I was once like Brock Turner was. A student with great potential. And a swimmer. Even at the young age I was, I was elegant in the pool. My friends used to pick on me waddling on land “like a fish out of water”. In the pool, I was free and in my own zone. Nobody could touch me. I had a butterfly motion that could sting my competitors like a bee. I was on the verge of greatness. Even being as young as I was, my trainers said that I would go to the Olympics one day. They believed in me. My family believed in me. I believed in me.
And then I was raped. I was raped by someone just like Brock Turner.
My life took a nosedive. I got depressed. I started putting on weight. I missed swimming practice because I was too numb to get out of bed. I cried myself to sleep. I went to every place of worship I could to shout at God for being such an asshole. Being alone in the pool meant being alone in my own head. I went to being almost three seconds slower per lap. Then four. Then five. Then I didn’t care anymore.
When I finally opened up to my family about it, I was sent to psychologists and psychiatrists. Taking pill after pill and having session after session was of no help. The pain just grew. The anger grew. And here I was – a child who was supposed to be going to Nationals – being prodded like a pincushion. I developed an eating disorder and started having night terrors and seizures. I was in a constant state of mental paralysis. Paying for medical treatment through my teeth, to top it all off.
It wasn’t my fault. It was his. My rapist, someone just like Brock Turner, was living a carefree life while I suffered. And don’t you dare tell me that I should have been more careful or I shouldn’t have drank so much or I shouldn’t have been wearing what I did. I was a child in a nightdress carrying a pink teddy bear. He should have not raped me. Just like you, Brock, should have controlled yourself and not raped her.
People in the US think that Africa is backwards. But no. It is you, America, that is backwards. Your judicial system chooses to protect a privileged man who got a lenient sentence so that the rest of his life isn’t damaged. What the actual fuck?! Think about Madeleine* and the impact of what Brock has done to her and her life. He has taken away her dignity and maybe even her sanity. She will trust very few people after this. She will have an impaired life forever. Because of Brock not being able to keep it in his pants. And you are worried about the impact that jail time will have on him? Shame on you, America. Aaron Persky, you have blood on your hands. You are as much to blame for men thinking they can do whatever they want to women as they are. Your lenient sentence has allowed Brock Turner to think that he is above the law. You have opened the door for other rapists to argue that their lives are more important than those of their victims. You are a shameful man. And you should feel responsible for what has been done to that 23-year-old woman who has had her life violated.
Brock, you are no longer a student, a young man, a swimmer or a friend. You are a rapist. Just a rapist. The most disgusting kind of human on this planet. You deserved not just more jail time, but a lifetime of what your victim will go through. You are the poster child of white privilege and have been treated as such. But don’t think that just because you were given a light sentence that you are absolved of any responsibility. Your face is now all over the media as that of a rapist. You will never be known as anything else.
And dear Madeleine*, you have my support. My home is open to you whenever you want to visit South Africa. You have a friend here. We don’t know each other, but we know what we have been through and we will come out of it alive. Don’t let that cretin named Brock Turner take your life and happiness. We are two of millions of women who have to endure the effects of men being weak. We will endure. And maybe one day, you can look Brock Turner in the face and feel nothing but indifference. Because that is all he deserves. He doesn’t deserve your hate or tears. People like him are worth nothing.
But people like us are worth the world and then some. Know that you have truth and innocence on your side. And you have me.
*I call you Madeleine because you deserve to have a name and not just be known in relation to that douchebag’s actions.