When bad things happen to good rapists

Anxiety

Yesterday I wrote a piece for Psychology Today entitled ‘When bad things happen to good mothers.’ In it I argued that the mother of the little boy who climbed into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, resulting in the death of the gorilla, does not deserve the vitriol directed at her on social media. The outrage she inspired tells us more about us and what we wish to believe about parenting, than about her. The truth, which is very difficult for some people to acknowledge, is that accidents happen even when mothers are as vigilant as they can possibly be.

Today’s social media clamor is also about parenting. People are justifiably outraged about the reprehensible letter written by the father of a rapist begging leniency for his son. The convicted rapist, Brock Turner, a Stanford University student-athlete was caught assaulting an unconscious woman outside his fraternity. Two men who happened to be bicycling nearby stopped the assault and held Turner until the police arrived.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]He’s a good rapist; he only raped one woman and it didn’t even take that long![/pullquote]

Turner was convicted and received a startlingly light sentence (6 months in jail despite being eligible for a 14 year prison sentence). Last week, his victim released an eloquent statement on impact of her assault. This week, a Stanford University Law Professor who is friend of her family released a copy of the letter written to the judge by the rapist’s father. To call it repugnant doesn’t even begin to capture its outrageousness.

image

Apparently being convicted of rape has been very hard on Brock:

As it stands now, Brock’s life has been deeply altered forever by the events of Jan 17th and 18th. He will never be his happy go lucky self with that easy going personality and welcoming smile. His every waking minute is consumed with worry, anxiety, fear, and depression. You can see this in his face, the way he walks, his weakened voice, his lack of appetite.

His father doesn’t understand why Brock has to endure this. He’s a good rapist; he only raped one woman and it didn’t even take that long!

That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action our of his 20 plus years of life.

Actually, it’s not a steep price to pay for raping someone. A six month jail sentence is a small price to pay for the heinous act of rape.

Clearly this reflects what activists call “rape culture,” the casual dismissal of sexual assault as “boys will be boys” and “she was drunk so she deserved it.”

But I fear that there is more going on here. Is it possible that Turner’s father would have written the same letter if he had been convicted of drunken driving, possibly insisting that a prison sentence was a steep price to pay for only 30 seconds of action, running a stop light and killing another driver? I wonder if Turner’s father is the ultimate incarnation of the snowplow parent.

The “snowplow parent” is defined as a person who constantly forces obstacles out of their kids’ paths. They have their eye on the future success of their child, and anyone or anything that stands in their way has to be removed.

… Helicopter parents hover and micro-manage out of fear…

Snowplow parents may also micro-manage … but they do so with an eye on the future. They want to remove any pain or difficulties from their children’s paths so that their kids can succeed…

They are like the mother of an acquaintance of one my sons. When her daughter, a senior in high school, was found to have stolen an exam from a teacher’s computer, and was given a zero as a result, the mother threatened to sue the school for ruining the child’s chances of getting into a good college, and the school backed down.

They are like the parents who call professors when their children get a bad grade in law school or try to attend job interviews or negotiate for better pay on their children’s behalf.

They lose sight of the fact that the goal of parenting isn’t to raise a child with fabulous credentials; the goal is to raise a child with fabulous morals.

I don’t doubt that Dan Turner’s anguish over his son’s conviction and sentencing is entirely genuine. We hurt when our children hurt. But the job of a parent is NOT to beg sufferance for children’s illegal actions.

Turner’s father apparently believes that a bad thing happened TO a good rapist, his son.

But there are no good rapists and jail sentences for rape are not bad things that happen TO rapists, but well deserved punishments FOR rapists. We send people to jail for a variety of reasons: punishment, rehabilitation and deterrence for others thinking about committing the same crime. In this case, Turner and society can benefit from all three.

Brock Turner is an adult who committed a heinous adult crime. Parenting often means supporting our children, even our adult children, through the consequences of their actions, but it SHOULDN’T mean helping them avoid the consequences of their actions, particularly if their actions involve breaking the law and harming others.

While we should not vilify parents for accidents like the boy who climbed into the gorilla exhibit, it is entirely appropriate to vilify parents who excuse their child’s deliberate illegal action and beg for leniency in an effort to soothe his feelings and ensure his success.

  • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

    The truly horrifying thing is Brock Turner will spend more time in prison than 97% of rapists.

    http://jezebel.com/brock-turner-will-spend-more-time-in-jail-than-97-perce-1781032260

  • Anonymous

    Fortunately rapists aren’t treated so well in jail. Something tells me this guy is going to get some prison justice real soon.

    • Spiderpigmom

      Which is unacceptable. Rape is unacceptable. A prison sentence entails deprivation of liberty, not rape. Do I think Turner is a human shitstain? Absolutely. Does he deserve to get raped? No. Nobody deserves to get raped.

      • Anonymous

        No, it’s not. What he did was deplorable, the only crime I consider worse than murder. He won’t have daddy’s money as a shield in there. His attitude during the trial showed everyone that he’s completely unrepentant. Maybe this will fix that.

        • Anonymous

          I said prison justice.

          One of my first jobs was as a doctor in a large prison in the south. I came in to start my shift and a new inmate was brought in by the guards and he looked like hamburger meat. Seems that while he was talking with his wife/gf/so he admitted to her that he had forced himself on her juvenile son. The guy sitting in the cube next to him jumped on him and started whaling on him. Prisoners may be incarcerated but lots of them have mothers, sisters, daughters, etc.

          • Daleth

            I am virtually high-fiving the guy sitting in the cube next to him.

      • AllieFoyle

        ^Thank you. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but I’m sick of hearing people snicker gleefully about the idea of prison rape. Rape isn’t ok or funny anywhere, for anyone. What he did was horrible and deserves to be punished, but condoning or wishing rape upon someone, no matter how awful, just sickens me.

        • DelphiniumFalcon

          Wishing prison rape or any kind of physical violence? No. But the guy who threatened to assault me in the parking lot after I had to fire him for disgusting behavior and then was put in jail for sodomy of a child? I don’t want anything to happen to him physically. But I want him to know that even murderers and the worst of society think he’s the lowest of filth. Petty, yes, and probably makes me a bad person.

          • AllieFoyle

            It doesn’t make you a bad person. And I fully and totally understand feeling overcome with rage and wanting justice and revenge and every emotion that comes with being hurt by someone or being close to someone who was hurt by someone.

            What bothers me is this armchair vigilante idea that prison rape is acceptable and desirable and the idea that someone being raped should ever give people a sense of satisfaction or gleeful amusement. I personally find it really upsetting, partially because it feels like it diminishes the seriousness of rape when it’s something you can laugh about and wish on someone you despise, but also because the experience of rape is so horrible that I can’t stand the thought of wanting someone else to ever experience that, under any circumstances, and I can’t stand the thought of people wanting anyone to experience it either. It’s just how I feel — I’m not really telling you or anyone else how to feel.

        • An Actual Attorney

          Absolutely agree. Rape is never acceptable. One of my favorite organizations is Just Detention International, which fights sexual abuse behind bars.

          They have collected stories from people who have been through the experience, http://justdetention.org/story/
          Only click with tissues in large supply near by.

          • AllieFoyle

            Gut-wrenching stories. I’d never heard of that organization — thank you for sharing.

    • mishabear

      He’s apparently in protected [sic] custody. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3632096/Stanford-rapist-lied-victim-tried-dodge-prison-freed-TWO-MONTHS-early-soft-touch-jail-gets-cell.html (Yes, it’s the Daily Mail…but it weirdly has a lot of information not reported in the US media.)

  • Erin

    When I first read that letter I was left speechless.

    “These verdicts have broken and shattered him”.

    What does he think his son’s actions did.

