Brock Turner, Ed Shockley and Injustice

 

We all know his name, and what he did.  Brock Turner, Stanford University student and member of the swim team, raped Emily Doe behind a dumpster while she was unconscious. Although the judge in this case is pathetic, rendering a sentence that can in no way be construed as justice, and Turner’s own father is far more concerned with his son’s lack of interest in what once gave him pleasure – namely rib-eye steaks and junk food, the larger community is making sure Turner – and even his would be supporters, feel the weight of his crime; USA Swimming has banned him from the sport for life, fellow Stanford students are demanding that Turner issue a public apology to his victim, the University has effectively expelled him,  and long time friend, Leslie Rasmussen, is feeling the backlash for a letter written to Judge Aaron Persky on Turner’s behalf; Rasmussen said, in part, that she “didn’t think it was fair to base the fate of the next 10+ years of his (Brock Turner) life on the decision of a girl who doesn’t remember anything but the amount she drank to press charges against him.”  Those comments, along with others, have cost Rasmussen personally: her band, Good English, has had several appearances cancelled since her comments were made public, and now Behind The Curtains Media, the band’s publicity firm, has severed all ties with Rasmussen and her band as they do not support her position.  Good for them, good for everyone who is finding a way to impose consequences on Brock Turner and all those who support the idea that he should not be made to feel the full weight of his crime.

Turner will have to register as a sex offender, which is the only part of his sentence that even begins to hold him accountable for what he has done.  But Emily Doe was given a life sentence; she will live with Turner’s actions for the rest of her life.

Stories like Turner’s make my blood boil, as well they should – every decent, thinking, feeling human being should be outraged at what he did, but for me the injustice is difficult to bear – it hits just a little too close to home.

When I read Emily Doe’s letter to the court, I cried; her life has been forever altered, just as the life of the young girl Ed raped was — and she found no justice through the courts either.  Her rapist, like Emily Doe’s, was given a slap on the wrist and returned to society more-or-less unscathed, and definitely unchanged.

At least the larger community has taken a stand against Brock Turner …

Last week, Ed’s stepson became a father again, and this time the baby is a girl.  I saw a photod (below)  of him holding this newborn; he was smiling and surrounded by people who know his crimes and still allow him a role in this innocent child’s life.  I felt rage; this man molested my sisters – his own daughters, and raped a fourteen year old girl, and yet there he was, being given every opportunity to do it all again.  When decent people accept child abusers/molesters and rapists as one of their own, I feel sick, disgusted and powerless.

Ed Shockley with his step-son’s newborn daughter- photo removed out of consideration for Jeff Ward and his family.

No one has ever held Ed Shockley accountable for anything, and he, like Brock Turner, wallows in a sea of emotional detachment, and even self-pity.  They feel victimized, but they do not feel their victims’ pain.

Legal maneuvering – expungement, and the fact that he did not have to register as a sex-offender, has allowed Ed a place in society along side decent people, and that scares the hell out of me.  He is, and ever will be, a child abuser, a child molester, and a rapist.  Expunging his record so that he did not have to register as a sex-offender does not mean he did not commit these heinous crimes — it means the system values the victims less than the perpetrator.

I just hope the people charged with keeping the children in his life safe understand this.

 

 

A Conclusion:

A non-linear background:  Close to four years ago, in the midst of recovery but already emotionally stable, I reached out to the woman Ed raped when she was a child.  I had no idea if she would return my call, and I certainly didn’t want to cause her emotional pain or distress, but I needed answers only she could provide.

And provide them she did.

By this point, I had had three psychiatrists and three therapists – including those who treated me during a brief out-patient hospitalization – all share with me their belief that I was sexually abused as a child …

To this day I don’t remember being sexually abused … but I do recognize that beatings given in the way my parents, particularly Ed, gave them are a form of ritualized sexual abuse, and that only a sadist could actually do what Ed did to me time and time again; the beatings were perverse and I’ve come to believe, in large part due to admissions he made in our email correspondence, they were sexually gratifying for him to give.

