So many people are posting (myself included) about the devastating and terrible sexual assault that Brock Turner committed. Over the last few days, we’ve seen so many people posting millions of different viewpoints. The most interesting are coming from his family. His mother shared this FOUR PAGE letter with the judge. It literally explains his life from birth to now. She states several times that their family will never experience happiness again.
Mrs. Turner, I beg you to change your perspective. There is a bottom line here: your son is a convicted sex offender. He will go to jail. It will affect the rest of his life.
But, his life isn’t over. His hope doesn’t have to be gone, like you said. He could smile again. You can hang your happy family pictures up on the walls of your new house. Your son can eat a meal again. You can one day wake up and NOT clench your broken heart and sob all over your kitchen floor.
Redemption is a very real and tangible thing. There are many people that are angry about this ruling. From your letter, your son is not a bad person. He’s not an evil human. BUT, HE DID SOMETHING TERRIBLE. Whether the circumstances were unfortunate because of alcohol or any other reason, the sexual assault happened. There is no denying this, and there is no denying that he had to be chased and tackled in order to be arrested and brought to justice. This happened.
You say one devastating thing about this ruling is that your son will never be able to teach a Sunday school class. Is this important to you? Is this important to Brock? Teach your son what the Gospel Truth actually says. Teach your son about redemption and grace. Oftentimes, our blatant, outward sin will have real, worldly consequences. We can do nothing about that. The glorious Truth of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ died even for the sexual assault that happened while your son was in college. Does Brock know that? Please tell him. Your son is going to jail. But that doesn’t mean he can’t have hope. That doesn’t mean he can’t raise his head high knowing that the very grace of God is washing over him. He can still right his wrongs. He can serve his time, and he can come out knowing that the grace of God has given him eternal hope.
You cannot change what happened. You cannot change the fact that your son has been charged with sexual assault. You cannot change that he is going to be a registered offender. But you, as a parent, can offer hope to your son. You have the opportunity to share the greatest news he could ever possibly hear, and that is the news of eternal, unending grace.
This letter you wrote is the most hopeless, desperate piece of literature I have read. Don’t do that to your son. Don’t rely on a court system to give him HOPE and MEANING. Swimming can’t give your son hope and meaning anymore, because it’s gone. Do not let his life end because of this verdict. We were meant to find hope, meaning, joy, and happiness in Christ. Anything aside from that is not life-giving, clearly. You say he idolized his swim team. What a detriment. Your son has a chance to look to something now that IS life-giving. He has a chance to seek hope and meaning in something Great. It starts with an apology. It starts with admitting.
His victim is forced to endure a lifetime of hardship. She will have to make a decision at some point in her life to either offer Brock grace or not. That is also out of your control (if you are even concerned with her…?). She will fight feeling inadequate and dirty for a long time, if not the rest of her life, and this is because of something that your child did TO her. He assaulted her, he violated her, while she was unconscious. Your son is not the victim here, and I am definitely not negating what he did.
I cannot begin to understand the pain that comes with hearing your child will be a registered sex offender and go to prison for sexual assault. I know that is completely heartbreaking. But do not let it control you. Do not let this become your identity. There is something much greater to hope for than a clean slate in the justice system. That is no longer a possibility. Hope for grace. Hope in the Gospel. God wants to know you, your husband, your son, and his victim intimately. I encourage you to put your hope in, and rest in, this Truth. Nothing else will bring you joy. Nothing else will bring your son joy.
Other people in the world, there is a lot to be learned from this tragedy.