Culture

The Stanford Rape Survivor’s Sister Pens The Most Scorching Letter Of All

Convicted Stanford rapist Brock Turner currently sits in jail under protected custody for a six-month jail sentence, which will likely turn into four months for good behavior. Still, the information fount continues to pour, especially when it comes to the letters used by Judge Aaron Persky while determining punishment. Persky, of course, took it easy on the defendant in comparison to other men met with similar charges and a lot less concrete evidence. The verdict is still out on this judge, who has made unfavorable rulings on comparable cases and has been under fire through public outcry and internet petitions calling for his removal from the bench.

All the while, Turner pointed fingers everywhere to explain his actions. He blamed alcohol and party culture while many of his family members and friends argued that he shouldn’t receive jail time. This stance occurred despite police records detailing how Turner may have sent photos of his victim to friends. The very thought erases all notions of remorse, but letters to the court from Turner’s father and mother must have swayed the judge.

Judge Persky even reviewed the letter of Turner’s survivor — who read her account aloud in the courtroom — and decided upon a lenient sentence. This result seems bizarre, especially for those who listened to those same words read aloud on CNN to tearful effect. Well, there’s an even more saddening account that Persky took into account to little effect. The survivor’s sister, who remains unidentified, described how Turner tried to kiss her on the same evening that the assault occurred. Known as “Jane Doe 2,” she later tried to find the victim in the fraternity house but could not, for Turner had already undressed the unconscious woman from the waist down behind a dumpster. The letter from Jane Doe 2 is a harrowing read:

“The damage you inflicted is irreversible … What has affected me most is that you did something to someone I love that I cannot take back. In this last year and a half, I have experienced some of the lowest points of my entire life; 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.”

Jane Doe 2 continues by expressing how guilty and sad she feels about not being able to protect her sister from Turner, and the two “have cried until our bodies have run dry.” She opens fire again upon her sister’s attacker:

“Where has your remorse been? Really, truly: do you feel guilty because you were sexually assaulting her, or because you were caught?”

Indeed, she poses a valid question. Turner’s own letter to the judge expresses some remorse, but he weighs far more heavily upon his own ruined future than actual regret. True, he’ll never be an Olympic swimmer, nor will he be able to simply shake off his actions. But he received a terribly small jail sentence and one that few people would have preferred. Meanwhile, Joe Biden and the floor of Congress have listened to the victim’s account of survival in the face of unspeakable actions.

Perhaps the most devastating summarization of this entire incident arrives at the end of the sister’s letter: “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.” Unbeatable strength appears to run in the family, and you can read the full letter here.

(Via Washington Post)

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