No More Brock Turners: If You Have a Son, You Need to Step Up

Brock Turner

I've been reading everything I can about convicted Stanford rapist Brock Turner for the last few days and it makes me truly sick to my stomach. Nothing I've ever read online has made me feel this way. I have two boys; my 18-year-old son goes off to college in less than three months, and I am terrified for him. I am terrified for my daughter, who will leave for college in another year. I'm terrified for all girls on campus. I'm terrified for all college students. 

Here's why I'm scared -- and this might anger some people.


Brock Turner, while he is a rapist, probably didn’t go out that night with the intention to sexually assault someone.  

But he did.

And he's not being fairly punished for it. And his father, Dan Turner, only added fuel to the Internet fires by telling the world how sad he is that he can't make a rib-eye for his son because Brock has no appetite now. His father had no right to tell the world that Brock Turner is no longer his "happy-go-lucky" self when the girl he raped has lost so much -- including, as she so eloquently said, her independence, natural joy, gentleness ... and the ability to sleep alone at night without a light on.  

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Dan Turner should just shut up.

Because the truth is, Brock Turner raped a girl and committed a multitude of crimes and he is not being properly punished for those crimes. And, he has shown no remorse for the crimes he has committed.

Perhaps Brock Turner wanted to apologize to the girl. Maybe he knew what he did was wrong. But maybe his high-powered lawyer and his daddy told him to shut his mouth and do what they told him to and they’d get him out of the mess he got himself into. That could have happened. We don’t know. We don’t know much of anything about how Brock Turner really feels inside.

All we know are the facts, and the fact is that Brock Turner was convicted by a unanimous jury of sexually assaulting that young woman.

As a mother, my heart breaks for Brock's victim and her family. But also, my heart hurts for Brock's mother, who has been completely absent from the Internet. I imagine she is sobbing daily at her son’s ruined life, as now he will be a registered sex offender forever. I imagine she had such high hopes for her golden boy, her swimming champ. And now, because of one night, because of alcohol and the desperate urge to be with someone sexually, because he raped someone, so many lives are irrevocably changed. I feel for Brock's mother, I truly do. As a mother, I cannot imagine how awful she must feel. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

I imagine Brock got ready to go out to a party, and he was probably looking to hook up with a girl that night, hoping to get lucky, or laid, or whatever. He got really drunk, met a few girls, even reportedly tried to kiss the girl's sister but was rejected by her and then found the girl, the "wounded antelope" of the herd -- as she called herself -- "completely alone and vulnerable" -- and made his moves on her. She was drunk, yes, three times the limit drunk, and according to Brock, she danced with him, and even kissed him. 

But when she passed out and could no longer say whether she wanted to or not, then that becomes rape.

And he raped her. But here's what terrifies me: I don't think he went out that night with the intentions of raping someone. I don't think that was his plan. That still shouldn't lessen his punishment. He should pay for what he has done. And the law is letting him get away with the crime. Which is unfair.

But, I'm scared for my own son. I'm scared for my own daughter. What if, when they get to college, they have too much to drink one night? What if they meet up with someone, and they dance with that person, and then kiss that person, and they decide they might want to walk home with that person, and then things get out of control? What if my daughter gets raped? Could my son ever make a criminal choice? In my heart, I know his father and I have raised him not to be that person. Did Brock's parents think that, too? Do they still, despite all the evidence to the contrary?

This happens all across the country, across campuses all the time. It hardly gets reported. Girls feel a huge sense of guilt -- "I let this happen"; "I led him on"; "This was my fault." But even scarier: Guys don’t even think that it was rape. Most of the time they probably feel like they just hooked up with a girl, and it was no big deal, while the girl will know the truth -- that she was sexually assaulted or raped.

This could essentially happen to any one of our children -- unless we do something. Unless we, as parents, take action to educate our sons and our daughters. To make sure they understand consent.

And that it's never, ever the victim's fault.

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In the case of Brock Turner, this was his wrongdoing; all his fault. She didn’t want him. She couldn't function. She couldn't keep her eyes open. He raped her. Plain and oh-so horribly simple.

And we cannot let this continue. We have to talk to our sons. We have to tell them not to give in to the excuse that alcohol can control them. We have to teach them to respect women. We have to tell them that if they see something going on that's wrong, to stop it immediately. We have to talk to our daughters, to tell them that they are allowed to be themselves, they are allowed to go out and have fun, but to be cautious, and to watch out for their friends, always. 

We have to keep our children safe -- our daughters, and our sons. This can't happen again and again and again.

We have to stop another Brock Turner from happening. As parents, it's up to us.




Image via Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office 

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