A Conversation With My Son About the Stanford Rape Case

My ten-year-old son now knows about rape. I told him.  I had that conversation, the conversation that made me sick to my stomach, the conversation that I wish wasn’t necessary, the words that I wish my son didn’t know.  But now he knows it all. Because he is ten. Because he will one day be a man. Because he has a sister, a mother, friends who are girls. And because he lives in a world where these conversations need to be had. And so we talked.  I made him a cup of decaf just how he likes it with a huge teaspoon of sugar and lots of milk and asked him to come sit with me on the couch.  I told him I had something hard to talk to him about, something that would be very upsetting, but something that he needed to know. And then I spilled out the details.  One-by-one.  Fact-by-fact. College students at a party who drank too much. A once-promising athlete named Brock Turner. A brutal rape behind a dumpster. A heroic rescue by men who were willing to intervene when they very easily could have turned a blind eye. An attempted escape. An arrest. A conviction. And then I came to the end. “And so, the judge sentenced him to six months in jail.” My son’s eyes darted up.  “Sixty years?”  He looked at me, confused, as if he must have misheard me. “No, six months.” “Six years?”  This time, his brow furrowed. “No, Joey, six months.” “But mom, he hurt her so badly.  He’s so dangerous.  How do we know he won’t do...
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