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You can’t look at Facebook or any other media channel over the past few days and not read someone’s letter or post or message to someone involved in the Brock Turner rape case. Usually, the letter is directed at Brock Turner’s father who (now famously) wrote a letter to the judge asking that his son not get a long prison term. Or the open letter is written to parents in general.

All of them share a general theme of what parents SHOULD be doing  so their child doesn’t become a Brock Turner. Anytime something like this happens, blame happens – usually at parents.

Why? Because we WANT a guarantee. If we can blame someone, then we convince ourselves we will or won’t do whatever that parent did or didn’t do, and then we won’t find ourselves sitting in a courtroom listening to the details of how our son sexually assaulted an unconscious young woman and forever changed and devastated her life. Forever destroyed his own life too.

We WANT to know we can prevent it if we just do this or avoid that or teach this. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees in parenting.

Brock Turner’s father has gotten a lot of condemnation for the letter he wrote, reducing what his son did to a young woman as “20 minutes of action.”

This very well may be a case of an indulged, privileged young man whose dad has always covered for him, who has always softened or mitigated the consequences of his son’s actions. That’s certainly what it appears to be on the surface. Brock Turner didn’t even seem particularly sorry for what he’d done – only made excuses and fabricated the best story to explain things in his favor.

First, let me say, there is NO QUESTION that what this young man did was horribly wrong. There is NO QUESTION that he has shattered a young woman’s life and that the consequences of that “20 minutes of action” will stay with her for the rest of her life. There has been a saying for a while that “no means no.” I’d like to add that unconscious should also mean no, that it shouldn’t even be a question really.

But, before we condemn the parents for the actions of the son and before we try and judge a man on the contents of one letter, let me just say I understand why Brock Turner’s father wrote that letter. I don’t agree with it, but I understand.

Because, you see, prison for a young man like Brock Turner would have been horror day after day. Do you have any idea what would have been done to a rich, privileged kid like that in prison? I bet Brock Turner’s father had an idea and that idea terrified him.

I understand why a father would go to any lengths to save his son from being beaten and probably raped repeatedly in a prison. I hope I would have the strength of character to allow my child to reap the consequences of so grave an action, but I would be tempted to try to save him, too. If you are really honest, you’d probably want to try to save your child, too.

Maybe some would say that is what Brock Turner deserves after what he did. Maybe they are right. All I know is that I’m glad Jesus didn’t give me what I deserve.

Yes, Brock Turner is NOT the victim in this particular scenario. The young woman he assaulted is the victim, and my heart and prayers go out to her. But Brock Turner’s parents are also in pain. If they were parents who did all the right things (and I don’t know that we can tell the caliber of their parenting by one letter written in probable desperation), I’m sure they are asking themselves what happened. I’m sure they are gutted and shattered to think a child of theirs could do something like this. If they didn’t do the right things and contributed to this young man’s attitude of taking what he wanted and feeling he was above consequences, then they will sit with the guilt of their failures daily for the rest of their lives.

Before you try, judge and condemn his parents, maybe you should take a moment and imagine it was your son facing prison and all that entails.

We all WANT that guarantee – the guarantee if we just do the right thing as parents then nothing bad will happen to our kids, that they won’t make bad choices, that they won’t do horrible things. But there is no guarantee and no amount of blame will change that.

Blessings, Rosanne

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