Diagnostically, my medical team also took into consideration Ed’s conviction of Lewd and Lascivious Acts With a Minor, and my sister and mother’s allegations that Ed had molested both Elizabeth and Janet when suggesting I had endured sexual abuse …

and they stated there were probably more I didn’t know about; sexual abusers do not usually have a single victim – (Bill Cosby, anyone?) which I learned was true when I began speaking to my aunt Bev again.  Secrets in abusive families are dark, deep, tangled and common.

And I could not ignore the fact that my illness is consistent with sexual abuse in childhood …

So I reached out to the woman Ed raped when she was a child.  She is pretty amazing.  She was honest and forthright as she shared with me the details of what was the worst moment of her life.  Speaking to me was difficult for her on many levels, but she was gentle, and as kind as she could be, in telling me what a monster my father is.  She believed she had to speak to me – had to answer my questions because I had to know what Ed was capable of doing to a child just in case there were children in his life currently.  She asked how Elizabeth was, and wished her well, and she was very glad to learn Ed had no contact with his grandchildren.  She spoke with complete emotional candor that reduced us both to tears …

When Ed and I began speaking (emailing) he was reluctant to share with me the details of his depraved act against this innocent young girl, claiming this incident had no impact on my life – my growing up or my childhood.  (yes, he really said this) When I finally insisted he speak to me about it, he told the story from a very cold and sterile perspective, a  perspective that considered ONLY his feelings — what she must have felt wasn’t even a mention in his narrative.  His facts were similar to hers, but only to a point; he raped her; he took something from her that was not his to take.  She was victimized and sexually violated, and she has lived with the consequences of his actions every day since then.

In conclusion:

I believe in fact, evidence and science.  The case against Ed is pretty damning, and there has been no redemption, no change in heart or soul that I have witnessed.

I remain fearful for the young children now in his life, but I am thankful Elizabeth and I weren’t foolish enough to allow him a place in the lives of our own children.

I understand now that Pat’s motivation – making me hate my father – does not mean that what she said about Ed isn’t true.

I will never know all of what happened to me, or my sisters, when we were children;  I’m strangely OK with that, for now; however, I would still welcome the answers to questions no child should ever have to ask.

There will likely never be a complete conclusion.

Out Loud Thoughts

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My childhood memories are dark, and they play in my head like a horror movie matinee on a grey, stormy day – they can leave me feeling haunted and unsettled.

Ed’s brief return to the fringes of my life has given me pause, and much to consider and reconcile with all I had previously processed and concluded.

To begin with, because I once again have a close relationship with my aunt Bev, I have information about Ed I didn’t have before, information that causes me to rethink much of my position on Ed’s ability to sexually abuse a child.  My aunt was very young (10ish) when she told Pat (her sister) and my grandmother (her mother) that Ed would watch (read, leer at) her take a bath when she was staying at our house; they didn’t believe her, so she didn’t tell my grandfather … so much would likely be different if she had; I suspect he would have believed her unequivocally.  Children DO NOT make up sexual impropriety on the part of an adult …

Ed would send my mother out of the house and then force Bev to take a bath; this happened several times.

As I have stated before, my mother did not accuse Ed of sexually abusing my sister until after they divorced, and then I never heard the end of it.  My view: it was crystal clear that she wanted me to hate him, and this allegation was a way to discredit him in my eyes.  I knew my mother so well, even then, that I was determined not to personally consider the possibility that Ed had molested Elizabeth, and/or Janet …

but what if, in my stubborn and youthful determination to disbelieve Pat – someone whose motivations I had long since stopped trusting to be benevolent, I closed my eyes to the truth?

Pat, just before I left her house for good and all, had a private and tearful conversation with Rhonda – a conversation in which she made Rhonda promise if we ever got married and had children she would never, ever leave them alone with Ed. She told Rhonda that Ed had sexually abused Janet and Elizabeth, but that I didn’t believe this …

And I hear the words of medical professionals echoing in my head:

“I strongly believe, in addition to the physical and emotional abuse you clearly recall, you were also sexually abused in childhood, Mr.  Shockley, and these memories you have repressed.”  — every therapist and psychiatrist I have ever seen.

