I wanted to write you a letter from one dad to another.
I bet when Brock was little and you watched him take his first step you never thought he would catapult you onto the world stage, at least not through the law. Your dreams for him would have been to be a great sports star or a lawyer or maybe even just an average Joe with a wife and 3 kids, but either way all you would have wanted for him was the best possible chances. There would have been life lessons along the way I’m sure there would have been. There would have been family outings, holidays, sleep overs, ball games, best friends, school crushes, the cute girl he likes in the cheer team; is this when you explain to him what’s right and wrong? Maybe he was to young, anyway it’s only a crush. Movie nights, trips to the lake, Christmas mornings, Super Bowls and girl friends; Is this the point you should have stopped and explained what was right and wrong? Maybe he was too young, anyway it’s only a girlfriend. High school, studying, parties, socialising, alcohol; Is this the point you should have stopped and explained what was right and wrong? He is just a kid trying to find his way, he is a good boy who you think knows right from wrong….And then he is gone… Off to collage, no longer being taught by you, but instead guided by his mates and peers, is it at this point some one should have explained to him what’s right and wrong? Nope that opportunity lay with you, and you missed it.
Raising children is hard, there is no manual, no hand book, no checklist to make sure that we have every thing covered. But there are life lessons that must be taught or society will fail. There are things that as fathers we must repeatedly tell our children, don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t hurt others, protect each other, the list goes on. Yeah ok let’s assume you never had to have a specific conversation about rape, but what about all the other conversations that should of happened that would have covered it? Respecting woman, respecting each other, respecting yourself, no means no in all contexts not just sexual. How did you fail to have those conversations, and if you had them how did you not know your son well enough to know they did not stick?
Let’s think for a moment about the woman who’s life has significantly changed now because of you, not your son. You let her down, every time you failed to have the conversation with Brock you failed her. Every time you heard him and his mates joke about woman and said nothing, you failed her. Think about her Dad. He spent his life raising his little girl trying hard to protect her, ever time you missed those opportunities you failed him. I think about my girls growing up with dads like you not teaching your sons that this behaviour is not ok, you have failed me. You may think this is a private matter between your son, his victim and the courts, but it’s not. It’s a public matter between yourself and every other father out there that you have let down. I have two daughters, and because there are dads like you that fail to have the right conversations I have to teach my daughters they can’t completely let go. They can’t trust the world.
You may think I’m harsh, unfair, even ignorant writing this letter and that’s fine by me. But I know, that if you as a dad had those conversations when it mattered another dad right now would not feel like he failed his little girl. A dad right now would be completely heart broken that his precious gift is suffering and will continue too for a very long time. The letter you wrote about a 20 minute mistake should not ruin a 20 year life was the wrong letter to the wrong man. It should have been to your sons victims father, apologising for letting him down. Apologising for not helping him keep his daughter safe in this world. Apologising for not teaching your son it’s not ok. I can only hope for you that even though it is now too late, that this has all been a wake up call about what’s right and wrong.
And for my daughters sake, and every other woman out there, I can only hope that every dad who has a son, has had a wake up call too…….
Dan Scully (Dear Dads)