Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Son, About "20 minutes of action"

I don't think my son is quite old enough for me to give this letter to him, but when I decide that he's ready, I will. In the meantime, the contents of this letter are my parenting goals. 

Hey You,

When I see something horrific happen in the world, I will always want to find a way to teach something you about it. When I hear of a person {only 8 years older than you} that committed an unspeakably awful, violent crime… When I think about the fact that one incredibly ugly, vile, stupid, vicious, selfish, narcissistic, egotistical, maniacal, barbaric decision made his face go viral as a rapist {and justifiably so}… I sit back in silence while my head explodes. THEN I MAKE IT MY PERSONAL MISSION NOT TO RAISE A VILLIAN. Let me just say that there is nothing you could ever do to break my love for you. Know that. BUT I would ABSOLUTELY NOT write a letter to the judge like Brock Turner's father did  for you if you had done what he's done. If I did write a some sort of letter or make a statement, I would definitely use better terminology for what you had done than "20 minutes of action". I want to talk to you about horrific things like this before it's too late.

I brought you home from the hospital when I was 19. That's only a year older than Brock Turner was when he committed this crime. An 18 or 19 year old is young, but they are very much an adult capable of making decisions that benefit others, not harm them. I checked into the hospital as a pregnant college student, and I left as a mother. A young woman grew you inside of herself, gave you life, nourished you, clothed you, bathed you, diapered you, soothed your cries, dried your tears, cooled your feverish little body, comforted you while you threw up on me, and kept you alive. It was my joy, but I want to make you understand something: It's true that it takes both a man and a woman to create a life, but it's woman who brings that life into the world. God's own representative on Earth, Jesus himself, didn't magically descend from the sky; he came through a woman. Women have worth. In fact, when Jesus rose from the dead, it was a woman, not His disciples, that He chose to appear to first. He chose this in spite of the fact that in their culture, her testimony was worthless, unreliable, and unacceptable. Our Father TREASURES his daughters. WOMEN ARE CAPABLE OF (AMONG OTHER THINGS) GIVING LIFE, SO PLEASE SEE EVERY WOMAN'S WORTH BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO TAKE FROM HER LIFE.

When I think about the fact that witnesses caught Turner in the act… When I think about the fact that a jury found him GUILTY of this crime… When I think about the fact that an elected judge heard Turner's victim read her TWELVE PAGE impact statement letter… When I think about the fact that this elected official's job is a professional officiator and dispenser of justice… When I think about the fact that this professional dispenser of justice cared more about Brock's future than his victim… I am ENRAGED because this judge basically said that this heinous crime was an "oopsie" on Brock's part and AGAIN stripped this victim of her worth.

This is rape culture, son. Rape culture says "don't get yourself raped" instead of "don't rape". Rape culture says "consideration and kudos should be given that this rapist never raped before--this was a one time thing." Rape culture says "this rapist is talented and has a bright future, so we shouldn't take too much from him." Rape culture says that "a rapist's future is more important than his victim's". Rape culture says "boys will be boys" and "girls will be used and thrown away like garbage." Rape culture says "alcohol, not the rapist, is to blame." Rape culture says "well, she got sloppy drunk so what did she expect?" Rape culture says "with a dress like that on, what was she thinking would happen?" Rape culture says "she was flirty and danced with him, therefore she OBVIOUSLY wanted this." Rape culture says that "a rapist should apologize for partying, not for raping." Rape culture labels rape as "promiscuity." Rape culture says "justice is an elusive concept for someone who wants to remove her own skin to get him off of her." Rape culture says "Martha Stewart gets a similar sentence as someone who sexually attacked an unconscious victim in open outdoor space." Rape culture says that victims should have to live with a crappy, despicable sentence because "at least he got SOME jail time." Rape culture strips countless other women in less publicized cases of their worth and STEALS justice from them.

Fight against this culture, my dear boy. You're a boy now, but one day, you will be a man. Brock did not act like a man. He acted like a boy. My goal is to raise a man, not a boy. Let me tell you something about manhood: it's harder than boyhood. It is. It's something that requires a conscience and discernment and selflessness and hard work. Boyhood involves authoritative guidance and supervision and getting gratification from others and play. Manhood is treating women with respect. Manhood involves EARNING a woman's trust so TOGETHER THEY can decide to be emotionally, physically, and sexually connected. A man reveres a woman. He doesn't objectify or victimize or conquer her. A man doesn't value their power, control, or sexual satisfaction more than any woman. A man fights for what she needs, not what he wants. A man wants the whole woman, not just her parts. A man is interested in learning a woman's thoughts, dreams, passions, or at the very least her name. A man pursues a woman in hopes of finding someone they can share more than 20 years of life with, not "20 minutes of action" {that terminology has been on replay in my mind for days and it still makes me want to puke}. Son, when God created woman, he did so from a man's rib. Not from his foot, God didn't intend for man to walk on her. Not from his hands, He didn't want man to hit her or hurt her. He took the spot under his arm to form her, because he wanted men to wrap their arms around women to PROTECT THEM.

So when you see a woman who has had too much to drink, it is the sincerest prayer of my heart that you do that. Carry her to her bed not to gratify yourself, but to help her and protect her. Tuck her in, make sure she's medically OK, call for help if necessary. But if she doesn't need medical intervention, leave her be. Let her have a peaceful sleep instead of a traumatic awakening that Brock Turner's victim had.

That man I described up above--I pray that is who you become. You know why? Yes, it's because I'm sickened by rape culture. Yes, it's because I don't want you to victimize anyone. Yes, it's because I want you to become the man God created you to be and I know you can be. But I also pray this because THAT MAN + ME = YOU. I want some lucky woman to feel for you what I feel for your dad. Respect. Love. Trust. Security. Safety.


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