“20 Minutes of Action”: A Father’s Response To Dan Turner’s Statement

“That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life. The fact that he now has to register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life forever alters where he can live, visit, work, and how he will be able to interact with people and organizations. What I know as his father is that incarceration is not the appropriate punishment for Brock.” Dan Turner

Steep? Mount Everest is steep. The peak of the emotional roller coaster Brock Allen Turner’s rape victim has only begun to descend is steep. Six months in jail is a joke; a speed bump, if you will. The “20 minutes of action” that Brock’s father minimizes in his above statement will haunt his victim for the rest of her life. It may have been a measly twenty minutes for him but for her, the impact of those twenty minutes will weave into every fiber of her being, every facet of her life, for its entirety.  In her letter, the rape victim states that she, “does not remember” the night Brock penetrated, groped, and left her behind a dumpster. But what she will soon find out is that her body will not let her forget. I know this because I married a victim of a college rape.

Steep will be the amount of time, energy, and financial resources that will go into undoing what Brock has done. Undoing is the wrong word here, what he did can never be undone. It can only be rewired, reworked, processed, and worked through again. When she is but a distant bad decision in your life, you will be a permanent fixture of her subconscious.

Trauma has a way of blocking the logic centers of the brain and reducing its survivors to their most primitive survival instincts. When I touch my wife, nearly thirteen years after her rape, she can be triggered into an immediate fight or flight response. We never know when, or if, it will happen because Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) often has no rhyme or reason. Her body remembers what her mind can’t. Sexual desire was non-existent for years, and is just now only slowly coming back. For years I couldn’t understand why she didn’t have the same desire for me that I do for her. It isn’t that she doesn’t want to, it’s that she can’t. The trauma she experienced has caused her primitive brain to associate sex with danger.

My hope for these unfortunate events, is not that we would use this story to communicate the dangers of college partying and binge drinking to teenage girls. My hope is that we would use this story to raise better boys.

boys

As the father of three boys, I can understand the hurt and disappointment that is felt when your child makes a poor decision. The loss of the dreams and aspirations that were once so clear is a crushing blow. But rape is not just a poor decision. Rape is an intentional violation of another human being. Rape is an abuse of power. I love my boys with every ounce of my being but if they ever rape a woman, I will not defend them the way Dan Turner defended his son. I will not minimize the impact of sexual trauma because in doing so, I’d be perpetuating a much larger social issue that is playing out all around us.

I don’t believe my children will ever rape a woman because I have the ability, as their father, to raise them to respect women. Not only do I have the ability to shape them into respectful men, but I feel a social responsibility to do so. We, as parents, should all feel socially responsible to parent children who are upstanding citizens; children who grow into men and woman with integrity. We need to raise men who value the lives of other people, especially women. Men who do not violate women for self-satisfaction. I shouldn’t have to defend my children for committing a heinous crime because I will not raise them to be capable of destroying another human life.

While this case may be used as a way to draw awareness to the dangers of binge drinking and partying in college, I want us to focus our attention on the larger social issue at hand. Twenty five percent of women suffer sexual abuse. TWENTY FIVE PERCENT! That means twenty five percent of parents are not upholding their social responsibility to raise men who value human life more than their sexual gratification. No wonder women are scared of men; 1 in 4 of them will be or already has been assaulted by one. This is not okay. The fact that women are scared of men is a societal crisis and we, as a society are handling this crisis all wrong. We are doing a great job of warning women and providing them with safety precautions in case they find themselves in a dangerous situation, but it’s about time we start working on the root of the problem. We need to raise our children better than the generation before us.

I plan to read the victim’s letter to my boys when they are old enough to understand the conversation behind it. Will it be an uncomfortable conversation? Absolutely. But it’s a crucial conversation to have. I need them to understand the emotional impact that sex has on the woman involved. Sex is always intentional and they are going to understand that even consensual sex needs to be cared for with the utmost delicacy.

I will not shy away from my social responsibility of raising better boys. My boys will become men that will stand up for others. They will build each other up instead of tearing humanity to shreds. They will be able to draw into awareness the emotional ramifications of all of their actions and when they make a mistake, they will be humble enough to admit when they are wrong. And if, God-forbid, they ever violate another human being, they will take full responsibility for their actions, no matter what the cost.

By: Kyle Suhan

Feature Image Credit: StockPhotoSecrets.com

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91 Comments

  • FIFA55 says:

    Hi, I would like to subscribe for this weblog to obtain newest updates, thus where can i do it please help.

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  • Tiena says:

    Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular post!
    It is the little changes that will make the most significant changes.
    Thanks a lot for sharing!

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  • Sujata Gazder says:

    I got choked up reading your blog. Thank you for writing what you did. Thank you for taking responsibility as a man and as a father.

