Opinion: To Brock Turner’s Father, You Failed
Dear Mr. Dan Turner,
I am not a parent, nor do I know the first thing about parenting, but I can confidently say that you have failed your son Brock, and in turn have failed as a father.
I don’t care how many awards your son won, or what superlatives he received in high school, or the discipline needed for him to become an elite swimmer at Stanford University. Your son, Brock Turner, is a convicted sex offender, and while his actions on the night in question are his own, you Mr. Turner, the elder statesmen in his life, are just as responsible for the reprehensible and irreversible damage caused to the victim as your son is.
Brock’s case reeks of white privilege and sexism. Brian Banks, a promising African-American high school football star who committed to playing at Southern Cal spent six years behind bars after being wrongfully convicted of rape. For roughly 2,200 days, Banks lived with hardened criminals, yet you had the gall and the unjustifiable chutzpah to stand before a judge and ask that your son’s proposed six-year sentence after being convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, be reduced to probation because “that is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”
Banks was innocent of the crime and you think your son—who was caught in the act—should be pardoned for his vile and very illegal act because it just took “20 minutes” to commit?
Mr. Turner, beloved, unlike what was demonstrated in Judge Aaron Persky’s courtroom when your rightfully disgraced son was given a six-month sentence for his crime, one’s actions—despite how long it takes to complete—has a direct consequence. Good, sound parents who reside in said real world try their hardest to instill in their children proper decision making, the difference between right and wrong, the old adage “do unto others,” because one bad move can have a profound affect on your life. That is precisely why parents instruct their children to look both ways before crossing the street, Mr. Turner. From your son’s actions, it appears as if you taught him to look both ways to ensure no one caught him as he entered—without permission—the woman he sexually assaulted.
And let me be clear, some will argue you pleading for a lenient punishment is a parent’s love. So then what do you make of the Chicago area woman who in April 2015 turned her then 15-year-old son, Deshawn Isabelle, into police custody after after local news outlets and publications posted photos of him exiting Chicago Transit Authorities’ Blue Line scene after physically and sexually assaulting a woman? I assume having to turn your child into police wasn’t a highlight for her as a mother, reports indicate she even instructed Assistant State’s Attorney Joe DiBella to shut up and yelled “Quit talking sh*t about my child” as she read aloud the gross and horrifying details of the attack to press, yet that mother still turned her child in.
As you, Mr. Turner, read your abhorrent statement in the courtroom trying to come to your son’s aid, did you ever question where his vile character stems from? Your son brings new definition to the word desperate as he preyed on a woman, waited until she was unconscious before assaulting her. Consensual sex often happens on college campuses, Mr. Turner, and athletes at most prestigious universities usually don’t have to try hard when it comes to meriting the attention of college women, yet your son chose what was vile and “easy.”
It is widely accepted and understood teens and young adults in their 20s do stupid things as they gain their footing in life. This is not one of those stupid things. Brock’s actions were intentional. This sense of “I can so I will no matter who gets hurt” is who your son is. Does that sit well with you, Mr. Turner? Your son will take advantage. Your son will hurt. Your son is a coward and waits until someone’s defenses are down to strike a ferocious blow and now your son knows daddy will be there to save him.
There are also other parents involved in this case, too. Parents who sent their daughter to college to receive an education, make lifelong friends, have fun and create lasting memories. Those parents did not send their daughter to college to become a part of the growing number of women sexually assaulted or raped on college campuses.
Your son—and I continue to use those words “your son” because he is yours—is the precise evil parents protect their daughters from, and here you are attempting to protect him from a rightful punishment.
Mr. Turner, as I stated earlier, I am not a parent, nor do I know the first thing about parenting but you failed Brock, thus failed as a father.