    I was raped almost two decades ago and as a result of that, my life got knocked off track. Sure, I’m lucky, I got a good degree (not the 1st I was on course for though), I managed not to kill myself, I met a man who managed to convince me that not all men are violent abusive selfish bastards and on the surface I look “normal”.

    Underneath though, I live in a perpetual state of fear, fear that people will see through what I project and see me for the cowering terrified child that I am, that they’ll see me through his eyes. I break things a lot, favourite mugs, milk bottles in the supermarket, not because I’m careless but because I startle easily, because I’m jumpy when taken by surprise. Whether that’s a stranger brushing past me or my husband entering the kitchen quietly.

    I wake a lot at night, phantom hands around my throat, fighting the duvet before it murders me. I fall asleep again sobbing in my husband’s arms or I lie there, staring at the ceiling and wondering what I could have done differently.

    Worse is when we’re intimate and suddenly something happens, a redistribution of weight, an arm or hand catching in my hair and he’s there…looming out of the past in our bedroom.

    My son’s arrival, what should have been the most precious and important day of our lives…tainted by what he did to me.

    I never know when I’ll see something which slams me right back in the moment with his hand around my throat. The bruises he left bloomed and faded but their ghosts are with me always.

    I’m glad he’s depressed and anxious because that’s what rapists do their victims, they leach the happiness out of the world and leave it grey and tarnished. They leave you unable to eat, afraid of every little noise in the street because after that’s happened to you, after you’ve been violated it’s impossible to see the world the same ever again. It doesn’t matter how much you fight for your self worth, your bodily autonomy, you’ve seen the other side…the one in which you mean nothing, are worth nothing.

    My biggest fear is that my son will grow up to be a rapist.

    • Amazed

      But you don’t matter, Erin, don’t you see? The victim in Pig Junior’s case doesn’t matter either. There was no rape. Just some “action”, or, as Pig Senior clarified later, some sexual activity.

      It wasn’t enough for Pig Senior that the jury found his piglet guilty. Pig Junior didn’t commit rape and that’s the line Pig Senior will support till the end, blackening the victim’s character. They’re now appealing the verdict. Nothing spells out enormous remorse like appealing, don’t you think?

      The father’s letter was extremely meaningful, just in a way he didn’t expect. To him, his son is a tiny sweet baby still and he appeals for leniency for a small child. He didn’t say his son was a responsible young man who regretted his mistake and so on. He wanted babying for his little boy and got it. The rape victim doesn’t fit in this sad little tale, so he omits her. What she went through doesn’t matter.

      For all it is worth, I am sorry for what you’re still going through. I feel rage when I think of poor delicate rapists’ fweelwyings being spared and the no sympathy victims receive.

      • Erin

        Why would we receive sympathy when it’s our fault. Our fault for being female, for having long hair, for wearing skirts/t-shirts/trousers/winter coats, for being polite and saying “please” and “thankyou” when interacting with strangers, for smiling when someone holds a door open, our fault for breathing, for being teases, for asking for it, for deserving it, for wanting it. We’re the sirens who lure “nice” young men with prospects into committing terrible acts and then destroy them, sink their ships, ruin their lives, turn them into pigs…

        As for me, I’m getting there. Apparently hate is a great motivator.

        • Mishimoo

          Hate and spite are the best motivators. Anyone who says differently has led a very sheltered and privileged life.

  • Ayr

    Six months?! That’s all? No probation? No counselling? That is not nearly enough! My brother had three DUI’s and was forced to go through three years of counseling, probation, and AA meetings, not to mention the 12 month house arrest that only allowed him to go to work, church, and doctor’s appointments. This guy should get at least that for raping a girl.

    • Dr Kitty

      The man who was driving the vehicle that killed my father-in-law served 6 months in prison.

      He plead guilty at the very last minute and apologised, which is why the judge was able to give such a lenient sentence.

      It wasn’t about the jail time- my husband’s family wanted answers. Did he deliberately drive head on into oncoming traffic? Was he on a phone or otherwise distracted?
      Why did he spend so much time trying to blame my father-in-law for an accident he knew he caused?

      He only changed his plea when it because clear his own experts could find no way to get the physics to agree with his story that it was my father-in-law’s car that had crossed into oncoming traffic, and an eyewitness would be willing to travel back from Australia to testify for the prosecution that it was him who drove into my father in law’s car.

      It happens a lot.
      People really think they can get away with things…right up until they don’t.

      • Ayr

        I’m so sorry to hear that about your father-in-law, that guy should have received more than just six months for vehicular man slaughter whether he plead guilty or not. It amazes me how lenient the judicial system has become, I find it sad. It is no wonder that people do stupid stuff like that and feel they can get away with it, there are no consequences anymore.

    • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

      Actually, I think he only has to serve 3 out of 6.

  • ladyloki

    I wonder what this asshole’s reaction would be if that was his daughter that has gotten raped?

  • Well, part of the problem is that there are “good rapists”. Rapists who are, in other parts of their lives, genuinely nice people who will let you borrow notes, or watch your kid (just watch, nothing bad), or let you cry on their shoulder, or whatever. Rapists aren’t monsters; they are people who feel they are owed sex and don’t give a shit about the harm they do to their victims when they take it.
    Rape is an extremely serious crime. It should be punished as such. But no, calling rapists monsters lets them off too easily. Monsters don’t know better. Rapists are people, and they damn well ought to know better.

    • Ennis Demeter

      You’re right. That’s why when people make that stupid joke about getting women to sign consent form to have sex, my response always is: if you really don’t understand what we are talking about here, then yes, go ahead and get consent forms. For a certain kind of man, and I think it’s very hard to tell who they are, maybe fear of being unjustly accused is protective. And I want NOBODY to be unjustly accused. I just want the suffering and the never ending fear these individuals cause all of us to subside one day.

      • Roadstergal

        Men should not fear being accused of rape. They should fear raping someone. They should be afraid that they are doing something the other person doesn’t want. But it’s the ‘accusation’ that matters. Again, the only thing the dad thinks the kid did wrong was get caught.

        • Men should not fear being accused of rape

          This is complete nonsense.
          While false rape allegations are extremely rare, they do happen and it’s important to never put yourself in a compromising position.
          For example, I would never drive a drunk female friend home on her own. I’d either get a friend to come with us

          or put her in a cab.

          • Roadstergal

            Do you trust yourself to drive someone with diminished capacity home and drop her off, without penetrating her? If so, you don’t need to worry about being accused of rape. If you do not trust yourself to drive someone with diminished capacity home and drop her off without penetrating her, I would say that worrying about being accused of rape rather than worrying about penetrating someone without clear consent is very misplaced priorities.

            How is this complete nonsense?

          • If so, you don’t need to worry about being accused of rape

            Do you actually believe this?
            A friend of a friend: http://goo.gl/ffRjS6

            I would say that worrying about being accused of rape rather than worrying about penetrating someone without clear consent

            Did you even read what I wrote?
            I’m talking about being careful with women you have no sexual contact with, especially when you don’t know them that well.

            misplaced priorities

            Sure, this is a fairly low risk and there are much higher priorities, but even a baseless accusation of impropriety will ruin your life. We all do what we can to mitigate risk.

          • Who?

            I don’t think it’s unreasonable for anyone to take steps they feel are necessary to protect themselves.

            I’m not sure who you’d choose for a chaperone in the circumstances you describe. Who would be more believable than you would be by yourself, in a situation where there had been no sexual contact?

            Corroboration of your story, and safety in numbers is what you are talking about and I understand the impulse.

          • I’m not sure who you’d choose for a chaperone in the circumstances you describe

            Someone either female or gay.
            A friend suggested using a dashcam instead although that’s kinda creepy in its own way.

          • Who?

            Your carefully chosen corroborating angel might not carry as much weight with the police or judge as you think. Are they your friend, not your drunken charge’s?

