― Martin Luther King, Jr.
I am having trouble writing today, because I can't get past the news this week. We have all read about Brock Turner, the Stanford student who raped a young woman and was sentenced to six months in jail (three months if he keeps a clean disciplinary record) even though a jury found him guilty on all three felony counts. This young man did what many did before him, and what, if we don't do something about it, many will do after him. He saw what he wanted and took it.
On campuses all over America college boys, bolstered by their friends, be it in a fraternity, a sports team or in a bar, believe that it is their right of passage to add notches to their belt. Certainly not all boys (the vast majority of rapes on college campuses are committed by 5% of the students) but when the rest of us look away, their self-entitlement is strengthened.
I surely understand the desire to do or say anything to protect our children, but parents become part of the problem when they find excuses rather than teach their children a sense of responsibility. Yes Mr. Turner, Brock's "20 minutes of action" doesn't represent all of him, but it does represent the worst of him, and he will never grow into the man you dreamed of until he takes ownership of his deeds. Sometimes the best thing we can do for our children is let them take the consequences of their actions.
Yes Judge Persky, a long prison sentence would have had a severe impact on him, and perhaps you are correct in thinking he will never go out and rape again, but what about the message that you are sending to other young men and women. When one defendant is sent to prison for years after being caught with drugs that he intended to use himself, and another will spend three months in jail for violating an unconscious woman, what does that say about the value of women? What lesson are you teaching our sons?
Thankfully, two young men did not just stand in silence this time...they got involved. When they stopped Mr. Turner from continuing to perpetrate this rape, they gave the victim something else to remember when the horror of her experience invades her thoughts. She will know that there are more good men than bad men that walk among us, and maybe that will help her face her days.
Coincidentally, several weeks ago I reviewed Allison Leotta's book, The Last Good Girl, about a rape on a college campus. If you haven't picked it up yet, this might be a good time to do so. It was well written and tells a story that needs telling.
On a much lighter note, Katherine Wilson wrote a wonderful memoir in her book, Only in Naples: Lessons in Food and Famiglia From My Italian Mother-in-law. She talks about her decision to spend a bit of time in Naples, Italy after college, and her experiences there. When she met the man who she eventually married, she became part of his wonderful family and gained a mother-in-law to envy. This book was great fun from beginning to end.
Taking the Fall, a cozy mystery by Laney Monday was a fun few hours of escapism that I truly needed this week. This story about two sisters who move to a new town and quickly get embroiled in the antics of the town and a murder that they stumble upon, took my mind off of the depressing news of the week. I also appreciated the relationship between the two sisters and how they worked together to solve this mystery.
As always, complete reviews of these books follow this blog.