Friday, June 10, 2016

An Open Letter to Dan Turner

Brock Turner and his father, Dan.
Mr. Turner,

I'm writing to you as one father to another, as a dad who knows what it's like to want to do anything to protect his kids.

I'm sorry to be so blunt, but you are a failure as a father.

When we enter into parenthood, it is our duty to see that our children are healthy and well cared for, ensuring that they have adequate shelter and food, and are placed out of harm's reach. As they grow, we teach them the basic life skills that they need to thrive in our society: how to talk and communicate with others. How to take care of themselves, from simple hygiene to feeding themselves.

If we're a good parent, we'll pass on the golden rule: to treat other people the way we would want people to treat us. That includes not raping people.

I don't have any sons. I can't teach my kid that, when he goes out for a social evening, to treat people with kindness and courtesy. That, if he meets a woman, he is to treat her with dignity. "Go out and have a good night, Johnny. Have fun, meet people, make friends.

"Oh, and Johnny, if you meet a woman, don't rape her."

I have two daughters. I have to teach them that when they socialize, to watch their drinks, to look out for their girlfriends, to not be afraid to call me, at all hours, if they need to be picked up. To be careful with whoever they meet.

I can't protect them from everything, and for that, I'll worry whenever they're out late.

The facts in your sons case are clear: he was found sexually assaulting a woman behind a dumpster on Stanford College campus. And for that, he's been convicted.

You failed to teach your son that it's not okay to rape.

But that's not the only place where you failed.

We all make mistakes. We all fuck up. Not as badly as your son fucked up, but we all do something that isn't cool. I've always tried to teach my kids that no matter how badly we screw up, we have to take ownership for it, we have to try to make amends. If my kids ever mess up, I have told them that coming forward, that owning that mistake, and accepting responsibility is the most grown-up thing that they can ever do. And I will support them as they try to rectify any wrong that they make.

It's hard.

It's humiliating.

It's humbling.

But more than anything, it's the right thing to do.

Your son, Brock, won't even admit he's done something wrong. He admits to promiscuity under the influence of alcohol, which isn't even what he's being convicted of. Having sex while drunk isn't against the law. Rape is. And he's been found guilty on three counts.

But he's not taking ownership for it, not admitting fault, not trying to make amends.

You have failed to teach him the importance of responsibility.

On top of these failures, you yourself have proven to be a bad father in making a public statement, in which you say that his meager six months of imprisonment is unfair, that he has suffered enough already for his "20 minutes of action."

"A steep price to pay," you say.

You fucking asshole.

He raped a woman. He took advantage of an unconscious person. And you're worried that he has lost his appetite over this? That he no longer enjoys a steak or doesn't sneak your chips?

You fucking asshole.

You're a failure as a father for not teaching your son to not rape women.

You're a failure as a father for not teaching your son to accept responsibility for his actions.

You're a failure as a father for thinking that an inadequate sentence term is harsh.

Your son's story is a lesson for my daughters. They can see how a person who seems respectable and trustworthy on the outside—an athlete with Olympic aspirations—can be a loathsome monster who can't be trusted with his actions or trusted to own up to them.

And you're a model for what is bad in parenthood.

I can only hope that my daughters will never encounter a person such as your son. But, if they do, I hope that son wasn't raised by a father like you.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you. Men like you need to stand up to "men" like this.