            The recording-assuming you record the entire interaction from leaving the event to dropoff, and recording without consent is lawful in your jurisdiction-might help.

            I don’t disagree with your impulse, but believe it’s not easy to reliably indulge.

            In your shoes, with your concerns, I’d put her in a taxi and pay the (female, specified when ordering) driver in advance.

      • Squillo

        Indeed. My 14-year-old autistic son understands that it’s not ok to have sex with (read: rape) someone who is very drunk. I made sure of that by having an explicit conversation with him about consent about a year ago, and told him that if he was ever at all unsure, he should stop and wait for another time when everyone was sober. I would have had the same conversation with a typically developing child, but I thought it was particularly important for him, given that he sometimes has trouble understanding social cues. My “developmentally disabled” kid thought it was nuts that anyone would consider having sex with someone who was really drunk.

    • Inmara

      From your comment I’ll make a wild guess that you have read this article, but I think others will find it worth reading too http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2016/03/17/sex-offenders-can-be-nice-guys-how-making-jared-fogle-a-monster-encourages-abusers/

      • I have, but I’ve read a number of other things as well along the same lines. Greta Cristina (FTB) and Libby Anne (LJF at Patheos) have also written about this.

  • Amy M

    Would the dad be as supportive if his son had snuck into an ICU and raped a coma patient? What would it take to make this father (and son) understand what rape is, and that it is a crime? What if someone roofied this boy in jail and rapes him there? If that happened, the criminal would already be in jail, so the extra 20 minutes of crime would be sort of pre-paid, no?

    • AirPlant

      Yeah, but then the victim would be a person…

    • Ennis Demeter

      When I was in college, 6 members of a fraternity came forward and told the police that one of their members had anally raped them when they were too drunk to defend themselves. NO ONE ever so much as whispered the idea that they “should have been taking responsibility for their own actions” or “what did they expect, getting black out drunk at a frat party”, or “how do they know they didn’t consent, if they were so drunk?” or “if the attacker was drunk too, how do we know who raped whom?”.

    • J.

      Unfortunately, he would have argued against punishment for that as well, on the grounds that the victim wasn’t awake and thus didn’t suffer.

      • AirPlant

        you know those boyish pranks! Really who didn’t rape a coma patient back in the day?

      • Ennis Demeter

        I know of a bench trial (no jury) in which the victim was so drunk that immediately after the rapist was caught in the apartment, the police, her roommates and paramedics were unable to rouse her, and she didn’t wake up until hours later. She also was put to bed by her roommates totally unconscious. The judge ruled that since she didn’t remember and since no one was in the room for the few minutes the rapist was in there with her, raping her, there is no way to know whether she woke up from her unconscious state and consented to sex with this man she barely knew from work (who had followed them all home). For some people, women are just un-rapeable.

        • Amy M

          Ugh, that’s gross. What the hell is wrong with people? (the ones who commit rape and the jackasses who excuse them)

    • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

      I have a feeling this dad is one of those “ride or die” parents. They don’t give a flying fLick what their kids does. They’re going to deny, cover up, excuse, and protect them no matter what.

  • Charybdis

    I wonder how feasible it is to try and develop something that a female can wear internally that would either help identify the rapist by marking him somehow. With dye (UV or regular) or with a cut, blister or similar.

    Something like a Diva cup with a tiny dye pack (like banks use), or a sharp needle/blade that can injure the penis in a particular way (not permanently, just something to show that the penis had been someplace it wasn’t supposed to be). Maybe something like a Nuvaring with prongs on it (like a dog’s pinch collar or a spiked collar) It would have to be safe for the woman to insert and remove (for her safety as well as for consensual sex), but it would mark the rapist in such a way that the act could not be explained away.

    Just a weird thought that popped into my head.

    • LeighW
    • Roadstergal

      If it shows up on a friend/acquaintance – a very common rape scenario – they’re just going to say that the woman forgot to take it out, or left it in as a lark. Just like what they do currently, even with DNA evidence. Or get her drunk enough for the rapist to take it out.

      And it’s telling that we live in a world where we’re seriously considering how to put guard dogs on your vagina if you’re considering stepping outside of the house.

      • MaineJen

        Ever see “The Life of David Gale?” That movie exemplifies why even DNA evidence is not convincing enough for some people.

      • guest

        This. There have been a variety of different rape prevention/detection products floated, and none of them address the real problem.

        • Charybdis

          True, but until the real problem IS addressed, you have to treat the symptoms.

          I don’t think that realizing that there is danger out there and proactively arming yourself with weapons/safety devices is not okay. You will take appropriate precautions when entering into a new, unfamiliar situation, like traveling or going to a club,, hell, even when doing something familiar like going to the store.

          If I put in my DIck Chomper Vaginal Guard before I go out clubbing or to a concert doesn’t mean that I *:expect* to get raped, it means I’m taking some safety precautions because I’m going to be in a potentially unsafe environment. And I won’t feel sorry for anyone who gets their penis, finger, tongue, etc impaled, cut, dyed or whatever by the Dick Chomper Vaginal Guard if they have penetrated me whilst I was drunk, stoned, unconscious or conked over the head and dragged into an alley.

          Because if I HAD given consent for sex, I would have removed the Dick Chomper Vaginal Guard prior to any activity. Perhaps if men knew women had such devices available to them and they were getting used regularly, it *might* cause them to think twice.

          Because who wants to go to the hospital to get a Dick Chomper Vaginal Guard removed by a doctor?

          • guest

            I didn’t say it wasn’t okay. It’s just that none of the devices invented so far have been particularly helpful.

          • Siri

            You don’t think the sudden infliction of pain and fear would increase the likelihood of further violence? Or that the rapist would feel obliged to kill you so you couldn’t testify against him?

          • Daleth

            Cutting a guy while he’s inside you seems like a good way to get AIDS, among other diseases.

          • Charybdis

            How many rapists wear condoms? You have a chance of catching diseases anyway.

          • Daleth

            Some actually do. There was a serial rapist in my home town when I was in grad school who wore one, specifically to avoid leaving DNA evidence. (He was caught anyway.)

            And I’ll leave this one for the medical folks to confirm, but my guess is you’ll catch AIDS, hepatitis, etc. more easily from direct contact with someone’s blood than from direct contact with their sperm.

          • Inmara

            I think that’s one of the main concerns regarding such devices (at least it would be for me personally). Also, if woman warns assaulter that she has a vaginal guarding device, he could force her to remove it by physically hurting her, and then the whole scenario gets worse. OTOH, it would scare off guys who are not dead set of raping someone, just entitled, drunk and not understanding what a consent is. No simple solutions here.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            Or if the woman warns her assaulted that she has a vaginal guarding device, he may still assault her orally or anally.

          • Charybdis

            Why would you warn him that you had one?

    • Monkey Professor for a Head

      I seem to remember reading about a similar product a few years back. It was like a female condom but lined with barbs on the inside. Basically it would painfully adhere to a penis, stopping the rape and the rapist would need to get medical attention to have it removed.

      I can see people trying to spin it round unfortunately. “If you were worried about rape, why did you go out at all?”, “bitter man hating woman who seduced the guy in order to maim him and then falsely cry rape”, that kind of thing.

      • Roadstergal

        Lawsuits. Personal damages. Pain and suffering. (For the penile injury, of course, not for the rape victim. We all know the latter gets bupkis.)

        • Charybdis

          Like those people who shoot an intruder who has broken into their home and the intruder sues the shooter for personal damages, pain and suffering, etc because the homeowner has somehow violated their rights.

          • mishabear

            I think this only happens in the UK…. In the US, homeowner shoots an intruder is pretty much always okayed as self defense.

    • Anti-rape condoms exist. Sort of. They appear to be a legitimate product, but they never went into widespread circulation (if they were ever produced beyond a prototype).

