This is more than about race.
We, the intelligent folks in America, know that racism still exists.  We know there are many disparities in the justice system.  It is easy to say that the Brock Turner rape case is due to white privilege.  The trifecta of him being a white male student-athlete and having well connected, rich parents, played a role in his MORE than lenient sentence.  However, if you delve a little deeper, there’s something that we’re not talking about.

What many seem to be forgetting is that Brock Turner was found GUILTY.  The jury, the witnesses, the prosecutor- everyone did their job.  They did not let him off lightly.  They did not base their decision on race. This sentencing issue lies squarely with Judge Aaron Persky.

He valued the life and well-being of the rapist, over the life and well-being of the victim.

I saw a meme of Brock Turner and Cory Batey, intending to show that the outcome of this case is rooted in racism.  It showed side by side pictures of Turner, who received a 6-month sentence; and Batey, who is facing 15 – 25 years for his involvement of raping an intoxicated woman at Vanderbilt.  Eerily similar cases in some aspects and the meme served its purpose.  It took the attention off the atrocity that happened to the victim and made this case about white privilege.  Batey’s case hasn’t been decided yet, but upon seeing the meme, my first thought did not automatically go to “YES, that proves this case is racist.”

NO.

My first thought was, as it should be for everyone, “I hope that Batey gets the punishment he deserves.”

The fact that Brock Turner essentially got off easy does not mean that anyone should hope for the same outcome, regardless of race. What is 3 months in a county jail for rape other than a grown man’s version of time out?  We can’t allow ourselves to lose focus of the message that is being sent, by getting caught up in playing a game of tit for tat.

This is about WOMEN.  We should be outraged about what this says about the value of WOMEN.

Reading the letter from this rapist’s father, as he describes how his son is a good kid, who is so depressed he can’t even bring himself to eat his favorite snacks is enough to make you scream.  Reading the letter from Turner’s friend, Leslie Rasmussen, is enough to make you realize that most still don’t get it- a drunk woman is not an open invitation for assault.  This is RAPE CULTURE; when society feeds you lies that imply there is ANYTHING you can do to invite sexual assault.

If we are not having conversations that teach our girls to respect boys (and themselves) and boys to respect girls, we are FAILING. Turning blind eyes and refusing to talk about the hard stuff only hurts us and our children, in the end.  And when you do approach the hard stuff, don’t go for only what you think will directly affect them.  We have to teach them the “WHAT COULD BE IF”.

For some reason, we’re avoiding the conversations that are more than “the birds and the bees”.  In today’s society, we have to bring “the lions and snakes” to the conversation.  We have to explain CONSENT.  We have to instill expectations. We have to eradicate entitlement.  And we must let them know that as their parents, we’ll love them; but we will always stand on the side of right.

Anything less than this is BAD PARENTING.  Much worse than taking your eye off your child for a second.  Much worse than being on your cell phone while your kids are playing in the park or all the many things that parents, namely mothers, are vilified over.

Rape is rape is rape.
No means NO.  If it’s not a YES, then it’s a no.
SILENCE, because she (or he) is intoxicated is NO.

There’s this underlying thinking that I’ve noticed, and at some small level, it has annoyed me.  My friend Jessica shared some of her thoughts on Facebook, and I realized it brought to the surface the issues that I had with those of the Boy Mom Tribe.  Not everyone is guilty of this, there are many great Moms who raise amazing, strong, compassionate men who value women.  That being said, there are some Moms we can always count on to give a hearty “I’m so glad I only have boys” when talking about certain aspects of raising a daughter.

Truthfully, I’m sure they mean no harm in it.  There may be a bit of relief knowing that they’ll never have to parent someone that has a menstrual cycle.  However, we’re not exempt from teaching our kids certain life lessons because of their gender.    Adopting the “boys will be boys” attitude and shying away from conversations that affect girls and women isn’t going to cut it.

Those conversations are how they will learn that WOMEN HAVE VALUE.

Almost every morning when I’m dropping my oldest son off at school, a commercial comes on the radio.  “There’s something you must have if you’re going to have sex.”  The first time I heard it, I thought… condoms?  It was actually a commercial about CONSENT.  Admittedly, I thought it was strange.  Depending on a kid’s age, it could be thought of as inappropriate.  Today, I have a new appreciation for that commercial.  It is a conversation starter.  It is a lesson for the child or teenager whose parents may be avoiding the hard topics.

It is doing our job, parents.

The ruling in this case goes far beyond that of a “white boy who is rich and has privilege.

Since yesterday morning when I read the victim’s full impact statement, I cannot stop thinking about HER.

I am disgusted at the sentence.
I am disgusted by Judge Aaron Persky.
I am disgusted by Turner, his father and all friends who wrote “reference letters” essentially blaming college “party culture”; rather than laying responsibility at the feet of the person who violated this woman.

I am incredibly proud of HER.
I don’t know her name, have no idea what she looks like.  But in reading her words that she boldly said while facing him in court; I felt her strength, honor and dignity.  I am hopeful that she will be able to make her voice heard and mold this horrifying ordeal into a platform that will help others.  She is capable.  There was a determination in her statement that was louder than her brokenness.

I hope she knows that she is VALUED.

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