And Ed went to prison for Lewd and Lascivious Acts with a Minor – she was fourteen.  This is a charge I call rape; any non-consensual sexual act is, to my way of thinking, rape.  Not only could she not legally consent at fourteen, she didn’t consent by his own admission.

My instincts tell me to be wary of him …

I feel gullible and naive, until I remember the film noir set my childhood was filmed on; I learned to block out as much as I could …

It kept me alive,

and sane.

Ed’s Character

Following my aunt’s comment, which can be found in this post, I spent a lot of time thinking about the character of a man who could rape a fourteen year old child and then claim the act was consensual.

I asked my wife for her thoughts, my sons for their’s – I even spoke to a few trusted friends.

Ironically,  Tony Soprano even weighed in – not on Ed’s character directly of course.  I am currently watching The Sopranos for the first time; I know I’m a little late to the party, but I’m a binge watcher – I could never get into weekly viewing, and now FireTV has rewarded me for my patience in waiting for a better way to watch The Sopranos.  Anyway, in season one, Meadow’s soccer coach has sex with one of the players on their team – a girl in the 11th grade.  Although this act is said to be consensual, even Tony knows this act makes the coach ‘a piece of shit.’  And Carmella Soprano chimes in noting that Meadow’s friend is a child, and a child cannot consent to having sex with an adult.

Whereas I do know the function of a small sample size, and Tony Soprano’s opinion doesn’t count at all, I was comforted to know my family and friends don’t view Ed in any better light than I do … Perverse Bastard was just about the kindest comment I heard.

It is sick and depraved for an adult man to have sex with a child.  Even if this child gave her consent, which she did not do, and could not do under the law – there is the matter of what this entire thing says about Ed’s character.

He began the evening “sleeping” between his daughter and her friend.  Who in their right mind would do this?  Where is the judgment? Where is the innate awareness that this is wrong, perverse and creepy?

At fourteen, she was in her first year of high school.  I’ve taught high school – freshman girls still bring stuffed animals to school; they are still children in every sense of the word.  Ed had sex with a child and any way you look at the situation, that is sick.

Where was his morality?  Where was his integrity, his honor?  Where in the hell was his conscience?

And he has somehow made people believe it was all OK because  the girl, a child, gave her consent …

I do not understand this.  I will never understand this.  Good and decent people do not see what that says – hell, SCREAMS – about Ed as a human being.  Serious character flaw?  No – devoid of character, morality, honor and integrity; speaking of integrity …

I spoke to the girl about two years ago, it was a revealing conversation – I had never before heard the other side.  In court, Ed allowed his attorney to brutally assassinate the character of this child – claiming she seduced him, that she was the aggressor.  The charges went from Rape to Lewd and Lascivious Acts with a Minor … all because Ed was never going to own up to what he did, no matter what that cost this little girl.  Real nice guy, right?

Later, her parents sued him in civil court – and won; he was found guilty and forced to pay a settlement.

To say this child seduced him, that she pursued him aggressively, is victim blaming – which is wrong on every level; it is clearly reprehensible behavior.  The only life Ed cared about was his own.  This girl carries scars from having been raped to this day …

My aunt said, ‘he paid for it.’

How did he pay for it?  By spending a few months in prison?  By paying a settlement to the girl whose life he destroyed?

By accepting responsibility for exactly what he did and what it caused? NO.  NO.  NO.  Definitely not!

He has made everyone in his life believe a fourteen year old girl consented to having sexual intercourse with him, and then she,  for some unknown reason, turned the tables on him and cried rape … so, in actuality – according to Ed, he was the victim.

That isn’t paying for anything …

That is making other people pay.

But this incident, and the way he handled it, egregious as it is,  isn’t even all the evidence against Ed’s character …

He still beat his children

He still molested his daughter

He was still an unspeakably cruel father …

Again, how has he paid — for anything?