      Basically, they’re a condom with teeth. If a woman is raped, the teeth hook into the penis and must be surgically removed. Presumably, if a man walks into an ER with this on his penis, the authorities will be called and he will be arrested after it is removed.

  • Amazed

    Daddy T. is at it again! He clarified his position thusly, “My words have been misinterpreted by people,” he said. “What I meant
    with that comment is a 20-minute period of time. I was not referring to
    sexual activity by the word ‘action.’ It was an unfortunate choice of
    words and I did not mean to be disrespectful or offensive to anyone.”

    Just sexual activity, you see. Just your average, run-of-the-mill sex.

    Oh yes, Brock was victim. I mean, having a piece of garbage like this one for a father, how could he not be? He was taught entitlement since before he could walk.

    The funny thing is, I can see why Pig Senior would write such a letter. Pig Junior is his sweet little baybeeee, after all. I can see why he’d want to plead for leniency. But there was a way to do it without invoking his derision of the victim that he later confirmed with his clarification. But he inadvertently showed who Pig Junior learned his morals from. And that’s what makes him Pig Senior.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      The funny thing is, I can see why Pig Senior would write such a letter. Pig Junior is his sweet little baybeeee, after all. I can see why he’d want to plead for leniency.

      As I said below, his letter should have been taken by the court for what it’s worth – nothing.

      • Amazed

        Indeed. But the judge clearly sentenced Pig Junior for what daddy insists Piglet has done – being a little naughty, sexually active, a little tipsy. Not, say, an attempted rape. After all, judge is a former Stanford swimmer himself and clearly shared daddy’s opinion that being a Stanford swimmer just gives you a pass over everything.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Yep, and IMO that is where the failure happened. Not that the father wrote a letter of support – delusional and offensive, even, but that the judge gave it any bearing.

    • Azuran

      I didn’t even take his use of the word ‘action’ as meaning sexual activity. I interpreted it as meaning ‘a period of time’ the very first time I read the new. Still didn’t change at all how stupid and offensive that comment was.
      Murder with a gun takes less than a second. The amount of time a crime takes is no indication of it’s severity or the impact it can leave on the victim.

    • Roadstergal

      Yea, he keeps digging deeper into ‘I don’t have the slightest clue what consent means, so why do you expect my son to?’

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      Hey, it would take waaaaaaay less than 20 minutes to shoot somebody in the head or stab them a few dozen times. Why should they pay such a steep price for just a few seconds/minutes of murderous activity? See, because what really matters here is how long it takes to commit the crime.

      • Roadstergal

        Poor John Wilkes Booth. His life was ruined and cut short over far less than 20 minutes of action!

  • Megan

    So per the judge’s and Dad’s logic, if someone holds a gun to someone’s chest and shoots and murders them, they should serve just under 39 seconds (38.88 to be exact) in prison?*

    *Presuming 20 minutes of “action” equals 6 months in jail and the exiting speed of a bullet from a handgun of 1000 ft/s (which obviously varies tremendously by gun type, ammo type, etc)

  • AirPlant

    With the Bernie Bro’s blowing up my newsfeed and this rape case getting so much spotlight it kind of feels like my entire life has become a chorus of white dudes wailing about how life isn’t fair when they don’t get what they want.

    • MaineJen

      A. Freaking. Men.

    • Roadstergal

      Wonkette is the only thing keeping me sane.

      • AirPlant

        My wonderful husband keeps sending me photos of #sadbros. He completes me.

        • Roadstergal

          Is that a hashtag now? I might have to dust off my Twitter…

          Seriously, I am so tired of people lecturing me on how I am Not Informed And Not A Good Feminist because I’m voting for Hillz. They can shut up any time, thanks. I’ve been voting for longer than some of them have been out of diapers.

          • AirPlant

            it is a hashtag in our hearts. We both have a soft spot for benign Schmitt style bros and their various emotions.

          • Petticoat Philosopher

            Well, I’m tired of being told that I’m uninformed and a terrible feminist because I voted for Bernie and not Hillary. It would be nice if we could all agree that feminists can come to different conclusions about which candidate in the same damn party to support (when both are pro-choice, pro-equal pay etc.) without one group being Traitor to Feminism who don’t understand anything about anything. I’m ready for the people in both camps who can’t wrap their minds around this idea to shut up and go somewhere else for a while.

          • Oh gods, yes, it goes both ways. And it’s stupid both ways.
            I happened to vote for Hillary, but the “you can’t be a Real Feminist (TM) unless you vote for her” bullshit was nearly enough to change my mind.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            You mean that women are not a homogenous group who all share exactly the same opinions? Next you’ll be saying that women are actual people with their own thoughts and feelings and stuff!

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            I voted for Bernie. Hell, I contributed to Bernie’s campaign. Then he threw women under the bus in Nevada and gunned the motor. Sorry, but the bit about how we have to understand that people are angry (and therefore it’s okay to threaten a convention official so badly that she couldn’t go to the bathroom without an escort) was a complete deal breaker for me. No more white male “progressives” for me.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            I should add that the above is just how I looked at the situation. It is not the One True Way for Feminists or any other crap like that and I will not respect anyone less for continuing to support Sanders.

  • MaineJen

    “Disgusted” does not begin to describe my feelings about this whole case. The victim’s statement is powerful and she is clearly a strong, level-headed young woman…the rapist and his father clearly do NOT understand the gravity of his crime. I’m just shaking my head…and I’m more determined than ever to raise my son to be the kind of man who would never, never think of doing this to another human being.

    We MUST teach our sons to be better than this.

    • Fleur

      I don’t have sons but I’m already thinking about ways that I can raise my daughter to support other women and not shame them for being victims. I know it’s generally internalized misogyny talking but I’ve heard some truly toxic victim-blaming from women who were old enough to know better (heck, I’ve heard women blame fricking pre-teen murder victims for being “precocious” and dressing “slutty”). That kind of thing really matters because how can women and girls ever talk about their experiences if even their closest female friends and family members can’t be relied on not to judge them?

      By way of example, I had a minor bad experience when I was studying in France as a teenager. I was walking home with another girl at around midnight when a completely naked man stepped out of an alleyway and proceeded to follow us for over half an hour until we got back to the student halls. At one point, we thought we’d lost him but then he slid out from between two parked cars a few metres behind us, so we just ran. Luckily, I believe with hindsight that his particular “kick” came from frightening young women out of their wits and he had no intention of touching us, but it took me years to realise that. When we told the local police, they told us, quite casually, that they were aware of the guy. There was no follow-up – actually, there was more follow-up from the police when a male student in our halls stole a bloody traffic cone.

      The thing is, I told a couple of female friends and their reaction was “well, that’s what happens if you walk home alone”. I wasn’t even walking home alone – I was walking a female acquaintance back to halls because she was a little drunk and none of her mates seemed worried about whether she got back ok. Two women walking together for safety are still assumed to be blame-worthy because they didn’t have a man with them. (Yet if I’d walked back with a man and my protector had raped or assaulted me, I’d still have been “asking for it” because walking home from the pub with a man somehow amounts to consent.) Fifteen years on, I’m still frightened of the dark and areas with too many parked cars, and the moment when the guy reappeared on the path behind me is an incredibly vivid memory. However, I’ve only ever told people the story as a supposedly hilarious anecdote, because the first reactions that I got made me so ashamed and if I don’t admit that the incident hurt me then I can’t beat myself up for bringing it on myself.

      • Inmara

        You’re spot on about women being seasoned victim blamers, but I think that underlying reason (as for all victim blaming) is not so much misoginy specifically but rather so called just world theory – people believe that bad things happen to bad persons (or that they somehow deserved it) so if you’re good person and behave good, bad things won’t happen to you. For some, to admit that bad things happen randomly to anyone (and can happen to them) is just too much to bear.

