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'We Saw That She Was Not Moving': The Witnesses to the Stanford Assault Speak Out

Illustration for article titled We Saw That She Was Not Moving: The Witnesses to the Stanford Assault Speak Out

Carl-Fredrik Arndt and Peter Jonsson were the two Swedish Ph.D. students who discovered Brock Turner raping a woman on Stanford’s Palo Alto campus in 2015. Arndt and Johnsson’s intervention led to Turner’s arrest and their testimony to his conviction.

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The two are now able to speak to some degree about their experience, and in an interview with Swedish news site Expressen, translated by BuzzFeed, they describe finding Turner and his victim on their bike ride home:

“We saw that she was not moving, while he was moving a lot... So we stopped and thought, ‘This is very strange.”

“When he got up we saw that she still wasn’t moving at all, so we walked up and asked something like, ‘What are you doing?’”

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Turner suddenly jumped up and attempted to run away before being tackled by Jonsson. Arndt checked on the victim, saying, “She lay perfectly still.”

According to her now famous letter about her experience, the victim had not met the men who stopped to help her as of last Thursday. She wrote of them:

Thank you to the two men who saved me, who I have yet to meet. I sleep with two bicycles that I drew taped above my bed to remind myself there are heroes in this story. That we are looking out for one another. To have known all of these people, to have felt their protection and love, is something I will never forget.

According to BuzzFeed, Jonsson shared her letter on his own Facebook page:

Jonsson posted the victim’s letter on his Facebook page Tuesday, thanking friends and strangers for all the “encouragement and support” over the past few months. He said he would not publicly comment on the process or outcome of the trial, but asked everyone to read her letter.

“To me it is unique in its form” he wrote, “and comes as close as you can possibly get to putting words on an experience that words cannot describe.”

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Sometimes heroes are just people who stop instead of riding by.

Image via flickr.

Contributing Writer, writing my first book for the Dial Press called The Lonely Hunter, follow me on Twitter @alutkin

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DISCUSSION

Kat Marlowe

Leslie Rasmussen, Part 2:

Summary: Same shit as before, now minus cutesy pics but featuring more defensiveness.

A statement from Leslie regarding the letter she wrote about Brock Turner:

Dear everyone,

Two months ago, I was asked to write a character statement for use in the sentencing phase of Brock Turner’s trial. Per the request of the court, I was asked to write this statement in an effort to shed light on Brock’s character as I knew it to be during my childhood, adolescence and young adulthood when I interacted with him as a classmate and friend. I felt confident in my ability to share my straightforward opinion of him and how I knew him. I also felt compelled to share my deep concern over the misuse of alcohol that was a well-established contributor in this case. Beyond sharing my personal experience with Brock, I made an appeal to the judge to consider the effect that alcohol played in this tragedy.

I understand that this appeal has now provided an opportunity for people to misconstrue my ideas into a distortion that suggests I sympathize with sex offenses and those who commit them or that I blame the victim involved. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and I apologize for anything my statement has done to suggest that I don’t feel enormous sympathy for the victim and her suffering.

Perhaps I should have included in my statement the following ideas that explain my perspective on the complexities of what may have happened. As a young female musician who has spent years (since I was in fourth grade) performing as a drummer in live music venues, clubs, and bars with my two sisters, I have had the unique opportunity to observe over 10 years of public American drinking culture and the problems that invariably arise through alcohol misuse. I have watched friends, acquaintances and complete strangers transform before my eyes over the course of sometimes very short periods of time, into people I could barely recognize as a result of alcohol overconsumption. I am currently 20 years old. I have made these observations through sober eyes. I have been repeatedly reminded by my family and coached by police to hold my personal sobriety closely and seriously because of the industry I work in and the risks to my own life that I could face as a young woman playing regularly in venues across the country where alcohol is served.

Additionally, I have grown up and currently reside in a university town that is affected every year by the tragic consequences resulting from undergraduate students’ excessive enthusiasm for binge drinking. Student arrests, violence, injuries, and sexual assaults occur with some regularity, and I have often wondered why this culture continues to thrive seemingly unquestioned and unchecked.

There is nothing more sad than the unnecessary, destructive and enormous toll that overuse, misuse and abuse of alcohol and drugs play in people’s lives, and I don’t think my effort to point this out in confidence to a judge while commenting on Brock Turner’s character, as the sober person I knew him to be, was an irresponsible or reckless decision. Unfortunately, due to the overzealous nature of social media and the lack of confidence and privacy in which my letter to the judge was held, I am now thrust into the public eye to defend my position on this matter in the court of public opinion. Now, my choices to defer college to write and play music, to finally introduce 10 years of hard work to a national audience while working consistently and intentionally on my own personal and professional integrity, has led to an uproar of judgement and hatred unleashed on me, my band and my family.

I know that Brock Turner was tried and rightfully convicted of sexual assault. I realize that this crime caused enormous pain for the victim. I don’t condone, support, or sympathize with the offense or the offender. I was asked by a court in California to provide a character statement as a standard and necessary part of the sentencing process. I believe that Brock’s character was seriously affected by the alcohol he consumed, and I felt that the court needed to consider this issue during their sentencing deliberations.

Sincerely,
Leslie Rasmussen