Friday, June 10, 2016

My thoughts about Brock Turner

 When two people are caught in the sad situation of Brock Turner and his rape victim, we can’t help but moan, groan, and worry about their futures. The victim statement of the woman Turned raped at Stanford has been widely distributed, praised by Vice-President Joe Biden, and gone viral on the net. It’s a powerful statement which, I think, comes from a position of strength. I wonder if this woman won’t go on to become a lifelong advocate for rape victims. We know nothing about her life and circumstances but somehow I feel she’ll make the best of this.

But what about Turner who has been vilified on the net and whose picture confronts us every time he goes on Facebook? We know a little more about him, and it’s not all good. His father’s statement is the clue we need.

I’m a fiction author, so I see things in scenes and true or not I can imagine scenes between that macho father and his son. The son looks from the photos to be much more timid that the dad, and I can imagine the dad urging his boy to buckle up, act like a man, get some action. Perhaps that was even a motivation between the rape—Brock proving himself to his father.

The next scene I see is the father castigating Brock after the event. The boy has ruined everything but most principally his life. He’s banned from swimming competitively in the US, when he apparently had Olympic hopes; he has to register as a sex offender. His life is essentially ruined by 20 minutes of “action.” The question in my mind is what will he do after he serves that ridiculously short jail term designed to keep him from being impacted by the trauma. (Did anyone worry about the impact on the victim?)

Brock Turner has essentially two choices: he can sink into despair and depression, fall back on his family, perhaps become alcohol or drug-addicted, and essentially fritter his life away on the excuse that he ruined it in one short episode.. Or he can pull himself up by the bootstraps, start small, and make the most of whatever he can salvage from his life. People have overcome even more horrendous circumstances, with grit, determination, and perseverance.

Somehow I hope Brock Turner does that. No matter how despicable what he did is—and it certainly is—I suspect he’s a nice kid caught in the web of circumstances that is college life and alcohol. Perhaps he too can become an advocate for rape victims and an active crusader against the plague of rapes that has come upon our culture…and our world.

I’m pulling for both these people. I think we as a village can do more than condemn—we can reach out in support and help them put their lives back together.

Call me Pollyanna?

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