Something has been plaguing me lately.
Well, really since we started Oh. My. Word.
What if Brock Turner’s parents had talked to him?
What if every boy who is just like Brock Turner had known? What if they had been taught about consent and boundaries, and that not hearing “no” doesn’t automatically mean yes?
Why does this case haunt me so much? Why does this shake me to the core? Why can’t I help but feel this was avoidable?
Because he’s white? Because he’s affluent? Because he was raised in a good family? Because he looks like a nice guy? Because he had lived a squeaky clean existence up to that point? Because he went to church? Because he had just been a little kid like 7 minutes ago?
I have 3 sons of my own. One of them has curly blonde hair, blue eyes, a charming smile, connects with other people as a natural athlete, and even has a similar name to Brock Turner.
I want to say, “Meh. My kid would never do that. Brock Turner must have had some serious screws loose.”
But did he?
I’m not saying he shouldn’t be punished. He absolutely. should. be. punished. He made a terrible decision and took something from a girl that she can never get back.
I’m asking if it was avoidable.
Would anything have changed? Could he have avoided committing an evil act if someone had just talked to him?
Was it too uncomfortable for his parents?
Rewind a few years. Did they think he was too young to start talking about sex, sexuality, boundaries, consent?
Was he one conversation away from being the knight in shining armor to the girl who drank too much that night? Could he have been the guy to call a cab and watch over her until it arrived?
We’ll never know the answer.
When Shannon and I were brainstorming for ‘Not The Talk’, she said that every parent should talk to their kids about consent.
I didn’t understand. I told her that any decent human would know not to have sex with someone who was drunk or incapacitated.
But I was wrong.
There’s so much gray area. There’s so much room for interpretation or justification.
They need to know. They have to know.
And if we as parents aren’t the ones teaching them, then who will?
Can it sometimes be uncomfortable? Sure.
Is it critical? Without a doubt.
I can’t force my kids to always make good choices, sometimes they’ll make bad decisions and have to live with the consequences. But I’m sure as hell going to know that I tried my very best to talk to them, even when it’s a little bit uncomfortable. They deserve at least that.
Our kids deserve better answers.