My facebook feed has been awash with outrage over the Stanford University swimmer who raped an unconscious woman and how the legal system sorted that out in terms of crime and punishment.
Lots of commentary, like …
and the race thing.
My facebook feed had something else about the shadow over young Mr Turner’s life after he completes his probation. He is now a registered sex offender. Good luck getting a girlfriend and getting going in life beyond college. And thoughts like that. Does the guy have practically a life sentence, only just not in prison? And what makes the thought of prison so special for opponents of Mr Turner–that we will experience rape himself? Isn’t wearing a big red “R” on his CV sleeve enough?
When I was in college, I first met women who had been abused by family members or assaulted. In the years after, I dated or was a good friend to a few others. In my years of ministry, I have come to know a few more. Especially in the two campus parishes I’ve served over the years. As a husband and as a father of a college-age daughter, I have a likely bias against rapists. I never had a son, so I can’t speak to the experience of being on the offender’s side.
But as I think about this situation, I try to discern the potential for good in this. Aside from the venting on social media.
Is this a good shot at the culture of male privilege/white privilege/athlete privilege in society? That so many men, whites, and athletes have come out in the victim’s corner: this could be a helpful thing. And as much as I like to criticize social media for being at least as superficial as network tv, hundreds of thousands of people are aware of the dark stain on a university, on its athletics, on college sports in general, on people rich and white–especially parents, and on a particular young man who had a tragic, callous, and catastrophic lapse in judgment.
I have a difficult time seeing how restorative justice would work here. Our culture, and even our churches, just don’t have the virtue in us to do this, I think.