The world is still recoiling from the letter written by the father of convicted rapist and Stanford University student Brock Turner. We were among the many left speechless. Thankfully, John Pavlovitz was not.
The popular writer/blogger has written an impassioned open letter to Dan Turner in which he calls out the fellow dad for dangerously perpetuating rape culture.
“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,” writes Pavlovitz. “Brock is not the victim here. His victim is the victim. She is the wounded one. He is the damager.”
“You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me.” Read the victim’s powerful statement here.
Pavlovitz’s post is in response to a document submitted by Dan Turner for his son’s sentencing hearing last week, in which he claims Brock has been left “broken and shattered” by his conviction, that he’s gone off his food and now faces a drastically altered future. Ultimately, he argued, Brock should not be punished for what was “20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life”.
The problem? That 20 minutes involved the athlete raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster outside a Stanford University fraternity party. He was only stopped when two students cycling past intervened and tackled him to the ground.
“This young woman will be dealing with this for far longer than the embarrassingly short six months your son is being penalized,” writes Pavlovitz. “She will endure the unthinkable trauma of his “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.”
Pavlovitz goes on to say that Turner’s attempts to humanise Brock are sweet but pointless.
“There is no scenario where your son should be the sympathetic figure here. He is the assailant. He is the rapist. I can’t image as a father how gut wrenching such a reality is for you, but it is still true,” he writes.
“It feels like you want more sympathy and goodwill toward your son than you want for the survivor of his crime, and that’s simply not good enough for her or for those young men and women watching.”
Ultimately, Pavlovitz writes, it’s up to Turner to continue to love his son, to show him that what he’s done is terrible and that he needs to face the punishment handed to him, because even “one vile act against another human being is one too many.”
“For now though, as one father to another,” he concludes, “help us teach our children to do better — by letting them see us do better.”