A very moving letter that a rape victim read out to her attacker in court has been making headlines this week.
'Emily Doe', as she is known, braved a packed courtroom in Palo Alto to deliver what Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen called:
...the most eloquent, powerful and compelling piece of victim advocacy that I’ve seen in my 20 years as a prosecutor.
20-year-old Brock Turner got six months in county jail after being found guilty of several counts of assault, when under state law he could have faced 14 years. The judge said in handing down Turner's sentence that he was afraid imprisonment would have a “severe” impact on the competitive swimmer.
Picture: Supplied via Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office
There has been outrage at the leniency of the sentence, and demands for a re-sentencing.
The judgement was also not sufficient for Turner's father, who attracted widespread condemnation for an open letter he wrote which said the trial and verdicts have ruined his son's life:
That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.
Many people have suggested that an emerging pattern in 21st century rape culture is that women are seen to have 'pasts', and men have 'potential'.
When women are violated, we're asked 'what did you do to deserve this?' and often our past is looked at for clues.
When men violate women they're asked, 'what did you have to lose?' and their future is looked at for clues.
One woman took Turner's father's controversial letter, and added changes and caveats which she - and, judging by how widely it's been shared, many others - thinks better reflect the reality of the situation. For example:
The fact that he now has to register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life forever alters where he can live, visit, work, rape, and how we will be able to interact with people who don't want to be raped and organisations who don't want their employees to be raped.
Brock can do so many positive things as a contributor to society, but instead he chose to rape someone, and is totally committed to education other college students about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity, which is irrelevant because he should be talking about how he shouldn't have raped someone.
The letter in full reads very differently with the apologism taken out of it.
More than 100,000 people have signed a petition urging for the removal of the judge from the case and a re-sentencing that is not so "unusually lenient".