Do we as parents raise rapist? Of course we don’t. Never intentionally. Ever. We do our best to raise strong, kind, open minded, hardworking, caring men. But what happens when we do that and they rape someone?
The Brock Turner case is horrendous. And the more that unfolds the worse it becomes. It is a complete injustice. The survivor deserves accolades beyond any we can give her, because the one thing she truly deserves is a do over of that night in which this never happened. And sadly, it is the one thing we as a society can not give her. We can never give her that moment back when Brock helps her instead of rapes her. And as a woman, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend and a mom I feel like I have disappointed her. I should have somehow not allowed this to happen to her. He should have been punished and he was not. And somehow it is my fault. Our fault. We should not get off the hook for our inexcusable actions because we are young, white, rich and male. And now, this female sits, forever changed and there is simply nothing we can do about it.
Or is there?
The survivors parents……can you imagine? The sadness. The worry. The anger. I know her father wants to violently punish Brock and the Judge. And he deserves to feel that way. And her mom. Oh god….she probably never wants her daughter to leave her sight again. She wants to hold her, cuddle her, tell her it will all be alright, although she knows, as a mom, it won’t. As a mother with a daughter I would look at my daughter, god forbid she was in this nightmare, and my heart would break and ache for the rest of her life. Knowing how much was ahead of her and how much work needed to be done. Knowing that when she closes her eyes she envisions waking up in a hospital having a nurse pull out a rape kit. Knowing that she will have to tell her future partner “I’ve been raped. Intimacy will not be easy.” The worse thing for her mom is knowing she can’t take any of this away from her daughter. This survivor, her daughter, has to live this and there is nothing she can do to change that.
What about Brock’s parents? Well, we have heard from his dad and it was utterly disgusting. But what about his mom? I imagine she has locked herself in her room, laying in her bed, crying her eyes out. How could her son do this? How could her son rape someone? How is her son a MONSTER? She probably can’t believe it. She probably doesn’t want to believe it. She is now seeing his future in a completely different view. He is no longer a handsome, smart, Stanford swimmer. He is a RAPIST. Her baby boy whom she devoted her life too. Who she raised the best she could showing him all the love and comfort a mama could give. Her child, whom she has loved unconditionally since the moment he was a heartbeat inside of her body. This baby is a rapist. She wakes up everyday now and for the rest of her life blaming HERSELF (because that is what moms do.) The man she raised got intoxicated, and raped a young girl behind a dumpster and left her there. HER SON. How, as a parent do you process that? How do you support? How do you still love? How do you know envision his future now? Probably not turning into a successful, married, family man. That vision is gone. Everything as Brock’s mom sees it is gone. Her son is a rapist. Forever and always.
I have sons. I can not even complete the sentence “What if they….” They won’t. They will not. But I am sure Brock’s mom thought the same thing.
And Brock probably never saw himself as a rapist. This particular evening he was probably getting his pre game on for this party. Trying to look good and thinking about hooking up with someone. A situation every single one of us has been through. We have all gone to a party and had too much to drink. We have all had too much to drink that when we wake up we don’t remember. But Brock had something inside of him this night that wasn’t normal “drunk behavior.” He wanted to have a sexual encounter and nothing was going to stop him. He did not control himself. He felt entitled. He felt like he would get away with it (which he has) and he raped someone who was unconscious. I am sure Brock did not wake up that morning and think “tonight’s the night I will rape.” I am sure he did not plan this out. But when the time came he did not stop. He raped, got caught and blamed it on booze. No Brock it wasn’t intoxication, it was entitlement. You had it that night and you also had some booze as your backup.
As parents, one of our jobs is to teach our children the word no. They need to hear it. Often. And they need to understand it, fully. We are living in a world, as parents, where saying no to you kid is a BAD thing. But it isn’t. If we as parents create for them a world full of yes’ then we are creating entitlement. We are creating rapist. WE ARE CREATING BROCK. I did not grow up in Brock’s house, but I am sure he was not told no a lot. He got things he wanted, whenever he wanted them. I see this every single day as a mom. Kids wanting something, once they are told no, they tantrum and parents give in. They are quickly told yes. I see this ALL THE TIME. Telling your child NO does not make you a bad parent. It makes you an excellent parent who is teaching your child boundaries. Kids like Brock have no boundaries, therefore, when this situation arose, he took it. It is our job to say no. It is our job to tell them to be done at no. It is our job to make sure our children are not entitled.
And besides entitlement, we must teach them about ownership. You make a decision, good or bad, you own it and face the consequences. Don’t sugarcoat their punishment. Don’t reward for falsifying. They need to learn this early. My kids lie and they get in trouble. They own up or they get in trouble. Man up, always. These kids must know that.
We also need to teach them about sex and sexual abuse. They need to know words like penis and vagina and not give them nicknames. My 4, 3 and 15 month old know zero other names for their body parts besides their actual names. Empower them with these words, do not shame them for having a penis or vagina. We need to talk to them about who is allowed to touch them and how powerful sex is. We need to have open communication as they grow and teach them about birth control and condoms. It is our responsibility to take this generation and change them for the better. My kids hear the word no every day all day. They also know about their bodies and what is appropriate and what isn’t. Yes, they are toddlers, but they also are growing up in this fucked up world. We have chosen to have children and we have chosen to give them skills to make them good people. Not entitled ones who shoot up schools, cause harm or rape just because they are told no and they feel like they should have power.
I am not blaming Brock’s actions on his parents. I actually feel just as bad for the Brock’s mom as do the survivors mom. Her daughter was raped. Her son is a rapist. There is no greener grass for this situation. Brock is old enough to know right from wrong. He is fully capable of understanding a good situation from a bad situation. And he also is man enough to know that his penis carries power and he used that power against an innocent, undeserving, beautiful soul that night. That power is now gone. He will always be known as a rapist. He will always know the truth of that horrible moment. He will always see the pain he has caused behind his mom’s eyes. And hopefully now he will know what the word no means.
The survivor has a different life to adjust too. A life of fear, doubt and questioning….why me? And who knows why her. I am sure Brock doesn’t even know. But she is a survivor and he is a rapist. Moving forward we all know whose future is brighter. And she has us. The women, the wives, the daughters, the sisters, the girlfriends and moms who have her back. We are here for her fully. And so many men who are not like Brock. We are all here for her and as a society, she deserves at least that from us.