        • Fleur

          Fair point. I imagine that the “just world” mentality played a big part in Turner’s friend Leslie’s decision to write that moronic letter. If she admits that he’s a “real” rapist, not some total sweetheart led astray by booze and trashy women, then she’ll have to accept that she was potentially in terrible danger every time she socialised with him in high school. And that, if her ability to judge character was flawed back then, then it could be just as flawed now, and there might be some predator in her current circle of friends disguised as a sweet, gentle guy.

  • Linden

    “That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action our of his 20 plus years of life.”
    While we should not vilify parents for *accidents*, I think the father’s comment may indicate the way Brock grew up to be was no accident.
    I’d be sickened and devastated if my son grew up to assault or rape someone. The father sees it as “20 minutes of action” That’s deeply gross and wrong, and may go some way in explaining the utter contempt for women you’d have to have, to do what their son did.

    • DelphiniumFalcon

      Yeaaaaah if I were a guy and did something like his I have no doubt in my mind that my dad would have marched me to jail himself and thrown away the key for a while. He would have been beyond livid.

    • Charybdis

      An accident is “I left the side gate open while taking out the trash and the dog got out” or “I swerved to miss an object in the road, overcorrected and hit a tree” or “I was hitting tennis balls against the garage, one bounced weird and broke Mrs. Jones’ front window”. You know, stuff like that; a minor mental slip or unfortunate outcome.

      I wonder which part was the “accident”? Removing her underwear? Pulling up her dress? Grinding her into the dirt and pine needles behind the dumpster? Inserting his dirty, grubby fingers into her vagina, leaving dirt, debris and abrasions? Where *exactly* was the accident?

      I’m surprised the father hasn’t made some statement bashing the two graduate students who came across the “accident scene”, chased and held the perpetrator until the police got there. I mean, if it wasn’t for them, his son would still be a scholarship student (Swimming! Look at his times!!) at Stanford and this whole ugly incident would not have been an issue for his son. “Why did you feel it necessary to check into what was happening behind the dumpster?” “Was it any of your business?” “What caused you to poke into a dark, semi-private space to see what was going on?” “Were you invited into the space?” “What were you doing bicycling at midnight?” “Why were you cycling THERE?” “Had you been drinking that evening?” “Could you have misunderstood what appeared to be happening?” “How good is your English (they were Swedish, if I remember correctly)?” And so on.

      Because if it hadn’t been for those meddling Swedes, NONE of this would be happening now. *eyeroll*

    • Sean Jungian

      “I’d be sickened and devastated if my son grew up to assault or rape someone.”

      Same here. Hopefully my blatant feminism and continual harping on MUTUAL enthusiastic consent will serve him well.

  • Amazed

    I’m coming from stanforddaily.com. Looks like the Turner slugs have activated all of their acquaintances to write defending their slug of a son. Rage inducing.

    • Who?

      I wonder how many of the ‘nice guy having a bad day’ crowd would want their daughters socialising with him in future?

  • Irène Delse

    I didn’t know the “snowplough parents” but it seems terribly apt. No wonder this leads to irresponsible adults down the road.

    • Sean Jungian

      Totally sounds like that “affluenza” fellow and his mother.

  • This is simply the result of political correctness gone mad. All moral values are inverted.

    • Mattie

      I don’t think so? Rape has consistently been under-reported, under-punished and viewed as the victim’s fault. The only ‘new’ aspect of this case is the public outcry.

      • Irène Delse

        I don’t know? I read that as sarcasm.

        • Mattie

          Fair haha apologies Antigonos if that was sarcasm, no offence meant 🙂

    • MaineJen

      …no, political correctness would have given this man the sentence he deserved.

  • Amazed

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Junior couldn’t process the idea of consent. Being raised by Senior, it’s probably never entered his mind. The judge, though, is a close second to the two assholes who sentenced here a driver who killed a young woman on a zebra crossing driving with speed that was 2 times over the limit because, you see, she didn’t look around before crossing, so she was a fellow perpetrator in her own death. If only she had looked, she would have seen our poor driver and not tried to cross. She is to blame as well, judges decided. (And yes, there were those on the internet who pointed out that the driver was sober while the victim was not. What the hell?)

    The judge in this good rapist case deserves a little action, of the kind the poor rapist engaged in.

    • Charybdis

      I thought pedestrians had the right of way in marked crosswalks…..?

      • Amazed

        Not in this case. You see, she should have looked left and right, seen the asshole and not stepped on the crosswalk. That’s what one of the friends she was with did and she lived. Clearly, the victim didn’t look *snark* Because you know, it isn’t possible to look and not see, especially at night. That just never happens.

        Of course, any of that should have mattered because she was on a marked crosswalk and the fuckard was driving 2 times faster than the limit, so poor boy only got 2,5 years.

        Assholes, all of them. The only one who got some sense was the third judge who said that we should not expect of pedestrians to make such judgments because their age or health might not allow for it.

        It was a freaking last instance as well. In two years, he’s scot free.

      • guest

        It depends on the state.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Promiscuous sex? WTF? Somebody needs to tell Daddy Dearest that “promiscuous sex,” is a term with a meaning and that meaning is not “forces sex on unconscious people.” Gosh, I can’t imagine how this little shit ended up who he is being raised by that guy!

    Who wants to bet that the only difference between Junior and Senior is that Senior never got caught?

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      I’m not taking that bet, Petticoat Philosopher, since you’re almost certainly correct. My only caveat is that it’s possible that Senior was caught and got off with even fewer consequences and that that is part of the reason why he thinks Junior has it tough.

      • Roadstergal

        I disagree somewhat – I think that Junior and Senior both have friends who have taken advantage of drunk girls to fuck them without their consent, and never ‘got caught’ or faced any consequences at all, as is more often the way these things go.

        It’s the way this would have gone, if not for the bicycle guys and this woman’s determination to see this through (rape trials are the WORST).

        • Squillo

          Exactly. The “unfortunate result” of binge drinking that Turner Sr. refers to isn’t the rape. It’s that his son was so drunk he didn’t take enough care to make sure he wouldn’t be caught in the act.

        • Monkey Professor for a Head

          And the creepy thing is, that there are probably multiple similar rapists out there who don’t consider themselves to be rapists.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        Yeah, depends on how you define “caught, ” I guess. If his frat brothers walked in and walked back out and then gave him a congratulatory slap on the back later for scoring with that dumb drunk chick, is it really being “caught?”

        Why couldn’t his son have been “caught,” by guys like that instead of some spoilsports who actually think that sexually penetrating an unconscious woman is wrong? Bad luck!

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      This is something I am not clear about. The son is going on a mission to earn of the dangers of drinking and promiscuous sex.

      Where is the promiscuity in this? Who is he calling promiscuous? Because he didn’t know the victim. And he was not charged nor convicted of promiscuity.

      If he wants to send a message, how about entitlement? How some people think they can do whatever they want.

      Personally, I’d like to get an end to the concept of “take advantage of” him or her as a euphemism for sex.

      That would so much better reflect the problem with what he did.

      Promiscuity? What bullshit.

      • Charybdis

        That’s an easy out: Drinking + people who are not virgins = promiscuity problem. ‘Cause alcohol lowers your inhibitions, so you are more likely to engage in sexual activity when drunk if you are *used* to having sex.

        Avoids the whole “rape” label. Makes it tamer and reframes it as an “alcohol and lack of abstinence until marriage” issue that plays better to the masses.

        Dude needs to do a “Walk of Shame” with Septa Unella across the entire Stanford campus. Or the entire country, really, so he can feel a fraction of the ordeal the victim has been through: stripped naked, everything about you called into question and judged, feeling as if you have no control and probably wanting to die of the mortification of having everything stripped from you in a public fashion. Get stared at, whispered about, labelled as a monster, have people ridicule and berate you, etc.

