Wake dad's letter to Brock Turner's dad goes viral

Joel Brown Image
Thursday, June 9, 2016
Letter to a father
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A Wake County man has something important to say to the dad of a former Stanford student.

WAKE FOREST (WTVD) -- When a former Stanford University student was convicted of rape, his light sentence prompted outrage. One of the more vocal responses came from a Wake County pastor and father.

The 1,000-word essay is lighting up social media and gaining national attention

John Pavlovitz said he wasn't just saddened and angered by the sexual assault and the limited jail sentence; he was outraged by the response of the attacker's father. So he wrote the letter hoping for a teachable moment.

"Dear Mr. Turner I read your letter to the judge on behalf of your son, Brock," Pavlovitz said, reading from the letter he penned to 20-year-old Brock Turner's father. "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."

Turner was found guilty in March of three counts of sexual assault after attacking an unconscious woman near an outdoor trash bin.

Turner's six-month jail sentence has been roundly criticized as too lenient. But in a letter to the judge, the rapists' father wrote that his son deserved probation; he argued jail time was too steep a price for "20 minutes of action out of a 20-year life."


Back in Wake Forest, that sentiment fueled Pavlovitz's urge to start writing.

"Brock is not the victim here. His victim is the victim," Pavlovitz wrote. "There's no scenario where your son should be the sympathetic figure here. He is the assailant. He is the rapist."

When asked why he felt so compelled to weigh in on the case. Pavlovitz said, "The event itself was horrific enough. But I think the father's response really was indicative of what we do in the culture to sexual assault victims; really minimizing the damage of the victim."

"I really wanted to speak on behalf of the victims, who are so often silenced," Pavlovitz said.


Pavlovitz' faith and family blog gained over 2.5 million visits since he posted his letter Monday.

Since then, he's been making the round on cable news.

When ABC11 cameras showed up at his doors, he'd logged 10 live interviews, Wednesday alone. And producers from "Dr. Drew" were waiting for Pavlovitz to appear on that show later in the evening.


"So I'm a little groggy and hopefully coherent still," Pavlovitz said.

In what started as an effort to spark new conversation about how men raise boys to be men and how rape and rape victims are discussed in our culture-Pavlovitz's letter seems to have lit a fire.

"When so many people are saying that's my story and it's not a happy story; then you realize there's a responsibility to what you're doing and you feel that."

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