An open letter to Brock Turner, his parents, and Judge Aaron Persky

Dear Brock,

I vividly remember being in your shoes a couple of years ago. Except, my situation was slightly different. You and I share a few commonalities, however, we also have quite a few differences.

Allow me to briefly explain.

I received an athletic scholarship to the illustrious Vanderbilt University, for football. I was 19-years-old at the time, like you. Had a bright future ahead, like you. My parents couldn’t afford Vanderbilt, like yours couldn’t afford Stanford.

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Brock Turner (elitedaily)

On the night of June 22, 2013, I had been drinking a lot with my boys. One choice led to the next, which led to the worst choice. We raped a woman who was unconscious. Not on accident; meaning we didn’t slip and fall into her vagina. And we admit that. It was our CHOICE.

Our first difference? I don’t blame my mistake on the alcohol. Peer pressure didn’t make me rape her. I wasn’t “influenced” to rape her. I didn’t rape her to “fit in”. And alcohol didn’t make me do anything.

The court found me, and three other black male students, guilty of aggravated rape in the assault of an unconscious woman in April 2016, like you.

The second difference? I’m in jail right now, have been for almost a month, and will be for the next 15-20 years. Yes, you read that correctly. I am likely to get out of jail no earlier than the age of 40. I also have a 1-year-old son. Do you think that matters to my judge?

Nah.

I heard through the grapevine that you got 6 months, but really only 3, because everyone is just assuming that you’ll display good behavior? So you’re 20 years old now. And you’ll be out of jail….at 20 years old.

According to your brokenhearted parents, you’re distraught, deeply depressed, terribly wounded, and filled with despair, right? Wow. I completely feel your pain. I promise. But, just imagine if your face was brown.

Oh, I failed to mention our BIGGEST difference. My face is brown. Yours is white. Did you know that your white face saved you from spending half of your life in prison? That’s it. That’s all it took. What a privilege that must be.

Suck it up, bruh. Consider yourself blessed.

Good luck to you in jail… because at this point, you’ll need it.

Signed,

A black man.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Turner,

I commend you all for backing your son up despite his great fault. I really do. That’s love.

And don’t ask how I got ahold of the letters you wrote to Judge Persky; I have my ways.

But here’s the question I have: Are y’all just going to completely ignore the FACT that your son raped a woman, while she was unconscious?! I know I did the same thing, but MY momma, beat. my. ass. before AND after the verdict. She didn’t waste her precious time trying to convince a judge and America that I didn’t deserve to go to jail, because she knows I COMMITTED A CRIME. Yes, she’s heartbroken and wishes I didn’t have to go through this. But she raised me, the best she could, and now as a grown man I make my own decisions and reap the consequences for MY decisions.

Mr. Turner— 20 minutes of action? That’s what you said, right? How do you expect your son to take you seriously?! He’ll probably go rape women for fun after that statement! Is this a joke to you?

Oh, right—no, it’s PRIVILEGE to you. Do you know the backlash MY parents would have received for making a statement like that?

No, you don’t.

I’m going to be honest, you all need to count your blessings, too. Just imagine if Brock was facing 15-20 years in jail! Mrs. Turner, I guess you would have just written an entire dissertation to Judge Persky, huh? And he probably would only serve 5 of those years anyway; IF THAT!

Stop begging for mercy when Brock has already been shown more mercy than I, and other black men convicted of crimes will EVER receive.

Signed,

A black man.

Judge Aaron Persky,

I saved you for last, because I’m just disgusted.

You were reported as having said: “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him … I think he will not be a danger to others.”

Would I be a danger to others? What sentence would you have given me? Do you think prison would have a sever impact on me? Would it have mattered? Would you have disregarded my jury’s finding? Would you have given ME only 6 months in jail?

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Judge Aaron Persky (nytimes)

I don’t want you to answer those questions, because I already know the answer. I know it all too well.

A jury of 12 people found Mr. Turner guilty of three charges, but you, despite all of the information revealed during the trial, chose to disregard the jury’s findings and other evidence and believe his self-serving version of events.

I just really want to know…

Would you have done the same for me?

Signed,

A black man

These letters were written by Maya Boddie, based on the perspective of Cory Batey, a former Vanderbilt football player who was sentenced to 15-20 years in prison in April 2016 for raping an unconscious woman. This was also written on behalf of African-American and Hispanic males who have been wrongly convicted and/or given longer prison sentences than their white counterparts, for the same crime.

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Cory Batey (tennessean)

Author: Maya J. Boddie

Daughter. Sister. Friend. Lover. Giver. Writer. Dreamer. Doer.

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