        I’d buy a seat on the front row and bring rotten, slimy things to throw at him.

      • guest

        My take on that is that HE was promiscuous, and that’s he’s going to warn others about how it can lead to your life being ruined with false accusations of rape.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Probably.

          Of course, the problem is that he was convicted, so his pretense of being the victim of a bad lifestyle is merely that, pretense.

          As I said below, the problem is that the probation officers and judge fall for that.

          • guest

            Yep.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        This is what rape culture is all about. The promiscuous culture made him do it! It serves the purposes of men who want to rape with impunity (or make sure their sons can) to blur the lines between rape and other forms of sexual activity that aren’t considered strictly respectable by the standards of Traditional Values(TM). I mean, hey, kids all together getting drunk at a party, many of whom have undoubtedly had sex before with someone to whom they aren’t married, maybe even several people! I mean, sooner or later people’s orifices are gonna get penetrated against their will, right? It’s just what happens! What can you expect with all this lax morality everywhere!

        I also hate “take advantage of.” It’s no accident that it’s used as both a euphemism for sex and also for rape. I think it rests on the idea that women aren’t really sexual beings and only ever have sex because men trick them into it with shiny things or promises of commitment (that they won’t keep because boys will be boys, of course) so they’re always being “taken advantage of.” If they’re, say, unconscious, or telling you to stop well, hey, I guess just slightly more advantage is being taken of them. But really, it’s all the same.

        • Roadstergal

          “Taking advantage of” also has the implication of something that was out there that you made use of. Hey, I took advantage of the 2-for-1 deal on Barefoot wine at Safeway, and also that drunk girl.

      • AllieFoyle

        I know. It’s sickening how neither he nor his son have acknowledged the suffering inflicted on the woman Turner raped. We’re supposed to have sympathy that he’s off his snacks or whatever, but meanwhile what is she going though? I don’t get the sense that they have any awareness or concern for the harm done to her at all.

        And trying to spin it as an issue of alcohol and promiscuity? No. The issue is sexual assault. The only thing Brock Turner can possibly teach people here is that violating another person’s body causes serious life-alterning harm and is never acceptable. Saying it has anything at all to do with alcohol or promiscuity is shifting the blame to the victim, just outrageous.

  • Ennis Demeter

    The thing is, it worked. It’s pretty clear that there is a pervasive belief that rape isn’t a real crime. Maybe if it’s a home invasion and involves a weapon or a kidnapping, but the hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits and the actions of this judge tell us loudly and clearly: we women are on our own.

    • CSN0116

      Yep, the vocal stance regarding rape culture that has gained much-deserved attention and support is nice and all – but bold example after bold example continue to counter its power and influence. I have four daughters. They will be taught that while they in no way deserve to be violated for any drunken stupor or other reason, they are constant prey for just that given the current climate. They will be taught to act accordingly.

      • J.B.

        Yes, but but but…the “weakest” for lack of a better word in a group will always be targeted. So the drunk one, or if none is drunk, the one who doesn’t have backup, or whatever the case may be. Some sororities say “never leave a sister behind” but that is the language of war and you can’t guard against everything anyway. Constantly feeling like we’re in the middle of a war and THAT’S OKAY is the thing that drives me craziest about “we just need more guns” after every tragedy.

        I don’t know I can’t really disagree with you but I hate that this seems to be the world. And I think the dad’s arguments are common among a certain group of elite high schools (more concentrated at least than elite colleges) and believe me it is clear what the expectations for wives are in that world.

        • Ennis Demeter

          I always say that I teach my daughter to be careful, but I don’t want the non-careful girls to be raped, either. Trusting the wrong person or having too much to drink aren’t crimes. And it’s very easy to both when you are very young.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Yes, this exactly. My teaching my daughter to be careful for her personal safety–if your eyes leave your drink, don’t drink it; drinking to excess can translate to bad things happening; if you’re studying at the library at 3 AM, there’s nothing uncool about asking the campus police/safe ride service for a ride back to your dorm, etc–doesn’t mean I want another girl to get raped or that I think for a second that a) rape is excusable behavior or b) that a victim who was raped was responsible for that in any way; it means I don’t want my daughter to be, and that I want her to be aware of the potential risks of certain decisions. (For that matter, I’ll be teaching my sons the same general thing re drinking and the like, because there have been guys out there whose idiot friends have thought it was funny to spike their drinks with who-knows-what and then watch them do stuff they’d never do when not under the influence, and also, homosexual rape does happen, even if it’s not talked about much.)
            I mean, I’ll also teach her (she’s 2, so it’s a tad early yet 😉 ) about the dangers of even consensual but unprotected sex with high numbers of partners; that doesn’t mean that I think she’d “deserve” HIV/HPV/whatever if she came to me and said, “Mom, I have *insert STD here* and I’m scared.”

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

            Except it may be the pizza delivery person, or the security guard, or a professor who knows the student won’t be believed, or someone who lives in the same dorm. It’s not always or even usually a stranger or new acquaintance, teaching people just “stranger danger” is a mistake.

          • Chi

            In the majority of rape cases, the victim knows their rapist personally. The men preying on women in dark alleys is the exception rather than the rule.

            Stranger danger is a mistake. What we need to teach all our children is how to recognize the signs of emotional manipulation. The little shifts of power that might lead up to a rape.

            And of course the fact that they have a right to their own body and if someone touches them without their consent and in a place they’re not comfortable with, to tell someone and get help.

            Yes, false accusations happen. But unfortunately it is our treatment of sexual assault victims that prohibits them from coming forward. Look what happened to this poor woman, the Turners dragged her name through the mud in order to spin it that it was all her fault.

            It’s disgusting.

      • Who?

        I think it has to be more nuanced than that. Everyone needs to be savvy about their safety-young women and young men. And a big part of that is holding each other responsible for their behaviour: so not putting up with boys who behave in ways that make girls feel uncomfortable and pulling girls up if they aren’t being mindful of their own safety ie getting passing out drunk. And not putting up with alcohol or drug fuelled violence. These can be hard conversations to have, and I’ve seen friendships fall apart over such behaviour.

        There are a particular group of young men who come out of a couple of private schools in this city whose treatment of young women is atrocious. Not all the graduates, but a group, and most years. My son and his mates kept away from them, and a few years later my daughter had a short and turbulent relationship with one of them, culminating in her dumping him after he called her an abusive name in front of a group of her friends, male and female. He thought he was being intimate and funny, apparently. He didn’t cope well at all with it.

        Friends supporting each other, and those social signals, are so important.

        • Ennis Demeter

          The way we speak about girls being mindful of their own safety is really disturbing, though, when you think about it. We have to teach our daughters to be like gazelles at the watering hole, and that even places that seem safe are full of danger. It goes way beyond not hitchhiking or avoiding dark parking lots, it’s seeing their own friends and peers as potential attackers. I KNOW that judge was lenient because he thinks that this rape was something he could imagine someone like himself doing. Compare that to the horror of the victim as described in her impact statement. It’s a Grand Canyon of difference in perception of the crime. I heard a podcast once where a victim of a rape under very similar circumstances said we have to make people understand that it’s on the level of deliberately breaking someone’s leg with a baseball bat or running someone over with your car. It’s not trivial just because so many men do it.

          • Who?

            I think you’re right, the judge saw a slippery slope with himself somewhere on it.

            That said, I don’t see the bigger picture as a gender issue particularly. And no gazelles. I find it wonderful that we can say to all our children-take responsibility for yourself. Know who you are with. Own your choices. You are entitled to be safe, take pride in being savvy about your decisions. Be a grownup. It’s good to think ahead and plan how you will get home, and who you will leave with.

