To: Brock Turner’s father, From: A Stanford mother and murder victim

Hi Dan,

I feel compelled to write to you after reading your pathetic letter in opposition to your son’s measly sentencing of six months in jail. “What I know as his father is that incarceration is not the appropriate punishment for Brock,” demonstrates your complete lack of empathy and horrific parenting skills. Nowhere in this letter do you admit to any of your son’s wrongdoing and in fact you minimize a violent, traumatic experience that will haunt the victim for the rest of her life. Your letter hit close to home for two reasons: 1) I have a daughter and two sons, one of whom graduated from Stanford, and 2) Like your son’s victim, I too have been dragged through a needlessly long trial after the murder of my late husband. His death will affect our family for the rest of our lives, and no amount of jail time for the perpetrator can change the devastation; however, his and his family’s lack of remorse is what is noteworthy – just like yours. 

After reading your response, it’s quite apparent that the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. By writing your letter, it is evident that you’ve likely contributed to Brock becoming a self-centered monster. Your equating Brock’s brutalizing of an innocent woman to “20 minutes of action” is appalling. Why not just say, “Boys will be boys”? 

I’m sorry that your son doesn’t get excited about eating a steak anymore. If either of my sons took advantage of a helpless girl, I’d probably knock out their teeth so they’d never chew on anything other than scrambled eggs. 

Your statement that Brock is “…totally committed to educating other college age students about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity” suggests that you believe the problem was that your son and the victim just drank and fooled around a bit too much. I have a son who consumed plenty of alcohol at Stanford and although he never took Brock’s substance abuse course, he managed to graduate without ever having raped someone.

Your son isn’t happy-go-lucky anymore? Have you read the victim’s letter about what her life has been like since your son’s digital penetration? It doesn’t sound like she's in the best of spirits either. The difference is that she didn’t ask for this whereas Brock did. Perhaps instead of justifying Brock’s actions, you might’ve suggested some form of treatment for anger management and violence prevention. It’s actually scary that you can't see your part in enabling or condoning his behavior. 

Entitled people like yourself and Brock have also victimized my family. The murderer, who robbed my children of their father, received the undying support of his family during the several years prior to and during his trial. His mother and sister managed to round up thousands of dollars to provide him with the best attorneys and “expert” psychiatrists that money could buy. His defense was similar to that of your son’s, but it had a fancier name. He claimed to have been “involuntarily intoxicated,” and therefore had no recollection of how he entered my husband’s office and repeatedly stabbed him to death in front of several employees. He too had to be pulled off his victim before attempting to run away. During the trial, while his devoted family wiped tears from their eyes, the murderer stated, “If [my victim] were alive today, we’d probably be playing golf together.” He was equally as ignorant and unwilling to accept culpability as your son.

This family had ignored warning signs throughout his childhood, which was full of unaddressed violent outbursts. Perhaps if his parents had gotten him help and not DENIED that there was an anger problem, he might not have murdered an innocent man. Lucky for us, the judge gave him the equivalent of a life sentence with no parole, but that doesn’t help my family’s pain of not having a husband or father. 

So Dan, I hope this gives a mother’s perspective about actions and consequences. I’m not certain what role Brock’s mother played in raising him or her reactions to his sentencing, but your letter certainly explained your style of parenting. You talk about how shattered your lives have become since the verdict, even mentioning your son’s lack of interest in eating snacks after swimming. If you really want to help your son repair his life and learn to be a loving man and father someday, maybe do some self-exploration. Realize that being a “good” father means teaching decent values and taking responsibility, even if it causes one to lose his passion for pretzels.


KarenLee Poter