Convicted Stanford rapist Brock Turner blamed his actions on “party culture,” “peer pressure” and “binge drinking,” in a letter to Judge Aaron Persky.
“I want to show that people’s lives can be destroyed by drinking and making poor decisions while doing so,” read part of the letter, obtained by The Guardian. “One needs to recognize the influence that peer pressure and the attitude of having to fit in can have on someone. One decision has the potential to change your entire life.
“I know I can impact and change people’s attitudes towards the culture surrounded by binge drinking and sexual promiscuity that protrudes through what people think is at the core of being a college student.”
Persky sentenced Turner to six months in county jail last week for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman after a fraternity party at Stanford University. The victim read an emotional statement to Turner in court, questioning whether the probation officer’s recommendation of a year or less in county jail was severe enough.
Turner’s statement continued to lament the way his life has been negatively impacted: “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.”
His victim, who has not been identified, referenced his statement in her own words, reprimanding him for not recognizing the way he impacted her life with his actions as well: “You said, I want to show people that one night of drinking can ruin a life. A life, one life, yours, you forgot about mine. Let me rephrase for you, I want to show people that one night of drinking can ruin two lives. You and me. You are the cause, I am the effect.”
The light sentence Persky handed down to Turner has drawn wide-spread criticism, with a Change.org petition calling for the judge to be removed from his position having drawn over 650,000 signatures as of Wednesday.