Dear Mr. President,
I hope you don’t mind me writing to you out of the blue like this.
I know you’re an avid follower of my blog because I’ve seen your little Stars ‘n’ Stripes flag on my stats page.
Please forgive my spelling too, as I’m writing from across the pond. Ditto for interfering in your internal affairs, as you could say it’s none of my business, being a foreigner, and all.
But it is, you see. Because I am a dad. Like you. And it matters to every dad and daughter on the entire planet.
I just wanted to appraise you of something monumentally bad that’s happened in your country. In fact, it’s so bad, the aftershock from it has reverberated around the globe. And I know you’ll want to do something about it as you seem like a really nice guy. (God help you all if that Drumpf turnip becomes president. I believe the Secret Service, CIA and FBI are already squabbling about who gets first dibs on the grassy knoll should he get elected.)
But, I digress… the reason for the massive global furor is because of this Brock Turner fellow, who was sentenced to a paltry six months in prison for raping an unconscious girl. Have you heard about it? Unbelievable, don’t you think? Particularly in light of the fact that another chap, by the name of Cory Batey, was convicted of a similar crime. Except, he got 15-25 years. Doesn’t seem to be much in the way of parity or consistency, does there, Mr. O?
Oh, did I mention that Cory Batey is black? Surely, the two can’t be connected? You can read about that here, if you fancy.
In the Brock Turner case, the victim is only known as Emily Doe. She wrote an extremely moving 12 page victim impact statement which she read out in court addressing Brock in person. It is such an articulate, excruciating, dignified, haunting and devastatingly heartbreaking treatise on what the poor girl has endured, is enduring and will always endure due to Turner’s violation. If you haven’t read it, Mr. O, I implore you do so here. You will not fail to be moved and dismayed by the injustice of it all.
I think one of the main reasons why the world is aghast, is that Mr. Turner doesn’t appear to take responsibility for his actions. He puts the incident down to excess alcohol. Now, to be honest, Barack – may I call you Barack? I like a jar or two myself. I’m particularly partial to a snifter of Shiraz. And, in the 34 years that I’ve legally been allowed to drink, I’ve never once raped anybody. Conscious, or otherwise. So, it’s not much of an excuse, is it? In fact, no one I’ve ever drunk with has raped anyone either. Brock seems to think it’s the drinking culture that is to blame rather than himself.
What seems to compound matters is that Brock’s dad also read out a statement to the court (read it here) in which he pleaded for leniency for his son’s “20 minutes of action”. Raping someone isn’t really ‘getting some action’ though, is it? It’s my thinking that I’m not entirely surprised Brock isn’t taking responsibility if this is his dad’s attitude. Obviously, Judge Persky, (a Stanford alumni and former athlete), completely empathises with Brock’s plight too. Because that’s how it comes across – Brock’s plight, rather than Emily’s.
It just all feels a bit, y’know – like some sort of clique. A gentlemen’s club or something. That it’s almost treated like a rite of passage.
And that goes way beyond Brock Turner. It permeates the very fabric of university values. (Or lack, thereof.) No wonder he doesn’t accept responsibility if a supreme court judge doesn’t think he should either.
You’re a father too, aren’t you, Mr. President? Two girls isn’t it? Me too. Although, mine are a lot younger than yours. Still at primary school. (I think you call it elementary.) I am constantly filled with dread about anything bad befalling them. Some people say I’m over-protective. I don’t care if I am. That’s what daddies are for. My heart goes out to Emily Doe’s dad.
One day, though, I’ll have to let them go. Let them go off to university (if they so wish) or travel round the world. And I won’t be there to protect them. To protect them from the likes of Brock Turner.
That’s why we need a strong justice system. When that system fails the victim we begin to see vigilantes crawl out of the woodwork seeking justice themselves. Perhaps it would be for his own safety that Brock Turner receives a tougher sentence. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone opened him up from his gullet to his ball sack with a pair of hedge trimmers for his lack of contrition. Not that I’m advocating a lynch mob, you understand.
How would you feel, Mr. Prez, if it happened to one of your daughters? And the assailant got six months! I guess you’d be pretty pissed off.
That’s why I was wondering if you could help Emily Doe out? As one dad to another. Maybe have a word with the prosecution and ask them to appeal the sentence. (Unbelievably, Brock’s lawyers are the ones appealing the sentence for being too harsh! Talk about rubbing salt into Emily’s wounds.) Or, have a word with the judge. He really has a skewed view of justice. Or have a retrial. You see, it’s not just about Emily. It’s about all girls and all women all over the world. This sentence says it’s not really that bad to rape someone when you’re wasted. Not really.
But it is, isn’t it, Mr. President? If it was your daughter? If it was mine? If it was Emily Doe?
Rape is rape.
It’s not dependent on one’s level of intoxication. It’s dependent on one’s actions.
In my humble opinion, rape – the violation of someone’s body and mind – is a close second to murder. And should be judged accordingly. After all, Emily Doe has already received a life sentence courtesy of Brock Turner.
Anyhoo, I best sign off now as I’ve taken up too much of your time already and I’ve got to put my two little ragamuffins to bed. I’ll leave it in your very capable hands.
I hope you can get this sorted out before you retire in November. I think it would mean a lot to Emily, who has suffered enough.
A concerned, and over-protective father of two girls.
P.S. Fair play to the two Swedish guys, Carl-Fredrik Arndt and Lars Peter Jonsson, who caught Brock Turner in the act of raping Emily, chasing him down as he fled the scene and holding him until the police arrived. Could you give them some kind of medal or something?
Another thing that bothers me though, is that, in Brock Turner’s statement to the court, he says that Emily Doe responded and consented to his advances. Whereas, these two heroes said that she was completely unconscious. Was their eye-witness testimony ever heard in court, I wonder? As Emily Doe said that she has never met them to say thank you. Would seem odd if it wasn’t. Could be a way in for a retrial. Just a thought.
P.P.S. I’m off to the garden shed to dig out my hedge trimmers.