A response to Brock Turner’s father. Click here to read the letter Brock Turner’s father wrote regarding his son’s sentencing.
If you ask anyone about what their most defining moments are; the things that have lifted them up or turned their world upside down or damaged them beyond repair, the things they will mention will likely only have lasted moments, epiphanies that occur from reading something powerful, from seeing their child take their first breath, from seeing a loved one die, from the time they went from feeling safe and happy to feeling afraid for their life and the lives of those around them.Twenty minutes is twelve hundred seconds. A lifetime. You can save someone’s life in 20 minutes. You can listen to six and a half songs. You can go for a walk, cook a meal, read a chapter of a book, drive to work, have a deep and meaningful conversation with someone – well, you probably can’t, but the rest of us can. Your son can swim 2000 metres in twenty minutes! I know that because his swim times were posted with some of the articles written about this case. Because, you know, that matters in a rape case. You can take twenty minutes out of your day (because, to you, apparently, twenty minutes is no time at all) and read the beautiful words written by your son’s victim. I hope you have. I hope you do. If that doesn’t change your mind, then nothing will.
But I’m going to try anyway, just in case you have a spare twenty minutes. You can read this, and I hope that when you do, you hear the voices of all of us in your ear, for a full twelve hundred seconds and maybe, just maybe, begin to comprehend the reprehensibility of your actions.
Here is a list of crimes that take 20 minutes or less, itemised so that your micro brain can comprehend them.
- Mugging someone.
- Breaking into someone’s house or car.
- Shooting someone.
- Assault and battery – I guarantee you that if someone were beating you for twenty minutes, you would likely be dead.
- Raping someone – Yes, I included it! Because you seem not to realise that however long someone is being raped for, whether that be twenty seconds, twenty minutes, twenty hours, twenty years – it is rape.
What has happened in their lives prior to this life altering, devastating, damaging twenty minutes does not count. The twenty minutes is what counts. That’s twenty minutes of him panting in her ear, rubbing himself against her bare legs, shoving his hand inside her, while she lays there, uncovered, unconscious, unable to say no. Twelve hundred seconds of her being pressed into the dirt, gravel and pine needles being pushed into her skin because your son was taking what he wanted; doing what he felt like doing. Twelve hundred seconds of her lying there half naked, without responding. ‘Twenty minutes of action’, as you so charmingly put it, or, ‘the rape of a human being’, as decent people put it.
You know what takes longer than twenty minutes?
- Raising a son that believes women are his equals. That he is never, ever to take what he has no right to. That if he does something wrong, he should apologise. That he should mean it. That he should spend the rest of his life making up for those twelve hundred seconds of devaluing, degrading, dishonouring another human being. Of putting his hands where they do not belong. Of taking what he had no earthly right to take. That, my friend, takes a lifetime. One that your son has been granted. Use it.
- Realising that your son is not the victim, and that you are not the hero. This will take more than twenty minutes for you because you have demonstrated no aptitude for introspection. Why would you ever have to? When you can hire an expensive lawyer and casually watch said lawyer tear apart your son’s victim and then write letters stating your son’s punishment was too harsh, a tendency toward quiet reflection and seeing-things-from-the-other-fellow’s-point-of-view is seldom necessary.* You probably spent less time on that letter than your son spent assaulting another human being.
- It will take the girl your son assaulted much, much longer than twenty minutes to recover from this nightmare.
She will heal, gradually, because she is brave and strong and has the support of millions. She will go on to be a productive member of society. She has already inspired people around the world to stand up and be counted. She has proven herself to be compassionate and intelligent and wise beyond her years.
She has given a voice to anyone whose voice was stolen from them by people like you, with your casual, indifferent dismissal.
With your entitled, arrogant world view.
With your fancy lawyer.
With your silly little letter.
*Thank you Sir Terry for those words. I trust that you won’t have a problem with me using them here.