What happened to Brock Turner
One cannot even begin to imagine what was going on in the young woman when she heard the first sentence of Brock Turner's final statement in court: "The day, like most of my other school days, began with getting up and going to swim training." it says in the eleven-page document that is now being published by the New York Times has been published. It's the day the 20-year-old abused his victim behind a dumpster. So this day started for him with a swim.
Swimming training - relevant from start to finish
In her own final statement, which was published on the Internet a few days ago, the 23-year-old describes how she learned from a newspaper article what happened to her. She herself could not remember the events: unconscious, half-naked, her genitals full of dirt, with her legs apart, she was found on the campus of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. "And then, at the end of the article (...), there were his best times in swimming." The swimming training of the elite student - absurdly present in a debate about sexual abuse from the start. And apparently relevant to the end.
Turner was sentenced to six months and three years probation and had to register as a sex offender. The comparatively mild sentence - the prosecutor had asked for six years - had caused outrage beyond the borders of the USA. What if Turner wasn't the white, over-privileged Stanford student with the impressive swimming bests? Would the judge, who himself had an athletic past at an elite university, have given such a mild verdict?
So it was with swimming, of all things, that Turner began his declaration - a declaration in which he assumes no responsibility for what he still does not recognize as sexual abuse.
This becomes clear as the document progresses: Turner describes himself as an underage follower. He observed that older students from his swimming team drink alcohol and dance with young women. How they would later take them to their rooms. He had no opinion on where the group should go next. You go to the party that his later victim went to with his sister. There he met other members of his team, including his team captain, whom he admires and who takes part in a drinking game. Everyone drinks, Turner drinks too. Somewhere between the lines of this banal retelling of the events it says:
"If I could go back and change what unfolded on the night of January 17th, I would do it in a heartbeat because I never meant to hurt anyone."
Turner regrets what "happened"
"I never meant to hurt anyone," it says. What is not there explicitly: "What I did hurt someone." Instead, it says: What "happened" on the night of the crime hurt someone. It is formulations like this that the victim has already sharply criticized in his own declaration: Turner takes no responsibility for what he has done. “Is alcohol a factor?” She asks. "Yeah, but it wasn't the alcohol that stripped me off, fingered me and dragged my head across the floor - almost completely naked."
Turner goes on to describe how alcohol and the role model of others who all would have drunk alcohol would have led to what happened that night: he drinks, flirts, dances, kisses (another girl), keeps drinking, and finally kisses that Girl who was to be found a little later behind the dumpster - with Turner on her bare body. He asked if she wanted to go to his room. You said yes. So they left.
How did they land on the ground? He does not know
The victim's statement said that Turner changed his testimony after learning that the young woman could not remember anything. He told the policeman who questioned him that night that he had not planned to go to his room with the young woman. He couldn't even identify her from a number of women. Even at the end of the process, Turner cannot explain how they ended up on the floor behind the dumpster:
"The next thing I realize is that we were both on the ground laying next to each other because it seemed as though she lost her footing heading down the slope and I went down with her."
On the way to his room, the statement said, both suddenly lay next to each other on the floor. What happened next goes like this in Turner's version: They joke, laugh, kiss. He asks her if he can penetrate her with his fingers and touch her. She answers "yeah". He does what she supposedly allowed him to do, and even asks if she likes it. She gives him a "positive response". He starts rubbing his hip against hers. At no time could he have found that the young woman was unconscious. Eventually he becomes sick from the many alcohol consumed out of peer pressure. He begins to straighten up.
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