An Open Letter to Members of the Dean Democratic Club of Silicon Valley - Recall Judge Aaron Persky

An Open Letter to Members of the Dean Democratic Club of Silicon Valley

Club member Alice Smith, former co-chair of Dean Dems, strongly opposes the recall. She stated that Turner’s sentence was acceptable because it “Does not put him in prison where he himself probably would have been raped in the first few weeks” (is this a consideration we apply to all offenders?) and “[giving] him and others like him a chance to grow up makes sense.” As a survivor, I would love to hear why rapists need more chances.

Watch the video: Recall Persky Campaign Committee Co-Chair Sita Stukes shares her story at the General Membership Meeting of the Dean Democratic Club on October 23rd, 2017.

Full text of speech below:

Hello members of the Dean Democratic Club. My name is Sita Stukes, I am one of the co-chairs of the Recall Persky Campaign. I am also speaking to you as a survivor of sexual assault.

Club member Alice Smith, former co-chair of Dean Dems, strongly opposes the recall. She stated that Turner’s sentence was acceptable because it “Does not put him in prison where he himself probably would have been raped in the first few weeks” (is this a consideration we apply to all offenders?) and “[giving] him and others like him a chance to grow up makes sense.” As a survivor, I would love to hear why rapists need more chances.

Ms. Smith eventually reveals her opposition is not rooted in judicial independence, but in rape apology. “OK: but think about your 18 year old and would you really like to have a hard-nosed judge put him or her in prison for being drunk and pretty stupid?”

I was raped when I was 17 years old. I had never had sex before. My rapist was 16 years old. We were both drunk. I welcome anyone tell me to my face that I was stupid. Like Emily Doe, I was “lucky” because my friends found me and chased him off. My body was so traumatized that I threw up and bled for hours.

After the rape, my friends told me not to tell because we didn’t want to get in trouble for drinking, and I guess being stupid. I became bulimic, which I could not hide during track season. My male coach found out what happened, and he said, “I didn’t think you were the type of girl to do something like that.” That was a knife to the gut and I didn’t speak about it again for four years. I later found out that he was legally required by law to report the assault because I was under 18, but that didn’t happen.

In addition to the eating disorder, I turned to drugs and alcohol. I became depressed and I had to withdraw from college. I came close to ending my life several times. I am proud to say that I fought tooth and nail and have been sober since 1/23/2010.

I was raped on 3/16/2004.

I share all this because I want you to know that I am the survivor on the other side of drunk and pretty stupid. I am the victim of a white rapist of privilege. I am in a room surrounded by people who do not look like me which is alienating enough on its own, but now I am surrounded by people who are fighting for rapists and rape apologists. It is a horrifying, disgusting feeling.

For those that don’t think rape or domestic violence are sufficient crimes to warrant more severe punishment, I encourage you to consider the case of Robert James Chain. Chain was found with over 200 “child erotica images and possible child pornography images…including one in which an adult was penetrating a naked infant girl.”

From a 2016 Guardian article, “Persky sentenced him to four days and three years of probation, and because he had already received credit for spending a night behind bars, Chain did not have to return to jail…the campaign found 14 other offenders who were charged with the same possession crime and pleaded guilty or no contest…All 14…however, were sentenced to six months in county jail. The 14 cases with six-month sentences were overseen by 11 other judges.”

Your club Plan says you lend your support to key issues; sexual assault could not be more prevalent. You say you maintain a focus on the future; clinging to rape culture is far from that. We are grassroots activism, we are reinvigorating the progressive voter base and doing what you say you want to do. We are outspoken and tell it like it is. As you admire Howard Dean for it, please don’t be the mealymouths on our side when it comes to addressing issues of rape culture and sexual violence.

 

I end with asking you to think about who you are dismissing on the other side of “drunk and pretty stupid.” And for those of you for whom that isn’t enough, I hope child rape is.

Originally published in Medium by Sita Stukes.

Read the original article here.