            I had fear drummed into me as a young woman, and I felt I was always at risk. My kids and their friends know they are entitled to be safe, and can always call for help and be heard. They are confident about taking open steps to support being safe, rather than coming at it from a position of expecting to be a victim.

            This young man saw no risk for himself in this adventure-he probably didn’t imagine he would ever be challenged. When he was, he hoped to successfully claim she consented, and that failed. Perhaps if he’d been a little more risk averse, he might have not made the choices he did.

          • Ennis Demeter

            Beware comforting theories. It’s soothing to think this isn’t really a gender issue, but when we have to teach women that going to a party and being among friends can lead to violent assault, we have to acknowledge that there is a low grade terrorizing (or not so low grade) of women and girls going on that men don’t experience.

      • MaineJen

        No. It is not your job to teach your daughters to be gazelles. It is OUR job…those of us raising sons…to teach our sons not to be predators.

        • Roadstergal

          Someone posted a meme to Facebook a little while back, the gist of which was ‘when you teach your daughters these little ‘strategies’ around not drinking/walking with friends/etc, you’re telling them ‘make sure he rapes the _other_ girl.”

          • Mel

            I have problems with that meme.

            Teaching young people how to be safe in situations where predators may be present ISN’T the same as condoning attacks by predators. It’s not even in the same ballpark.

            That would be the same as telling parents of minority children that teaching them how to behave during traffic stops to minimize the chances of being arrested by a racist cop is the same as telling the kids “make sure the cop arrests another minority kid”.

            To me, it feels like a backhanded way of blaming women for rape culture. According to this meme, teaching women situational awareness is supporting rape culture. I can’t buy the idea that not teaching our daughters (and sons!) situational awareness will instantly resolve rape culture.

            The truth is that we have to live in this current reality while working for a better one.

            There’s no contradiction in teaching that rape is always wrong AND that potential rapists tend to pick targets that are less likely to be defended in some way either because the person’s own defenses are down and/or because the person has been separated from their group. It matches well with the idea that real adults protect other people who are in a vulnerable situation – a lesson my mom and dad taught all of us kids. (In an apparently ironic twist, my mom is the aggressive defender who will physically defend a victim while my dad is the “distract, disarm and neutralize” type of defender.)

          • Irène Delse

            Very good points. I know that meme is supposed to target the parents who are only concerned about *their* daughters not being raped, but it’s so wide a brushstroke that everybody gets tarred.

          • Roadstergal

            “That would be the same as telling parents of minority children that teaching them how to behave during traffic stops to minimize the chances of being arrested by a racist cop is the same as telling the kids “make sure the cop arrests another minority kid”.”

            I see that more like telling your black kids – even when they’re too young to drive – how to act around cops to not be shot is telling them to shoot the other kid – which I think is what is indeed happening. Which doesn’t mean ‘don’t teach situational awareness,’ it’s ‘make it clear that this situational awareness is a Band-Aid on a gushing torn artery, and to work no less hard to indict the culture and support those who work against it, and support the victims rather than blaming their lack of situational awareness.’

            I can’t go out drinking alone. With my history, I know that any rapes that happen to me are not going anywhere legally (I’ve been raped in the past, but you know, BF turning into ex-BF, so not ‘legitimate’). That sucks. I don’t want your daughters to have to deal with that.

          • guest

            Yes. The meme addresses a particular type of parent who teaches their daughters to behave in a safe manner, and then goes ahead and blames rape victims because they must not have been taking the same safety measures. Parents who can teach situational awareness AND sympathy for victims who never learned it/had a momentary failure/chose not to follow the rules are not the problem. It’s when those rules become code for “good girl” and breaking the rules makes you “automatically consenting bad girl.”

            I’ve known both types in my life.

          • Charybdis

            Same here, but I was married to mine. Try “legitimizing” that.

          • Who?

            Another example of my favourite truism: ‘a woman’s place is in the wrong’.

        • Daleth

          So far I only have boys, but if I have a girl I will consider both those jobs to be mine. As well as teaching all of them, boys and girls, to help the helpless: help the blind-drunk girl get home safely, etc.

          • MaineJen

            Good point. I have a girl and a boy, and I really want to send the right messages to both about consent, bodily autonomy etc.

  • Are you nuts

    If the father had been raped for 20 minutes, I wonder what prison sentence he would deem appropriate for his rapist.

    • Roadstergal

      Or if the son had.

    • fiftyfifty1

      I suppose it would depend on the sex of his rapist. If it was a female student found on top of him while he was passed out he would probably laugh it off. A man would be a different story.

  • sdsures

    I think the dad is a worse POS than the kid.

  • guest

    No excuse for his P.O.S. son, but I do think there’s a chance that his father does not believe a rape occurred. I might just believe his son’s lies that the victim gave consent, and then he “didn’t notice” she had become unconscious after supposedly giving this consent. He doesn’t believe it because he doesn’t want to, and obviously the jury didn’t buy that bullshit, but I can sort of see writing something like this in that situation. But there’s still some very poor word choices in there, and I don’t see what the father’s thoughts and feelings have to do with anything, as far as the judge is concerned. This letter should not have had a venue with the judge, and dad should keep his unwavering support of his son to himself.

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      I too wondered why this was even permitted to be read and why it was deemed relevant to anything. I’ve heard of victim impact statements being read, but what is this garbage?

      • guest

        Yeah, I don’t know. It’s outside of my area of expertise. I can see the offender and the victim being allowed to address the court, and I’m aware of families of victims who cannot speak for themselves being allowed to address the court, but Stanford Rapist is perfectly capable of speaking for himself, and is not a minor that I am aware of.

        • An Actual Attorney

          Because sentencing is supposed to take into account the whole person, letters post conviction are pretty common. This is pretty awful, but it apparently worked. Often, the letters are just too give a more rounded view of the person, or show that they have community support. Sometimes they outline families that will suffer when the breadwinner goes to prison. Sometimes they try to reargue innocence, though that is supposed to be futile. The existence of the letter isn’t shocking to me, but wow the content and tone is. But, as I said, the judge seems to have been swayed.

          • Roadstergal

            So, it’s nice to know that an actual judge in my area thinks swimming speed is a decent counterbalance to forced penetration.

            It makes me want Usain Bolt to digitally penetrate the judge without his consent. “Hey, settle down, I’m really good at this other thing.”

          • An Actual Attorney

            Eh, to be fair, it’s probably his race and class rather than any specific skill.

            I might be a little cynical.

          • Roadstergal

            I think you’re right. I was just having some thoughts floating around in my mind about affluent Stanford-area white families tsking about “Black Lives Matter” folk who don’t take responsibility for their actions…

          • AlasAnAss

            Golly, why would that occur to you . . .

          • guest

            But rape culture supports rape, particularly the sort involving drunkenness and acquaintances. “Community support” for that is just gross.

  • Who?

    Happier ending for a caged animal and child intersecting:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RYcWI9Ujz4

  • Dr Kitty

    Everything about this crime and the outcome of the trial, except the young woman’s eloquent, heartwrenching, raw and honest victim impact statement, and the fact that two bystanders came to her aid, is horrible. The father’s statement really does show a terrible sense of entitlement and an awful moral compass.

    Allow your kids to fail in small ways, and to fix their own problems.
    That way they are less likely to fail big and to be helpless at solving it if they do.
    The only way to learn is to make mistakes and face the consequences.
    If you don’t allow your kid to make mistakes, or your remove the consequences when they do, you prevent them from learning how to succeed and how to take responsibility.

    You can give them advice to help them make smart choices, you can let them know that even if they make wrong choices you will still love them, but you do them a serious disservice if you make it so that no matter how dumb their choice, you’ll make sure it doesn’t really matter.

    You don’t want to raise a selfish monster, oblivious to any harm they may cause, feeling entitled to things they didn’t earn, safe in the knowledge that they can’t ever do anything so bad that it can’t be fixed.

