I don't know what's worse: a bad child, or a bad parent.
In the days following a heart-breaking letter from the victim, Brock Turner, promising frat boy, now rapist, has had the public in an uproar over the disgustingly light sentence he received. It was bad enough that a judge was more worried about the life of a rapist than he was about the life of a victim, but Turner's father, Dan, made the world even more sick to their stomachs. In a statement to the court, Mr. Turner said that Brock would, "Never be his happy go lucky self with that easy going personality and welcoming smile," and that a heavy punishment would not match his son's "20 minutes of action." He also alluded to his son having difficulty eating steak since the resulting emotional trauma.
I know that ideally, a parent should always love and support their child. I know that a father should always stand up for his son, but Dan Turner's message to the world is a dangerously affirmative contribution to rape culture.
This is an open letter to Dan Turner, a father who is doing more harm than good:
Dear Mr. Turner,
Part of me feels for you.
I can't imagine what it was like for you to get that call from the police. I can't imagine how you must have felt when you found out that your little boy raped an innocent young woman. I'm not a parent, but I know that I wouldn't have been able to deal with a phone call like that. And quite honestly, I'd be in shock, much like you are.
Children are a gift. You have to raise them well, teach them all you know, and send them out to the wolves and pray that they don't come back mangled. You teach them right and wrong and you pray that they're able to figure out the tough stuff when you're no longer there. Being a parent is easy, but being a GOOD parent is one of the hardest jobs you can have, and there are days when I don't envy the people who have a little one relying on them for everything.
Part of me really does feel for you, Mr. Turner. But a bigger part of me feels for the girl your son raped.
As painful as that must be for you to hear, Brock did not just make a "mistake." He potentially ruined someone's life.
Violence is a learned behaviour. Children learn from those closest to them how to behave, and when they do something wrong, they often look to their elders for affirmation of the consequences. Although I can't speak to how your household operates, I can speak to the fact that you have blatantly disregarded the fact that your son did something EVIL. And you know what's worse? You told him that it's OK.
By appealing to the courts and telling them that your son made a mere "mistake", you are telling Brock that he is not responsible for what he did. You're saying "boys will boys", that the girl MUST have given consent and because she did, the blame rests on her shoulders. You are telling the court to shrug their shoulders because sometimes, boys make silly mistakes, but by golly, he's a good boy and he'll learn from that gosh-darn mistake.
You are not just contributing to rape culture, Mr. Turner. You ARE rape culture.
How does it feel to be a part of one of the biggest problems in our world today? How does it feel to actively try to justify something evil? I'm sure that is not your intention, Mr. Turner, but affirming rape culture by abdicating your son's responsibility is NOTHING other than allowing that evil to persist.
Your son deserves to be punished. As painful as that must be for you to hear, Brock did not just make a "mistake." He potentially ruined someone's life. Although I can't imagine what it's like to have a child in this position, I am certain that you can't imagine what it's like to be a young woman in the victim's position. A rape victim carries shame, guilt, fear, anxiety, despair, and self-loathing for their entire lives. It becomes programmed into their bodies on a neurological level. Six months is not enough time for your son to pay for that.
The victim had her innocence take away from her; your son threw his away.
I hope that you don't have a daughter. I can't imagine what it would be like to hear her dad basically say that a boy's word is more important than a girl's. I'd hate for her to think that "boys will be boys" when they take advantage of her and she's too drunk to consent. And I hope that no other female member of your family is listening when you say that a tough sentence is a "steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action" either. If they are listening, I hope they know how dangerous what you said really is.
20 minutes is long enough to change a life. Despite your best efforts, your son has already ruined his own life. His time served is irrelevant because the world REVILES him. It will be difficult to pursue any career or dream once he is free, because even though you may choose to forget, the internet always remembers. This will haunt your son for the rest of his life, and the judge's leniency will only make it worse. If it were anyone else, I''m sure you'd say the kid deserved it. At least, I hope you would.
I know that this letter has come off as harsh, but I've been in a similar position to your son's victim, so please excuse me if I don't have a single shred of sympathy for him. I want justice served more than anything, and this is a case of justice being denied. The victim had her innocence take away from her; your son threw his away. She deserves to have a good life more than your son does.
I do feel for you, Mr. Turner. It's not easy admitting that your son is a monster, but for the sake of the world, and for the sake of the countless young women who have been violated by frat boys just like Brock Turner, it's time that you take on that burden.
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