The Internet has been on fire with outrage over the lenient sentence given Brock Turner. What good do we think that will do his victim, us individually, or society? I’m disappointed that this young man refuses to take responsibility for his actions, for shattering the life of a young woman. None of us can make him accept responsibility for what he’s done, and continues to do, since his refusal to formally accept that he’s raped a woman and severely harmed her, and that this was wrong, is making it more difficult for her to move past this trauma.
I propose that we spell out what we want from Brock, from his parents, the justice system, lawmakers, and society, and why we want each of these things. We have a responsibility to prevent this from happening to others. Raging against decisions and people we disagree with will do little or nothing to prevent this from happening again.
Here’s my list, at least as a starting point.
1. Brock Turner needs to admit that he raped this woman, and that it’s entirely his fault. He should formally apologize to her.
2. Brock Turner’s parents need to formally admit that their son did something terrible, and that he should face the consequences of his actions.
3. Brock Turner should be sentenced to several years of community service, of a kind that will develop empathy and provide a genuinely needed service to society.
4. Lawmakers should create laws that ensure restitution for victims of sex crimes, from the offender where possible and the state otherwise, and that restitution should be opened ended enough to provide whatever is necessary to help the victim recover fully (as fully as humanly possible).
5. What can we do to prevent rape? There are many things we can do better. Talking to boys and girls is necessary but clearly not sufficient. What else can we do? Where is the balance between liberty and security? Where should the responsibility for rape prevention fall?
For background: I’m a married father of a college age daughter and two high school age sons. This issue is immediately relevant to my life.