Kristina Gray Photography
Brock Turner had golden locks, sky blue eyes and was going to Stanford on a swimming scholarship. He was the son parent’s dream of having.
But he sexually assaulted a woman.
He was found on campus by two students on January 18, “thrusting” himself on top of unconscious woman. When caught, he laughed.
The young woman, who is being called Emily Doe, wrote a powerful, heartbreaking, and true letter about her sexual assault. She describes waking up in the hospital. She remembers the nurses combing pine needles out of her hair, measuring her vaginal abrasions, and the Nikon camera used to take pictures between her “spread legs” for evidence.
Brock Turner was found guilty of three felonies: assault with intent to rape an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object, and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object. The maximum sentence for these crimes is 14 years. He was charged with six months.
Brock Turner -the almost-rapist- was released yesterday for good behavior. He served three months for three felonies.
So what can parents learn from Brock Turner’s shameful story?
Just a Mother
I am just a Mom. I love my kids so much that looking at them brings tears to my eyes. My little girl, Ann, just turned one and is such a stinker. Every day I laugh at the new, funny things she comes up with. I love the way she thinks if she closes her eyes, we can’t find her. I love the way she’s says Mama, and I love how she gets so excited when she sees daddy that she bounces up and down like a basketball.
My son, Levi, is about to turn five, which is crazy. The time truly goes by in a moment. He is such a boisterous, sweet, and loud kid. He is a master Lego builder and already enjoys learning. We read a book together every night and he tells me a story at least once a week.
I am biased, but my kids are incredible.
Brock Turner Affects Me
Like many others I found out about the Brock Turner story on Facebook by reading the victims incredible letter. As days went on I would read and passively mark angry faces on posts regarding Brock. It was just on a screen, but it affected me.
I think about what Brock did to Emily Doe when I look at my pretty baby, and cry. Someday a man could see my little girl and want to do the same to her. I avoid thinking about terrible ideas like this, but it is hard when you see stories in the news such as Brock’s.
I think about what Brock did when I look at my son. Brock was once a little boy just like my dimple-fingered Levi. I wonder how I can raise him to be the kind of man that, even when he’s intoxicated and not thinking clearly, would never stick a foreign object in a sleeping beauty with intent to rape.
I think about the Turner parents and wonder how they can support their son’s actions, no matter how much they love him. How can his mother and father write a letter to the judge about all the good things Brock did throughout his life like it would change the fact he was convicted of sexual assault and tried to rape a young woman.
It is devastating that Brock will never be the same after those “20 minutes of action.”
But neither will his victim, Emily Doe. That is a tragedy.
What Can Parents of Girls AND Boys Do?
I am not perfect. I am learning how to be a mother as I go along. In my mind, I hardly do anything right.
But I try. Just like Brock’s parents did. We all do the best we can.
So how can we try to stomp out the potential that all men have of rape? I believe it starts young.
We must take steps to teach our children when someone says stop, they listen. It can be a simple action like tickling their sister. If she laughs and says stop, they must stop. Even if they don’t want to. Even if it looks like she is having fun. They must listen to her words. If she can’t speak, they must listen to her body language.
The child must be disciplined if they don’t stop. I don’t mean you should smack your child. No more violence, please! But something should be done to show their actions were unacceptable. It can be as simple as having the child put their nose on the wall, a time out, or taking a treat away. Be empathic and sit with them if that is best. The point is for the child to learn to stop.
And we must stop when they ask us to as well (when appropriate.)
For girls we must teach them that they can say no. They have the power. Even if their shirt is a bit low, makeup is a little dark, or even drunk. There is no reason a man should stick anything inside a girl, or boy without consent. Period.
When they are older and finally have the sex talk, we must explain how rape is not ok -in any situation.
We must teach them to fear and love God and pray they will learn right from wrong.
I am sure Brock’s parents did many things right, but something went wrong along the way. Maybe it was Brock’s character. Who knows? But we should strive not to excuse our children’s actions because we think he is a good boy. We are biased after all.
Brock is not good a good boy anymore. Attempted rape is not good.
All we can do is teach our daughters they have every right to say No.
We can only teach our sons to STOP when someone says Stop.
How has the Brock Turner case affected you? What do you think we should do to prevent this from happening again?