Parenting sucks as much as I love it. It's time-consuming and thankless, and it never quits. It hurts to parent a kid through poor choices and take the "tough love" approach. When you know your child in and out, celebrate great moments with him, help him through issues and struggles. When your child shows bad character and commits a crime, I understand the need to step in and defend him.
But when you do, you are failing. Failing your kid, yourself, and society in a general sense. Failing in your number one job: guiding him in how to become a man of principle, honor and integrity. Alternatively, we also must teach our girls how to walk with grace and respect their own bodies.
I agree with the judge that the penalty will have a "severe" impact on Brock. I understand Brock's mom lamenting that a full sentence would be a "death penalty" for her 19-year-old. I understand his dad highlighting his personality, what a good kid he is, the need to personalize details of his life. I would do the same for my kid, look out for his interests and want to protect.
What I hope I would not do however is condone the victimization of the victim. Because what Brock did to her will have “a severe impact” on her the rest of her life. I wouldn't marginalize or trivialize the crime by saying "these things" happen on college campuses - that Brock is a victim of promiscuity and drinking just like every kid is age. I would drill into my kid the need to apologize to the actual victim, Jane Doe, and really feel the repercussions of the damage he did that night.
I would hope to instill in my growing boy that respect for girls is mandatory. No matter how the girl dresses (with all our society's heavy pressure to look a certain way) when she sashays through a room, nothing justifies viewing her as an object. An object "deserving" what she gets based on the length of her skirt or tightness of her shirt.
I would help him see the person, the character, the soul under the outfit. Not an object to be sized up and viewed as prey. He would learn to appreciate beauty while also understand that his feelings and sensations of excitement are normal. I’d teach that girls’ bodies aren’t just there to "tempt him" to the point that he "couldn't help himself."
There's plenty of nauseating Facebook posts (even a page: Support for the Turner Family) about Brock's "mistake," about the dangers of on-campus drinking, about what a good kid he is. Permeating these sentiments is the age-old adage of "boys will be boys."
I didn't grow up in a purity culture per se, but I attended many Christian rallies imploring young girls to be careful how they dress around boys. From a moral perspective, I understand it and agree, but if my memory serves there wasn't nearly as much emphasis on boys learning to control their thoughts or opinions of girls. Instead of seeing young pretty bodies as "temptations," the whole Adam/Eve syndrome, I don't recall an emphasis placed on boys’ developing character to control their own thoughts.
No matter who walks in front of a group of boys, they should be able to feel the natural urges towards sex, but understand the need to also respect it. To see a beautiful girl with her own autonomy and not as an object to be verbally ogled and visually fondled.
What happened between Brock Turner and Jane Doe was a crime. No matter if he had a past record or not; no matter how many other boys at that party saw a pic of the unconscious girl from pics on Brock's cell phone; no matter if she said "yes" earlier than night before she drank one last shot towards black-out inebriation. If a girl said "yes" then passed out and couldn't speak, that boy needs to have the character to check himself. To respect the girl enough to zip up his pants, pull down her skirt, and call someone - anyone - to take her home if he was incapable of it.
That girl could have been me a few times in my life. One of my sisters, friends, acquaintances. The story hits home for so many women because they understand how easy it can happen, how quickly one stupid “shot” to be the go-to girl, the "fun" partyer, the life of the party, etc. can lead to a nightmare where something like that can happen. Something taken, never to be returned.
This shouldn't be something a "mature" man only knows. Boys must be taught the basic principles of decency from a young age if rape culture is going to stop. Stop enabling "special" little princes and blaming girls for causing the prince to fall from grace. A crime is a crime, and parents have to recognize it. Children are our worlds. But the world suffers if we raise enabled kids who don't have the character to recognize their own failings and accept responsibility.
It was not Jane Doe's fault. It is the not the "haters"' (those of us who don't see Brock as a little prince) fault. It is not campus culture's fault, although that must be addressed to on a more global scale. It was Brock's fault. And, much as I hate to throw any other parent under the bus, the fault of his parents for rushing to his defense and blaming the victim.
If anything, this sad story cements in me my resolve to do right by my boys and teach them how to respect girls. How to accept consequences, how to lower their heads in humility when they do wrong.
And, most importantly, to say "I'm sorry." And really, truly mean it.