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  • Tabby says:

    Not all rape victims are the same. They have different reactions. Your wife is very strong. But the victim of Brock is not a victim. She has caused people to make rape look like it happens to everyone. And that is wrong

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  • Tonya Dalton says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I did want to ask about the healing process for you both in this. It is hard to find good christian info about healing from rape/sexual abuse, especially in relation to marriage and the impact it has on it. Can you share more about what you both have learned in the journey of healing and coping with this? Its affecting me and my husband also.

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  • Clayton says:

    Kyle,
    Let me start by saying thank you for writing this piece. I am engaged to a beautiful and strong woman who is a victim of multiple counts of rape from the same guy. I love her more than anything I can put into words. She amazes me everyday that she can overcome everything that she has been through. It is very hard for me to see her get scared over a shadow or a small noise. I tell her everyday that I would give my life to protect her but you can see the fear at times. You can see it in her eyes and it hurts every time I do. There are mornings when she wont speak to me because a bad dream will trigger her ptsd. We have been together for almost 5 years and lived together for almost 2 and there are days where it feels like she doesn’t even know me. I hope that your wife can continue to overcome what happened and I will pray for your family’s strength. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  • AVINASH says:

    Kyle and Christine , Congratulations ..this story has a power of words that melt the hardest and tough to melt hearts.. your guts to write this is commendable, admirable and worth million praises.. it just does not end here, it will transform many parents and their boys.. and girls who in turn will be mothers to their sons with love and care, because that makes all the difference for care and respect to others.

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  • Powerful! Beautiful! I love this piece. It is perfectly executed. Thank you Kyle, and Christine, for sharing your personal response and helping people to see the light. Until we take personal responsibility for our actions, and for our care and treatment of our fellow human beings, we will continue to create mess after mess. We are all God’s children and it’s time we start acting like it!

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  • Jodi says:

    Kyle, thank you for sharing and for your wife allowing you to share. I know as a mom of one daughter and one son, we tend to speak to our daughters more about what to do and what not to do with respect to safety on college campus. However, I have always said we must speak to our sons as well. I truly believe our role as parents is to not raise great kids but to raise our kids to become great adults and part of that greatness is respect for themselves and others.

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  • Purrpy says:

    For many of us that have been victims of sexual assaults. Thank-you does not begin to express the gratitude to this Father and wonderful husband/ Your desire and responsibility to raise strong men that value women is a beautiful thing.

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  • Susan says:

    Wow is about all I can say. I am currently in EMDR therapy right now for abuse and people don’t understand the impact and the climb. I pushed mine down for years in order to raise my sons and couldn’t agree more. I would not defend them in this manner if they raped anyone, they know about my childhood abuse and would NEVER touch a woman inappropriately. Thank you for saying it so eloquently and honestly.

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  • Gilly Robinsong says:

    Thank you, Kyle, for this honest, informative and much-needed rebuttal to Dan Turner’s defence of his son’s rape crime.

    I was horrified, though, when I saw the images that appeared below your writings* (link at end of posting; TRIGGER warning): images of women in compromising positions, being objectified, headings shamefully inciteful.

    *The website is called PeacefulCentury (a misnomer if ever there were one), and it was posted on Facebook by a friend who, no doubt, read your article and wanted to share your side of the story wider. It may be you’re aware your article appears on this site – even deliberately allowed its inclusion as a possible means of making those who think it’s ‘all a bit of a laugh’, to stop for a moment and think. That’s fine, if so. If not, you might want to seek its removal. Either way, the double standards the PeacefulCentury website upholds are appalling.

    Huge credit to you for the responsibility you are taking with your boys and how they view and treat women.

    http://www.peacefulcentury.net/im-a-dad-of-3-boys-i-married-a-rape-victim-i-have-something-to-say-to-brock-turners-father/

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  • Dan Yates says:

    Kyle, I agree 99% with your blog but I disagree where you assume the parents are at fault when a son does a heinous act and presume it was because as a Dad I did not raise my son to respect women. Like you I am the father of three sons. Unlike you two of my sons are twins. This has given me a unique perspective into how much behavior is due to “hard wiring” personal actions (bad choices, poor judgement, etc) that is separate and distinct from parenting and the values and lessons we pass on to our sons. One of my twins is an honor student and a leader amongst his peers. The other has struggled with drugs, alcohol, poor behavior towards many different people and he is living now at a Christian boarding school called teen rescue. I am the same parent to both sons and everyone wants to give me full credit for how one of my sons turned out to be the son we all dream to have (based on his manners, behaviors, faith in God, respect for others, leadership) then they assume the parents must have played a role in his his twin turned out. Same parents, same values, same life lessons. I think we as parents are key in certain respects but your blog overstates the parents influence on a child’s actions and understates how despite having model parents a child may still despite it all still perform a heinous act.

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  • Theresa Johnson says:

    Thank you on behalf of moms with daughters everywhere.

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