    • Roadstergal

      I just read the victim statement, and it’s eloquent, angering, profound, and clear. Just about every emotion I have came out.

      Also, comment on Clementine Ford’s article about this:
      “I don’t claim this to be fact but I see a pattern emerging in rape culture that suggests that women have a past, while men have a potential. When women are violated, we’re asked, “what did you do to deserve this?” and often our past is looked at for clues. When men violate women, they’re asked, “what do you have to lose?” and their future is looked at for clues.”

    • Ennis Demeter

      It’s extraordinary in its frankness. She writes about her vagina, about his ridiculous claim that she had an orgasm while he abraded her with his hand and dirt and pine needles, that her drunken call to her boyfriend about him being rewarded somehow signals that she consented to sex with this stranger behind a dumpster: “my rewards program is non-transferable”. This is a young woman who will not shamed into silence. She must be brave, and she must know that the people who love her support her and have her back.

  • Valerie

    I’d guess most people who commit heinous acts are just fine, well-behaved citizens for the majority of the time. I had this discussion with somebody the other day- if a person is a great, attentive parent 99% of the time, but the other 1% they get drunk and abuse their spouse and/or children, they are disqualified from being a good parent and partner. A lack of abusive behavior is in some respects the definition of being a decent person.

    What does this dad think “real” rapists do? Rape nuns every day, and spend the rest of their time stealing?

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      I’m not sure this dad even thinks rape is all that big an inconvenience for the victim. I mean, he did call it “action”.

      • Who?

        That’s actually where he lost me.

        I have no problem with the parents pouring resources into the defence. I have no particular problem with a parent saying ‘My adult child messed up terribly, we can all see that and will live with the pain caused, and the pain to ourselves, forever. I wish for the sake of all concerned he had not done this.’

        That is nothing like what the father said, though. And the ‘action’ remark casts the rest of it in a most unflattering light.

      • Valerie

        He backtracked on that word- he says meant a 20 minute long event. Even if we charitably concede him that, the letter still doesn’t acknowledge the severity of the crime or that there is a victim. It reads as if his crime was public urination or mooning after a drunken frat party, not sexual assaulting an unconscious woman.

        • guest

          It takes far less time to shoot someone dead with a gun, so he still makes no sense there.

          • Are you nuts

            That was my thought. A fatal gunshot takes a fraction of a second – maybe we should start allocating prison time based on time taken to commit a crime. Makes sense.

          • guest

            I suppose if we did that we might end up with more Wall Street criminals serving long sentences, but I’m not willing to give murders and rapists a pass to achieve that.

        • Who?

          Doesn’t ‘action’ have a sexual connotation though? A consensual one? I thought it was quite a deliberate re-framing of the event (a word with a far more clinical tone to it), which is why it got my back up when I read it.

          • Valerie

            It definitely does have that meaning- implying it was a consensual sex act that was misunderstood by bystanders. That interpretation fits well with the “never been violent” statement.

            We can’t really say if it was deliberate or not, though- I can also see it as a poor word choice. I think there is enough to be angry about, even if he is given every benefit of the doubt.

          • Ennis Demeter

            I think it was an attempt at writing in a legalistic tone, not a fraternity tone.

    • Alcharisi

      As Gilbert and Sullivan put it:

      “When a felon’s not engaged in his employment (his employment)/ or maturing his felonious little plans (little plans)/ his capacity for innocent enjoyment (‘cent enjoyment)/ is just as great as any honest man’s (honest man’s).”

      • Alcharisi

        And the next verse would thereby seem to have transpired:

        “Our feelings we with difficulty smother/ when [judiciary] duty’s to be done/ Ah, take one consideration with another/ a [judge’s] lot is not a happy one.”

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Double-upvoted cos Gilbert and Sullivan, who were very, very smart men. (And who wrote what I still consider the best operettas in existence, but I digress.)

  • Roadstergal

    It’s probably hard for the dad to accept that he so utterly failed to convey what the very basics of ‘consent’ are, and to accept that he is The Creator Of A Rapist.

    He’s still an *expletive* for trying to get his kid out of it, but it gives me some angle to see how this could even happen. Oh, your kid’s life has been deeply altered? How about how deeply altered his victim’s life has been, for – unlike your son – doing NOTHING wrong?

    • Who?

      Father can’t see the action item (the human you and I would call the ‘victim’) at all. She is a bit player in his son’s drama.

      I imagine Dad is pretty mortified about the reaction to-and what he no doubt sees as misinterpretation of-his letter. Was it ever intended to be made public?

      • mostlyclueless

        The impression I get is that both father and son literally do not comprehend the heinousness of the crime.

        • Who?

          I don’t think they formulate it as a crime at all. Let alone a heinous one. Just a bit of misinterpreted boyish fun.

        • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

          Agreed.

      • Dr Kitty

        As I understand it, he read it in open court.
        So…matter of public record.

        • Who?

          Nice. So we can assume this is the public version, that he is happy to defend, and more moderate than his actual opinion.

          • Roadstergal

            “more moderate than his actual opinion”

            Something along the lines of ‘how dare that slut ruin my life,’ I’m sure.

    • MI Dawn

      THIS!! 100 times THIS!! The victim has been lost. She rates for nothing in the father’s letter. It’s all his poor son. Well, if he’d given his son a good moral compass, his son wouldn’t have RAPED a drunk woman.

      What about the woman’s life? What about the ruins of her happiness? Her fears, her anguish? But no. His special snowflake has had his life ruined, sucks to be his victim.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      I sort of disagree with a lot of the sentiment. I can perfectly understand the father writing a impassioned plea in defense of his son. It’s what fathers do. We defend our kids. All our kids are nice boys who just made a mistake. Similarly, I don’t fault the lawyers that defend the guilty. That’s their job, to do their best to help their client.

      My problem is with the court, who took that statement by the father for anything more than what it was – a typical father defending his kid. As far as I am concerned, positive character letters from parents should have no bearing on things like sentencing.*** And, to be fair, I would also not put weight on negative letters from victims.

      In both these cases, they are to be expected. What would be more significant is if the parents were to write a negative letter, or for the victim to write something positive. These would be meaningful.

      Where the real failure is here is in the probation officers and other supposedly objective commenters. How can the probation officers claim he is not a threat when he has not even acknowledged that he did anything wrong in the first place? Despite being CONVICTED of it. Legally, he did it. He is guilty, and that is the starting point of his probation proceedings. Therefore, his denial of guilt indicates that he doesn’t get it at all. I would add that his crap about drinking and promiscuity also shows that he doesn’t understand what he did wrong.

      How can anyone assert he is remorseful when he won’t even admit his guilt? That’s not remorse, that’s friggin denial.

      You would also hope that the judge hearing the case would take into account testimony from trauma experts, who can explain the effects of rape on the victim, and the effects it has on them. Objective observers are the key here, and they failed miserably.

      ***In contrast to something like a “family impact” statement, that explains how the sentence would create a (real) hardship on the family. Not just “his kids will miss their daddy”

  • Who?

    Thanks for writing this. We need to be having good conversations about responsibilities, rather than the incessant focus on rights.

    I agree, father would probably be writing the same letter if the young man was a drink driver, or had beaten up a classmate rather than raping someone.

    It always surprises me, as the parent of adults, how little confidence many parents have in the children they have spent years raising. Do they think they have wasted their time, emotion and energy to date? If not, why behave this way?

  • Jules B

    Thank you, Dr. Amy, for writing this post – I have been having arguments on the Internet for a few days now with people who seem to want to compare the mother whose young child fell into the enclosure with Brock Turner’s father…as if there is ANY comparison! I will just link to your post from this point onward ;-).

  • J.B.

    I’m thankful for the leak, at least. So awful.