After ex-Stanford student Brock Turner was sentenced to six months in jail for the sexual assault of an unconscious woman, court documents revealed that Turner’s father begged the judge for a lenient punishment. In a letter obtained from the court file, the elder Turner describes his son as “deeply altered forever” by his actions, and writes that prison would be “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action.”
The letter came under fire for the way it sympathized the assailant.
It also generated one very powerful response from another father.
On June 6, author and pastor John Pavlovitz wrote a post on his website titled “To Brock Turner’s Father, From Another Father.”
“I’ve read your letter to the judge on behalf of your son Brock, asking for leniency in his rape conviction,” he begins. “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: Brock is not the victim here.”
Pavlovitz goes on to say that the elder Turner’s ignorance of the victim’s suffering perpetuates a culture where assailants act without fear of accountability, and in which victims are afraid to report crimes. Already, only about 20% of campus sexual assaults are reported, one study found.
“The idea that your son has never violated another woman next to a dumpster before isn’t a credit to his character,” he continues. “I don’t believe your son is a monster, but he acted like one and that needs to be accounted for. To be sure, this decision is not the sum total of Brock’s life, but it is an important part of the equation and it matters deeply.”
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