Sunday, June 26, 2016

An open letter to the parents of Brock Allen Turner [note: disturbing content]

Dear Dan and Carleen Turner,

It's absolutely critical that you understand something. So let me state it as clearly as possible: Your son, Brock Allen Turner, was convicted of sexually assaulting and attempting to rape an unconscious woman behind a dumpster.

I know this is an uncomfortable truth for any parents to face about their child. But it's high time someone took you aside and explained this to you. Because from the time you learned of Brock's arrest to the time of this writing, nothing you have publicly stated about your son seems to suggest that you have even a cursory understanding of the facts of the case.

Brock Allen Turner's mug shot
You have painted your son Brock in affectionate, glowing terms before the court, speaking of his happy-go-lucky personality, his fondness for steak and other snacks, his personal sacrifices to become a great swimmer. And it only makes sense that you would portray him this way. No parent wants to believe that he or she raised a bad seed. But none of these heartfelt personality sketches budge the recalcitrant fact that Brock was convicted of sexually assaulting and attempting to rape an unconscious woman behind a dumpster.

You believe your son should experience minimal jail time for his crime, and protest that he should not be permanently registered as a sex offender, claiming that the damage to his psychiatric health and reputation would be too great. You seem not to realize that Brock was convicted of sexually assaulting and attempting to rape an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. The woman he assaulted has publicly stated that the trauma he inflicted on her "doesn't expire, doesn't just go away after a set number of years. It stays with me, it's part of my identity, it has forever changed the way I carry myself, the way I live the rest of my life." Why should your son receive only a specified time to experience the consequences of his actions, when the woman he dragged behind a dumpster, digitally penetrated and attempted to rape must live forever with the fallout from Brock's acts of sexual assault?

You seem to suppose that because your son is a talented swimmer and an Olympic hopeful, he should not have to endure a punishment that could ruin his promising future and chances for greatness. Sadly, Brock himself ruined those chances when he made the choice to sexually assault and attempt to rape an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. And there are legal and social consequences attached to that choice, which he should have discovered in court when he was convicted of sexually assaulting and attempting to rape an unconscious woman behind a dumpster.

You suggest that Brock was basically a good kid who never would have gotten into trouble if it weren't for "drinking too much and the sexual promiscuity that goes along with that." First, there are signs that Brock isn't as good a kid as you suggest; other Stanford swimmers were disturbed by Brock's frequently creepy and inappropriate behavior, even before the assault. Second, there are plenty of college kids who drink too much at parties, but who don't sexually assault or attempt to rape unconscious people behind dumpsters -- in fact, it's a widespread social expectation that people will never engage in such acts, whether drunk or sober. Third, using the term "sexual promiscuity" to try to soft-pedal Brock's attempted rape of an unconscious woman, who could not give consent or fight back, isn't just a mischaracterization. It's a deliberate attempt to smear your son's victim as a drunk slut who somehow deserved to be raped behind a dumpster, and it's vile.

Finally, in a desperate bid to save your son from the legal consequences of his decisions, you go beyond all limits of common decency by describing Brock's acts of sexual assault and attempted rape of an unconscious woman behind a dumpster as "20 minutes of action."

There is only one effective way to respond to this, and it requires you to use your imagination, so please read the following very carefully:

I want you to imagine Brock going to that party, and drinking a whole lot more alcohol than he usually does -- so much, in fact, that he's teetering on the edge of passing out. At this point, another student at the party -- a large, muscular upperclassman who attends school on a sports scholarship, and who has also been drinking heavily -- latches onto Brock and pulls him out to a secluded spot behind a dumpster, where others cannot see what he is doing. Brock, now unconscious, cannot protest or fight back as the upperclassman pushes him down behind the dumpster, removes his pants and underwear, and flips him over to reveal his unprotected anus. The upperclassman proceeds to forcefully penetrate Brock's anus with his fingers, eventually removing his own pants and underwear as he prepares to penetrate your son's anus with his penis. When the upperclassman is interrupted by two passersby, instead of explaining that this is a fully consensual sex act, he cuts and runs, leaving Brock still unconscious, scratched and bleeding from the anal penetration, and covered in dirt and pine needles behind a filthy trash container.

Mr. and Mrs. Turner, was the act I described above merely "20 minutes of action" with your son? Or would you categorize it the way the jury categorized a similar act -- as the sexual assault and attempted rape of an unconscious person behind a dumpster?

I think you already know the answer to that question.

1 comment:

MarieC said...

PREACH!! Too bad they will never understand this, even if they do happen to read it!