A North Carolina dad wrote a powerful letter in response to the one written by the father of Stanford University rapist Brock Turner.
As previously reported, The 20-year-old swimmer was found guilty in March of three counts of sexual assault after attacking an unconscious woman behind a dumpster on January 18, 2015. Though he faced up to 14 years in prison, he received only six months behind bars after Judge Aaron Persky worried that a longer sentence would have “a severe impact” on him. The lenient sentence prompted widespread public outrage. But Turner’s father argued in a statement to Judge Persky that his son should have probation instead of jail time.
“His life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve,” Dan Turner wrote. “That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action.” He added that while his boy used to love a big rib-eye steak, “now barely consumes any food and eats only to exist.”
Dan Turner’s letter — which has been called tone-deaf — drew the attention of pastor John Pavlovitz, who penned a blog post on Monday, June 6, titled “To Brock Turner’s Father, From Another Father.”
“I need you to understand something, and I say this as a father who dearly loves my son as much as you must love yours,” Pavlovitz began. “Brock is not the victim here. His victim is the victim. She is the wounded one. He is the damager.”
Pavlovitz continued, “This young woman will be dealing with this for far longer than the embarrassingly short six months your son is being penalized. She will endure the unthinkable trauma of this ’20 minutes of action’ for the duration of her lifetime, and the fact that you seem unaware of this fact is exactly why we have a problem.”
He went on to explain that Dan Turner’s attempts at humanizing his son were pointless. “There is no scenario where your son should be the sympathetic figure here,” Pavlovitz wrote. “He is the assailant. He is the rapist. I can’t imagine as a father how gut wrenching such a reality is for you, but it is still true.”
Though Pavlovitz said that he doesn’t believe Turner is a “monster,” he believes the young man must be accountable for his actions. “The idea that your son has never violated another woman next to a dumpster before isn’t credit to his character,” he explained. “We don’t get kudos for only raping one person in our lifetime.”
“You love your son and you should. But love him enough to teach him to own the terrible decisions he’s made, to pay the debt to society as he prescribed, and then to find a redemptive path to walk, doing the great work in the world that you say he will. For now though, as one father to another: Help us teach our children to do better — by letting them see us do better.” Read the full letter here.
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