I’ve been struggling lately. Questioning why I blog; what am I trying to achieve by writing, and even if I WANT to continue. Recently a friend was talking about her struggles with PPD (postpartum depression), and I commented how proud I am of my wife for trying to raise awareness for PPD through telling her own story, and how men need to be part of the solution too. And that’s when she said, “Mike, thank you for being one of the good ones.”
For as long as I can remember I have been told, “Mike, you’re one of the good ones.” Meaning I’m a good man. But that also means there are bad men? But how do we distinguish? How can we tell who is a good man, and who is a bad man? Well, this weekend I got some clarity on that question.
I’ve struggled a lot with being labeled a good man. How am I better than anyone else? Why are men seen as bad? I mean, aren’t we making progress? I’m part of a dad community online, that meets annually at a conference called Dad 2.0, that I WISH the world knew more about. Certainly seeing these men being real fathers to their kids, talking about how much they love their spouses, and doing everything in their power to advance not only fatherhood, but men as a whole could show society that we’re not just “of the good ones,” but that men are good. Right?!?
Well, then there’s people like Dan Turner who answer my question for me. Dan Turner is the father of Stanford student, and all-around scumbag, and convicted sex offender Brock Allen Turner.
In case you have not heard, Brock was caught sexually assaulting a young women, behind a dumpster, while she was passed out. Brock attempted to flee the scene, but was stopped by two brave citizens. You would think this would be a slam-dunk case. That Brock would get convicted, and face a harsh penalty of multiple years in prison. You’d be right…on all but one of those assumptions.
The case was a slam-dunk, Brock was convicted by a jury of his peers, but his sentence…just 6 months. Brock received only 6 months jail time and probation, from a judge who heard the real victim read a long, and brave letter to the court and her rapist, on what his crime had done to her.
But, as angry as I am, and the majority of society are, with the judges decision, it pales in comparison to how we feel about the letter written and read by Dan Turner, before his son was set to be sentenced.
If you haven’t read it already, feel free to read it now. But really, there is only one line that ultimately matters; Mr. Turner claims his son is the real victim here. Being punished for simply “20 minutes of action.” Are you serious with that line?!? 20 minutes of action??
Your scumbag son has put an everlasting mark on a young women’s life that can never be undone. No matter how much work she does to move past the horrible events that your son inflicted upon her, it will always remain in her mind. Your son didn’t “get action”, you asshole…he TOOK away someone’s innocence because he thought he would get away with it. He thought he could FORCE his will onto someone who was passed out, and no one would ever know. Where does a young man learn such behavior? Where would those kinds of ideas come from Mr. Turner? Hmmm, one is only left to wonder.
It’s stories like this that keep me awake at night when I think about my daughter coming into the world soon. It’s this very story that contributed to me breaking down and having a borderline panic attack while putting together a crib this weekend. It’s stories like this scare me, and feed my depression that I’m not doing a good job with my son.
I know this is not about me, and I don’t mean to make it sound that way. But I’m a worrier. Some see that as a good thing, because I care so much about making change in this world. Some see it as me always taking on too much, and worrying about things that I can’t change.
I know I can’t fix this. I know I can’t fix bad men. I know I can’t protect my daughter forever. And I know it’s ok to be sad about this. But one thing I can do is, from this moment forward, if anyone ever uses the term “good man” when describing me, I will wear that shit with a badge of honor, because there are certainly bad men in this world, like Dan and Brock Turner.
To all the women who will read this…I am sorry for whatever trials you have faced when it comes to dealing with men. Just know, there are good men out there, and we are doing everything in our power to raise the generations that follow to be great men, because you deserve it.
(This post originally ran on Papa Does Preach)
About the author: Mike is a parent, a writer, and life-long storyteller. He always wanted to be an actor or stand-up comedian, but clearly didn’t make enough poor life decisions to get there. So, now he makes jokes on the internet. He’s been featured in the book Dad Behaving Dadly 2, as well as The Today Show’s List of Funniest Parents on Facebook, and is a contributor at Huffington Post, Good Men Project, Scary Mommy and BLUNTMoms. And make sure to follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more of the funnies.