As the six-month jail sentence handed down in the Stanford rape case continues to draw national outrage, on Wednesday a pastor and parent joined Ashley Banfield for a live discussion that has further publicized the story.
It was Banfield’s CNN show “Legal View” that helped shine a spotlight on the case, after the assault’s survivor released a powerful statement over the weekend. Banfield spent much of Monday’s program reading the woman’s words live on the air, and in the days following, John Pavlovitz, a North Carolina pastor, was moved to pen his own sentiments as part of an open letter on his blog.
Pavlovitz directed his post to the father of Brock Turner, the assailant in the case. As part of the trial’s proceedings, the elder Turner prepared a statement of his own. In it, he asked the judge to avoid penalizing his son for what he termed “20 minutes of action.”
Pavlovitz took issue with Dan Turner’s assessment of the events.
“I need you to understand something and I say this as a father who dearly loves my son as much as you must love yours. Brock is not the victim here,” wrote the pastor. “His victim is the victim. She is the wounded one. He is the damager.”
In his letter, Pavlovitz’s explained his reasons for the writing.
“I understand you trying to humanize your son in your letter talking to the judge about his favorite snacks and swim practice,” said Pavlovitz, referring to Dan Turner’s note on behalf of his son, a gesture that may be directly linked to the six-month sentence that is perceived by many to be far too lenient. “There is no scenario where your son should be the sympathetic figure here. He is the assailant, the rapist. I can’t imagine how gut-wrenching that reality, but it is true.”
“The idea that your son has never violated another woman next to a dumpster before isn’t a credit to his character,” Pavlovitz continued in his post. “We don’t get kudos for only raping one person in our lifetime.”
Wednesday’s interview concluded with Banfield asking Pavlovitz to share how he might counsel Turner were he asked to do so.
“You have to show other men where you went wrong,” the pastor offered. “You have to show them that women matter and that the victims of sexual assault need to be the ones who receive the encouragement and the support and they need the wholeness.”
Pavlovit’z blog post has generated so much web traffic it has caused his site to shut down intermittently, prompting the pastor to tweet words of gratitude, along with an explanation about the site’s problem.