Dear Mr. Turner,
As you have waited for three months to finally embrace your son who remained behind bars, I hope it was a joyful experience. I hope the time apart has given you more appreciation for being a father and more of an urge to be a better example to your son. But although I hope seeing your son was a joyful experience, I hope you do not forget in the midst of your triumph, the defeat the girl your son has raped is experiencing with each passing day.
While your son may have escaped a longer prison sentence, his victim did not. While your son can sleep soundly, his victim cannot. While your son may have problems in society like finding a job, or getting admitted into a university or college, his victim will deal with the bruise everyday that your son has left on her mind, heart, and body, of which she cannot get around.
You see, your son got a taste of the prison she experiences daily and the torture she faced and will face in the future, but he will never be able to fully understand the hurt and grief he has caused her. You see, your son got the easy-end of this sentence, and I would ask that you treat your son’s experience as such.
While you may claim that your son’s actions were caused by an intoxicating amount of alcohol, and a girl who was “asking” for it, I would highly beg to differ. You see, your son had a choice, and he chose poorly. And, you see, his victim was not asking for it, she was 100% innocent. While she may have been intoxicated herself, she did not give permission to your son, ask, or desire what he did to her.
Why do I say these things? Why do I care so much? Because I know her grief. Because I know the torment she faces with each passing day. Because I did not get a say in the matter when my so-called “uncle” molested me. And most of all, because I did not get a fair trial, for I did not get one at all.
You see, while your son will easily be able to recover from 3 months in prison, his victim and I will not. We will take much longer, including a life-time to recover from the pain we have experienced. We forever bear the mark your son left, a mark that you cannot just wipe away; because you see, the mark your son left and my “uncle” left was invisible. The mark they left forever reads the words, violated.
While you may claim the mark left on your son from this experience, such as rapist, is a worse term to be etched onto the skin of someone, I’m sorry but you are wrong. So easily, your son can make a great turnaround and move on in life, we on the other hand cannot. While Christ has redeemed me from the shame I experienced for years, and has given me a new name, replacing the old one, the effects of the old name still haunt me. While your son can experience a beautiful marriage uninterrupted by shame and violation, we cannot. While I am able to experience a beautiful marriage and believe I will, only by the grace of God, I will always have a guard up. I will always be afraid of men, in general. My husband will forever have restrictions of things he both can and cannot do, because as I said before, I still experience the effects of the old name that was etched on me for years. For though, your son’s victim and I desire to be loved by our future spouse’s, our love will be a roller coaster. No matter what man we find to be the one we have been waiting for, we will always experience fear when with them. No matter how many times they have shown how worthy they are of our trust, and how many times we trust them, we will always in the deepest parts of our heart fear them. I’m sorry, but your son will never experience this. He will never fear his wife. But, we will. Your son will never have to worry about being touched in a certain area or hearing a certain word or seeing something, we will. When my husband wants to surprise me and scoop me up from the back and kiss me, he won’t be able to. When I look at my husband above me, I will always fear for my life, Brock won’t.
Though it may seem as if I am downplaying the pain, grief, and horror your son has experienced, I am most certainly not. I can not imagine one day in prison to be locked up with murderers, and other rapists. I can not imagine what it would feel like to be turned down by a prospective employer because of what I had done in the past. I can not imagine what it would be like to be known by the public as a rapist. While I cannot imagine all of these things that your son will experience, your son’s pain and grief will never be like ours. You see, three months in prison will never compare to years of prison in our minds. And you see, your son being known as a rapist by the public will never compare to the voices we hear each day about how disgusting we are and how shameful. You see, Brock will never understand, and neither will you.
While we may agree that the terms of our judges were unfair, there is one truth I rest in that I hope one day you will, and your son will as well. That truth is that, “[b]ut they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead” (1 Peter 4:5, NIV). You see, one day there will be a time when we must all give an account for every wrongful thing we have done, but I have an answer that trumps them all. My answer is Christ. I hope that one day you will be able to say that is your answer.
So, while your son is home, I would ask you of two things. First, teach your son to be a man. A man is one who is mature, who is confident in who he is, and knows how to treat a woman with respect, and honor her. Teach him to be one, because currently he is not. He is still a boy. And secondly I ask, be a worthy role model to your son. Show your son what it means to be a morally upright citizen, because as well, he is not this. While I pray for you and your family, I would ask if you would take my words to heart, for both his victim and I. Because while your son may sleep in his bed tonight well rested, and open his eyes to a family supporting him, I will not, and neither will his victim.