By having his children cut him out of their lives?  By being disallowed to even meet his grandchildren?

If you think Ed cares about either of those things, I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you …

His entire life is about getting off scot-free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victim Blaming, Sex with a Minor, False Memories + Abuse + Bipolar Disorder

I will have a full post on these topics/posts [victim blaming, sex with a minor, false memories + abuse + bipolar] a little later; I need to think and process all that I am feeling before I can write coherently and objectively on this very emotional subject matter.

However – I do want to say this clearly, here and now:

My daughter is the light of my life …

and if a grown man had had sex with her  when she was fourteen years old, especially if he tried to tell me it was consensual, the last thing in the world he would need to worry about would be going to prison.   

Ed RAPED my sister’s friend.  He can spin that any way he likes for whomever will listen, but the fact remains – a child cannot consent to having sex with an adult.  Period.  This was, and is, RAPE.  

Rape

My ACE score is 8 – well the score I will claim is 8 – but I know it should be  9; beatings like those I received from both parents are, in fact, a form of ritualized sexual abuse.

The ONLY adverse event I didn’t experience:  I didn’t witness my parents abusing each other.

My father even went to prison – not for abusing me, though he should have gone to prison for that – he  actually went to prison for Lewd and Lascivious Acts with a Minor, a charge he plead down from the original charge of rape:

It was rape, make no  mistake.

She was fourteen years old, and a friend of my sister’s.  After my parent’s divorce, Ed lived in an apartment not far from our house.  My sister and her friend decided to spend the night with Ed.  Ed had only one bed, so he decided to sleep between the girls.

After my sister had fallen asleep, Ed raped her friend.

He, during trial, allowed his attorney to rake this terrified young girl over the coals – insisting that she had seduced him, and was more than willing.

She was fourteen, he was an adult.  NOTHING about what happened was HER fault.  NOTHING.

Sleeping between his daughter and her friend?  Dear God, who in their right mind would think this was OK?

He bears ALL responsibility for the events of that evening, even if she did seduce him.

A child CANNOT consent to sex.  Period.

This event had a catastrophic effect of me – it was the first time I really questioned anything about my parents.

We lived in a small town – everyone knew.  I remember Ed trying to calm my anger, outrage, horror and embarrassment by assuring me that when he got out of prison he would have his record expunged and it would be like it never even happened.

He didn’t understand , or care, that my problems went far deeper than just profound embarrassment; my father had raped a child!  All he could think of was himself, clearing his name; ‘Like it never happened.’ He kept saying that over and over, ‘like it never happened.’  It became a twisted and perverse mantra.

While in prison, he got a six hour pass to attend my high school graduation.  He didn’t care that I did not want him there – I couldn’t face what he had done, didn’t want to face him.  Didn’t want friends to see him there …

He used graduation as a platform to proclaim his victory – despite everything he’d been through, he was still there for his son.  It was sicker than sick.  I hated him then.

He wrote me letters from prison, letters I never answered – I didn’t know how to answer.  He used me as his sounding board, detailing the inhumane conditions – the process of ‘dehumanization’ as he called it.

What was I supposed to feel?  Compassion?  Empathy?  Mercy?  He certainly hadn’t taught me those things … and even if he had, I couldn’t have felt them for him, he deserved to be where he was – in fact, he deserved far worse than he got.

About two years ago, I contacted the girl he raped.  The internet is an amazing tool I don’t think Ed counted on when building his new life. Finding her was easy — so even though Ed had his record expunged, records do exist, and they are damning as all hell.

He is the king of manipulation; he can make almost anyone believe any story he tells.

It has been more than thirty years since I had any kind of relationship with him, but I still know him; people don’t change, not fundamentally. And really, why should Ed change?

His gift is manipulation, no need to be a decent person when you can simply make the world believe you are ….

He has gotten away with everything.

 

*****  Today, the law prohibits having this type of crime expunged.  If Ed committed this crime today, the arrest and conviction would be part of his permanent record, AND HE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO REGISTER AS A SEX OFFENDER. *****