 2015,” despite the fact that he was convicted on three felony counts for violent crimes.
Ali Ozeri posted an excerpt from Dan Turner’s letter in which she “fixed” it by adding in some pertinent information. (The edited statement is above with Ozeri’s additions in bold). Ozeri replaces euphemistic terms like “the events” with more specific descriptors like “raping an unconscious woman,” and she points out how irrelevant many of Turner’s comments about his son’s habits are to the matters at hand (aka the crimes he committed). She skewers Turner’s now-infamous “20 minutes of action” line, writing, “This isn’t like the three second rule for food, rape still counts no matter how many seconds it lasts.” Although Turner argues that his son would be better able to contribute to society outside of jail, Ozeri highlights what is missing from Turner’s letter: A sense of culpability. An understanding that these “events” didn’t simply happen randomly, like a freak rainstorm or a bit of bad luck, nor did they happen to Brock Turner. These events happened because Brock Turner made a choice. As Ozeri writes, “[H]e screwed up his own life and many other lives by raping someone.”
You can see Dan Turner’s original letter to Judge Persky here. And if you haven’t taken the time yet to read the Stanford rape survivor’s powerful impact statement in full, do it now. It is truly essential reading. You can find her statement here.