Dear Dan Turner, You’re No Kind Of Father


Dear Dan Turner,

I get it. You’re a father and you’re defending your son. You’re standing by him, you’re in full support of him, and you’re being the man he needs, right? That’s what fathers do. They love their children no matter what, they fight for them, despite the obstacles. I understand. I really do. I’m lucky enough to have a father that is my guide, my shoulder, my lifeline.

But I’ll tell you one thing my father would never do. He would never call me blameless when I’m the one at fault. He would never stand in my defense when I’m so far from being right it’s sickening.

See, Mr. Turner, this is where you went wrong—instead of being a father, teaching your son how to be a good man, you made him a victim in his own crime.

Sure, if we want to play dumb, we can all say that Brock is ‘young,’ that ‘he was drunk’ and that he ‘didn’t know any better.’ That’s all bullsh*t.

But the biggest bullsh*t of all, is that YOU know better.

You are an adult man, one who brought a child into this world. One, who at the most crucial time in this child’s life, should point him in the right direction, not try to use his athletic status as a defense for an irreversible crime committed on a twenty-three-year-old girl’s lifeless body.

Not try to pretend, try to claim, try to write a letter in his defense when he’s already been dubbed unanimously guilty.

What kind of message are you teaching him? Teaching every other 20-something male? That the world makes excuses for those with athletic ability? That if you play the innocent, flirty college kid card it’s no longer rape? That there’s more value in having a good attorney and good defense then taking responsibility for your actions?

Who do you think you are?

I’m sorry, but you’re not a father. You’re a coward.

You claim that your son’s life has been “deeply altered forever by the events on Jan. 17th and 18th” but I ask you this—What, exactly has been altered forever? Brock’s eating habits? His demeanor? His swimming career?

What about the young girl who cannot sleep without a nightlight, who cannot go to work for months at a time, who is haunted by memories that she cannot even fully remember?


In your letter you say your son’s sentence is “A steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.” Action. Really? You call thrusting an unconscious woman action? What, actions, exactly were happening by a girl who is passed out and incoherent? Let me tell you, since you seem to be a little confused. None.

Those ’20 minutes of action’ were 20 minutes of action by YOUR SON. 20 minutes of RAPE.

Look, Mr. Turner. I read your letter. And I read it again, just to make sure I was actually reading something real and not fake internet crap. I tried to put myself in your shoes, to imagine the embarrassment, the shame, the frustration, the fear. To see how you felt—that defending your son is the only option and I understand. It’s not easy to be in that situation. I get that.

But assault is assault and rape is rape. And consequences are consequences, even if they change a career, or a dream. And no matter how you try to spin it, your son is wrong. And he needs to know that.

He needs to be guided by the man he looks up to.
He needs to be guided by you.

When I read your letter, I thought of my father. And I know he would never stand by and let me get away with something terrible, despite how much he loves me. In fact, it would be because he loves me that he’d watch me fall. Because I was wrong.

See that’s the thing I don’t understand about you, Mr. Turner, and it’s a real shame.

Your son needs someone to admire, someone to guide him, someone to teach him how to treat women, how to be a good man, how to take responsibility for the life he’s now destroyed.

He needs you. But it’s a shame, because you’re no kind of father. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Marisa is a writer, poet, & editor. She is the author of Somewhere On A Highway, a poetry collection on self-discovery, growth, love, loss and the challenges of becoming.

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