In March, a former Stanford University student named Brock Turner was convicted of three felony sex abuse charges for assaulting an unconscious woman on the college’s campus. Last week, however, he received the sentence of only six months jail time and three years probation.
Understandably, the lenient sentence outraged many activities around the world. Turner didn’t only take advantage of an impaired woman, he refused to apologize and even claimed that she ‘liked’ it.
One only needs to read the victim’s powerful letter to get clued in on how inaccurate – and unhealthy – such a statement is.
The entire scandal has made waves and drawn attention to the issue of rape, but would it even have been acknowledged if it weren’t for two Swedish graduate students?
While riding their bikes to a party, Carl-Frekrik Arndt and Peter Jonsson came across Turner moving over the victim behind a dumpster. Immediately, they knew something wasn’t right.
“When he got up we saw that she still wasn’t moving at all, so we walked up and asked something like, ‘What are you doing?’” Arndt explained to Swedish media publication Expressen on Tuesday.
The young woman refers to the two Swedish students as “her heroes” in the heart-wrenching letter she wrote:
“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.”
The victim relays that because she was unconscious during the event, it was an uphill battle proving she had, indeed, been violated. She described the way Turner’s defense attorney tried to discredit her:
“I was pummeled with narrowed, pointed questions that dissected my personal life, love life, past life, family life, inane questions, accumulating trivial details to try and find an excuse for this guy who had me half naked before even bothering to ask for my name. After a physical assault, I was assaulted with questions designed to attack me, to say see, her facts don’t line up, she’s out of her mind, she’s practically an alcoholic, she probably wanted to hook up, he’s like an athlete right, they were both drunk, whatever, the hospital stuff she remembers is after the fact, why take it into account, Brock has a lot at stake so he’s having a really hard time right now.”
Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Alaleh Kianerci says that the two witnesses were critical in helping to convict Turner.
“I can’t understate how important those two heroes were in this case,” she told the Huffington Post. “Those two heroes made this case a prosecutable one.”
Believe it or not, less than 30% of rapes are reported to the police after they occur. In addition, less than 2% result in the rapist being incarcerated, according to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network.
How would the night have played out if the men hadn’t taken down Turner? The rapist claims being tackled was unnecessary, but would he have treated her gallantly if the Swedish students hadn’t seen him fumbling over an unconscious woman and stopped to help? Obviously not.
The anonymous victim made this point when she referred to her rescuers as ‘evil’ in her letter,
“I want to know, if those evil Swedes had not found me, how the night would have played out. I am asking you; Would you have pulled my underwear back on over my boots? Untangled the necklace wrapped around my neck? Closed my legs, covered me? Pick the pine needles from my hair? Asked if the abrasions on my neck and bottom hurt? Would you then go find a friend and say, Will you help me get her somewhere warm and soft? I don’t sleep when I think about the way it could have gone if the two guys had never come.”
Turner’s father might think that “20 minutes of action” is no cause to ruin a man’s life, but plenty of people around the world disagree. At present, over 100,000 people have signed a petition for the judge in the case, Aaron Persky, to be removed from the bench over the sentence.
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