“You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today.”
With paragraph after paragraph detailing the unthinkable facts and unimaginable feelings of a young woman, the victim in the Brock Turner sexual assault case spoke with poignancy and strength to the man who violated her. Her words have resonated in the hearts of countless people outraged by the despicable verdict in this horrific case. Her experience has become a graphic illustration of the rape culture in which we live and of the flaws in our justice system.
I look at my 16-year-old daughter and long to protect her from this type of depravity, knowing full well I can’t bubble wrap her heart, mind, and body from the evils of this world.
I ache for this 23-year-old woman, forever scarred by events she cannot remember. I hurt for her younger sister who will always feel at least a tinge of responsibility for this horror. And my heart breaks for her dad who was unable to protect his baby girl from such unimaginable pain.
Sadly, I also realize most of us will soon forget the outrage and revulsion we feel in this moment.The days and weeks ahead will move us forward with our normal lives. The headlines will slowly fade away and the next big story will capture our attention.
But what if we don’t forget?
What if this story, this heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, vile, depraved account changes us? What if we move forward into the weeks and months ahead with broken hearts, more aware of the depths of sin in our world … and in ourselves?
Because here’s what I know: my own sinful heart can be just as depraved as Brock Turner’s. Which is is no way intended to deny his culpability for his actions but is certainly a reminder to me of how insidious our enemy is. I don’t think Brock woke up that morning with the intention of committing this unthinkable act. All his friends and family who say he is a good guy and hard worker probably aren’t lying. But here’s the thing, the hundreds of little decisions he made before he pushed his victim down on the ground behind a dumpster matter.
James, the half-brother of Christ, explains the progression this way:
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings for death. James 1:14-15
The temptation to take what wasn’t his, to fulfill his desires … this is where it started for Brock. And honestly, this is where it starts for all of us. We all have our own desires — and they are alluring and enticing. And in a moment, we can — with no thought to the consequences — give in to those desires.
I keep thinking about Brock’s mom and his sister. They haven’t said anything. What can they say? As a mom, there is nothing my child could do that I wouldn’t love her and want the best for her and protect her like a bear with her cubs. But as the mom of a girl, I’d want the man who violated my daughter to receive the harshest punishment available and even then, honestly, it wouldn’t be enough. When she looks at Brock and thinks of him in jail, his life forever changed by a drunken night of utter selfishness and stupidity, it has to break her heart. But when she looks at Brock’s sister, I wonder if she hears the words of the victim’s letter and imagines her own daughter in that hospital room with the dirt and pine needles and pain.
I’m not excusing Brock, please hear me. He was wrong.
And the judge who gave the completely unjust sentence was wrong. And Brock’s dad who has essentially excused his son’s behavior and ignored the victim is wrong.
But if all this story does is make us outraged for a moment and it doesn’t change our hearts and behavior in any way, then how are we any different from Brock and his dad? If we are not more aware of our own selfishness and tendency to put ourselves and our desires above the well-being of others, how are we any different from a boy who pushed himself on an unconscious girl? If we don’t look out for those who are helpless and stand up for those with no voice, how are we any different than Brock’s dad? If we don’t demand justice for the oppressed and treat people with dignity no matter their situation or skin color or sexual orientation or socioeconomic status, how are we any different that that judge?
I was talking with my friend Stacey about this and she said if there is a bright spot in any of this, it’s the realization that as horrific as our world can be, this case has led to such outrage. It’s a sign that all righteousness, all hope, is not yet gone. Stacey’s right, you know. Those two Swedish boys who acted are a ray of hope. And if two boys on bicycles doing what was morally necessary can be hope in the midst of such a horrific situation, how much more can we who have the hope of Christ be a beacon in an ever-darkening world?
I keep coming back to James’ words at the end of the first chapter of his epistle:
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit the orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27
So what’s next? How will I, a wife and mom and follower of Christ, respond to the Brock Turner verdict? With a renewed passion for seeing the hurting and oppressed, with a purposeful desire to offer hope to the hurting, and with a focused determination to bring light into the dark places. The victim said to Brock, “You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today.” I can’t fathom her experience. But when I think about my response, it’s this prayer, “Lord, You know me. You live inside me and work through me. Use me today, that’s why I’m here.”
What about you? How will you respond?How I'm responding to the #BrockTurnerVerdict ... and it may not be exactly what you think. Click To Tweet
sharing with the Monday Mish-Mash community at Country Mouse, City Spouse