This past few week some of you have written letters in support of a close friend and family member Brock Turner, also known now as The Stanford Rapist. Your letters have been rightfully condemned, and you have rightfully received a lot of criticism and backlash.
You may feel the urge to become defensive and refuse to see why you have been criticized. You may believe you are the one being unfairly attacked. You may think your anger is a righteous one. You may even think you are the ones who see the truth, and it is everyone else who has lost their minds.
I would beg you to take a minute to consider that you might be wrong but not in the way that you think.
I want to start by telling you that just because Brock Turner is a rapist, we know that doesn’t mean you don’t love him. It can be hard to let go of the past where Brock was not a rapist. When he was your loving son or your friend. The thing you must accept is that he is, in fact, a rapist.
He is a convicted rapist and you either love him regardless of that fact, or you don’t. You either choose to stand by him and help him accept what he has done and learn to work through his problems, or you let him go. The fact of what has been done can no longer be debated. Not in the way you hope. Time can’t be turned back. The future only lets you choose how you’ll react to the facts.
You may be saying “But that is all I have done.” You might think that, but you have done something more. You have put down the victim of Brock’s crime in order to redeem him in the eyes of the court and the public, and that is where you have gone wrong. You are afraid for him and his future, so you seek to minimize his crime and make his victim partially responsible. You have to remember that no one made him do what he did. He made a choice. He made the wrong choice. He hurt someone very deeply, and he broke the law. All you are doing now is making it ok for others to commit the same crime and get away with it.
By revictimizing his victim, by revictimizing others who have been in her shoes and been hurt by men like Brock, you have only drawn attention to the ways that you have helped create a man like him. You only draw attention to the ways that you are guilty too. By not taking responsibility Brock has shown himself to be what we all assume he is. An unfeeling monster. A user of people. Someone who is selfish in all the worst ways a person can be.
Your letters have only shown us that men like that are not made in a vacuum. You have shown us that Brock is who he is because of who you all are.
I assume you don’t mean to do that at all. I assume you only mean to show us the human behind the monster. The son you raised, the friend you knew, someone you thought couldn’t do this.
I get that.
But now you must take responsibility for what you have created and the part you played in creating him and helping him to avoid taking his own responsibility. You must see his crime and understand that a punishment must be dealt out, and a debt to society and the victim must be paid.
Now you must say, “Yes my son, my friend, did this. I am disappointed in my son, my friend, I am hurt too by what he has done, and I am sorry to the victim for what she has gone through. I love my son and friend, and I want him to know that people are not things, and he cannot use them for his own selfish and depraved means. I love him, and I will help him learn this lesson.”
That is how you support someone you love who has committed a heinous crime. You don’t make excuses for them; you don’t blame society or the victim of your loved one’s crime. You look inside yourself and recognize the ways you might have contributed to their state of self-entitlement, and you vow to change for the better. You look around and help the other people you know to not to make the same mistakes. You talk to them, and you teach them better.
You do this because if you don’t, your loved one will never change. They will never be the good, kind, sweet person you so desperately want them to be. They will slip farther and farther away from you until all that is left is the monster and you have no one to blame but them, and yourself.