In reading Brock Turner’s statement submitted to Judge Persky prior to sentencing, I’m deeply disappointed and confused. But not about the leniency the judge showed, I’m disappointed and confused as to how Judge Persky has been allowed to make judgments in a court of law based on his own ability to evaluate a defendant’s argument, intentions, and capability for remorse.
The first portion of Brock Turner’s statement borders on being noble. He’s practiced the one-liners provided by his parents and lawyer who are rightfully pushing him to show remorse for his actions, regardless of his (and their) belief that he did nothing wrong of his own accord. He almost takes responsibility for his actions and even spends a few sentences pretending to imagine the damage he’s done to the victim.
But all of those attempts are diminished by the following portions of his statement in which he blames alcohol and sexual promiscuity in the American college campus culture for his wrong-doing. This alone should’ve been a strong enough sign for Judge Persky to realize that this privileged young adult has not even fully the recognized the damage he’s done to the victim, the victim’s family, his own family, the school, society as a whole, and so many other lives and terrible situations which he has belittled.
However, if that wasn’t enough evidence of Turner’s refusal to accept responsibility, the following should have amounted to enormous red flags for Judge Persky:
“There isn’t a second that has gone by where I haven’t regretted the course of events I took on January 17th/18th. My shell and core of who I am as a person is forever broken from this. I am a changed person. At this point in my life, I never want to have a drop of alcohol again. I never want to attend a social gathering that involves alcohol or any situation where people make decisions based on the substances they have consumed. I never want to experience being in a position where it will have a negative impact on my life or someone else’s ever again. I’ve lost two jobs solely based on the reporting of my case. I wish I never was good at swimming or had the opportunity to attend Stanford, so maybe the newspapers wouldn’t want to write stories about me…
…If I were to be placed on probation, I can positively say, without a single shred of doubt in my mind, that I would never have any problem with law enforcement. Before this happened, I never had any trouble with law enforcement and I plan on maintaining that. I’ve been shattered by the party culture and risk taking behavior that I briefly experienced in my four months at school. I’ve lost my chance to swim in the Olympics. I’ve lost my ability to obtain a Stanford degree. I’ve lost employment opportunity, my reputation and most of all, my life. These things force me to never want to put myself in a position where I have to sacrifice everything.”
Being a productive member of society, someone who institutes change and helps others, is exactly what Brock Turner has promised NOT to be. Putting ourselves in situations where we may have a negative impact on our own or someone else’s life is inevitable. Taking on roles in which we have to sacrifice everything is necessary. Someone who is truly apologetic for such a horrendous act should want, more than anything, to put themselves in difficult, challenging situations to prove to themselves, to others, to those they are most sorry to, that they intend to overcome their faults and to change their ways.
Brock Turner should put himself in the most self-sacrificing position possible to prove his understanding and intention to change. Brock Turner should have accepted full responsibility, with no excuses for his actions and no blame on any outside influences, and begged for forgiveness. He should have demolished his own reputation, ridiculed the media for even mentioning his previous accolades and achievements, called on the judge for an unbiased and objective sentencing, and pleaded to the victim to consider his forgiveness if at all possible and however long it takes. He should have stood for something larger than himself, if he was really interested in becoming a “betterment to society.”
But Brock Turner didn’t do any of those things because he isn’t sorry, he doesn’t take responsibility for his actions, and he doesn’t understand the full weight of his impact on this situation. And evidently Judge Persky is simply a more powerful version of this self-appointed agent for change, both incapable of being the voice the victim deserves.
Originally posted by Feministing
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