Parents, talk about the Stanford rape case with your kids

If the woman Brock Allen Turner raped had woken up alone, behind the dumpster, with her clothes beside her, chances are she would have gone home and never reported anything.


Chances are, he would have gotten away with it.  Most rape victims don’t have eye witnesses.  Most rapists aren’t caught in the act.  When she woke up, she didn’t know what had happened.  She just wanted to get back to her normal life, and that’s how it often goes.  Few rape victims seek justice.


Rape culture is real.  It’s here with us.  Sexual assault is astonishingly common. It’s so painful to imagine what the victims go through that it’s much easier to push it away and not think about it, talk about it, do anything about it.


Here’s my question:


Fathers, what are you saying to your kids about this case?


You can’t stay silent.  You can’t let mom do the talking.  And when you do speak up, don’t warn your daughters about drinking at frat parties.  Don’t tell your sons not to jeopardize their futures.  None of that helps.


Fathers, if you want to make a difference, here’s what you do:


In front of your children, grieve for rape victims everywhere.  Admire the men who stopped the assault and caught Brock Turner when he fled.  Praise the one who was so upset he could hardly speak.


Be vulnerable.  Be emotional.  It’s your empathy we need.


The Turner family has much to be ashamed of.  It’s devastating to learn your bright young son, in whom so much time and energy has been invested, lacks a moral compass and empathy for others.  Dan A. Turner, Brock’s father, doesn’t have these qualities either, it turns out, and maybe that helps us understand what’s wrong and what can be done about it.


Fathers, we need you to guide your sons, but not to athletic glory and not to academic success.  Maybe you think you’re taking care of your boy by signing him up for Little League when he’s young and Kaplan test prep when he’s older, but if you fail to model empathy and vulnerability, I don’t know where else he’ll learn them.


Not from cartoons, movies, or YouTube, which show boys as competitive, muscled, goal-oriented, emotionless, and entitled to sex.  Not from school, which emphasizes reading, writing, and math, rather than relationship skills.


Papa.  Daddy.  Your children need you.  Not your money, your corporate job, house or car.  They need your heart.  Your bleeding heart, on your sleeve, describing how you feel about each of the characters in this tragedy.


Go talk with them.  Let there be tears in your eyes.


Turn this thing around.

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