Normally when I read something that stirs up so much emotion in me, I can sit down and bang out an article in no time flat. For some reason, it’s taken me a few days of watching the stories and listening, in absolute disbelief, to gather my thoughts on this one. I realized that it’s because I’m as mad at the father and the judge, as I am at Brock Turner.
When I first heard the story about Brock Turner and what he did to that woman behind a dumpster, of course I was sick to my stomach. The minute I read the story I knew that her life would never be the same. Her entire sense of security was ripped away from her in one single act. In her own words, “I read and learned for the first time about how I was found unconscious, with my hair disheveled, long necklace wrapped around my neck, bra pulled out of my dress, dress pulled off over my shoulders and pulled up above my waist, that I was butt naked all the way down to my boots, legs spread apart, and had been penetrated by a foreign object by someone I did not recognize”. I want to send Brock to an island of misfit people that are unfixable, because anyone who would do such cruel acts towards another person is unfixable. I’ve asked myself so many questions about how he was raised. Did this happen because he was incredibly spoiled and got everything he wanted? Does he believe he’s better than everyone else? How does one become such a monster, and have no respect for women? Is this nature vs. nurture?
The letter Brock’s father wrote to the judge gives us a clue. His lack of empathy for the victim (And I hate to use that word, but I can’t honestly think of anything better) is impossible to comprehend yet says so much. Here’s a very condensed version of what he said that set me off the deep end:
“As it stands now, Brock’s life has been deeply altered... Brock always enjoyed certain types of food...now he barely consumes any food and eats only to exist... He will never be his happy go lucky self with that easy going personality and welcoming smile... This is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.” 20 minutes of action? I think this line in particular will haunt me the most. His dad is worried that Brock will no longer enjoy a nice juicy rib-eye steak. Why didn’t he stand up and voice how badly he felt about what his son did, and that while he still loves his son, he recognizes that Brock needs to be punished and he needs help because he is a very sick kid who committed a horrific crime? Why did he blame alcohol and refuse to let his son accept responsibility?
And where is his mother? As the mother of a son, I’m trying to imagine how it’s possible that she hasn’t stood up and said something to the victim expressing sincere empathy and letting this girl know that her son will stand up and accept responsibility for his actions. Is this mother as horrified by her son’s actions as the rest of the country? Does she realize that her husband’s words were like a knife in an already open wound? Is she questioning her parenting and wondering where it all went wrong? Does she have advice to moms raising sons about what “not” to do? Is she making excuses and blaming it on a night of drinking like her husband?
Let’s talk about Judge Persky. This is a person who could have made a real impact in this case, by sentencing Brock to a minimum of 14 years in prison. But instead, he failed us too. He is just as guilty as Brock Turner for allowing this rape culture to continue. “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him, I think he will not be a danger to others.” With all due respect, what the hell are you talking about?
Some say this starts in middle school with the music and the video games our boys are exposed to. I don’t have any answers but I know this much: What Brock Turner, his father, and the Judge perpetrated on this woman is not only reprehensible and unjust, but sends a clear message to our girls that they are of no value in society. Shameful.
What say you? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.