Photo by Eamonn Brown Photography
I read your letter to Judge Persky and, as someone who works with survivors of male violence and a survivor myself, I found it rather distressing. I’m posting your letter below along with my response in purple:
“The night of January 17th changed my life and the lives of everyone involved forever. I can never go back to being the person I was before that day.”
As the person you were before that date was a man who was happy to rape women I think I can speak on behalf of society here and say that we are all glad that you can never go back to being that person.
“I am no longer a swimmer, a student, a resident of California, or the product of the work that I put in to accomplish the goals that I set out in the first nineteen years of my life.”
How is any of this relevant? Is it actually possible you are expecting people to feel sorry for you because the fact that you raped a woman and got caught means that your life has changed for the worse?
“Not only have I altered my life, but I’ve also changed [redacted] and her family’s life. I am the sole proprietor of what happened on the night that these people’s lives were changed forever. I would give anything to change what happened that night. I can never forgive myself for imposing trauma and pain on [redacted]. It debilitates me to think that my actions have caused her emotional and physical stress that is completely unwarranted and unfair. The thought of this is in my head every second of every day since this event has occurred. These ideas never leave my mind. During the day, I shake uncontrollably from the amount I torment myself by thinking about what has happened.”
If you actually feel so remorseful why did you plead not guilty and drag her through the courts, making your victim recount every traumatic thing you did to her? I have a sneaking suspicion Brock, that the thought of having to suffer the legal consequences of your actions has been the thing that has debilitated you.
“I wish I had the ability to go back in time and never pick up a drink that night, let alone interact with [redacted].”
Alcohol is not to blame for what you did. You are. Alcohol does not turn people into rapists.
I can barely hold a conversation with someone without having my mind drift into thinking these thoughts. They torture me. I go to sleep every night having been crippled by these thoughts to the point of exhaustion. I wake up having dreamt of these horrific events that I have caused. I am completely consumed by my poor judgement and ill thought actions. There isn’t a second that has gone by where I haven’t regretted the course of events I took on January 17th/18th.”
How self obsessed. No word of the pain and trauma the victim has suffered, it is all about you.
“My shell and core of who I am as a person is forever broken from this. I am a changed person.”
The women of the world can only hope that the shell and core of you is broken and forever changed. We hope being held accountable for your despicable actions will teach you not to rape in the future.
“At this point in my life, I never want to have a drop of alcohol again. I never want to attend a social gathering that involves alcohol or any situation where people make decisions based on the substances they have consumed.”
Stop trying to blame your rapey behaviour on drink culture. Many, many men (and women) drink and don’t rape. You do not get to use drink as a free pass to rape people.
“I never want to experience being in a position where it will have a negative impact on my life or someone else’s ever again.”
Then stop raping.
“I’ve lost two jobs solely based on the reporting of my case.”
You lost two jobs because you raped an unconscious woman. Not because newspapers reported it.
“I wish I never was good at swimming or had the opportunity to attend Stanford, so maybe the newspapers wouldn’t want to write stories about me.”
Being good at swimming has zero to do with this. What university you go to has nothing to do with this. If you felt entitled to rape an unconscious woman as a swimmer and a Stanford attendee then chances are you would have raped someone else at some point, regardless of what uni you’re at or what skills you have. It was not all just an unfortunate unavoidable fate that you found yourself with the perfect storm for raping a woman. You chose to rape her. Being written about in papers is a side effect of being a criminal. If you didn’t want to be written about, you shouldn’t have committed a crime.
“All I can do from these events moving forward is by proving to everyone who I really am as a person.”
Yes? Who are you really as a person Brock? I’m not hearing a lot of remorse in your actions or words.
“I know that if I were to be placed on probation, I would be able to be a benefit to society for the rest of my life.”
“I want to earn a college degree in any capacity that I am capable to do so. And in accomplishing this task, I can make the people around me and society better through the example I will set.”
But I thought you said being at college was part of the problem that lead you to rape a woman? What example are you planing on setting? How do you plan on making society better Brock?
“I’ve been a goal oriented person since my start as a swimmer. I want to take what I can from who I was before this situation happened and use it to the best of my abilities moving forward.”
How about realising that who you were before this was a person who could justify raping an unconscious woman in an alleyway beside a dumpster? How about deciding that maybe being the guy with those values doesn’t serve you or society anymore? How about ditching that guy and starting afresh?
“I know I can show people who were like me the dangers of assuming what college life can be like without thinking about the consequences one would potentially have to make if one were to make the same decisions that I made. I want to show that people’s lives can be destroyed by drinking and making poor decisions while doing so.”
Again Brock, this is NOT about drink. Stop trying to blame alcohol for your rapist mentality.
“One needs to recognize the influence that peer pressure and the attitude of having to fit in can have on someone.”
Are you suggesting that your peers pressured you to rape a woman?
“One decision has the potential to change your entire life.”
It wasn’t one decision, it was hundreds of decisions. You decided to take advantage of her, you decided to lift her shirt, you decided to lift her skirt, You decided to pull down her pants, you decided to insert things into her vagina. Each of the actions you took were decisions and at any point you could have stopped. Your attempts to make this look like one poor decision made whilst under the influence of alcohol belies the actual lack of responsibility you feel about your actions.
“I know I can impact and change people’s attitudes towards the culture surrounded by binge drinking and sexual promiscuity that protrudes through what people think is at the core of being a college student.”
Again drink is NOT responsible for rape. Rapists are. Sexual promiscuity? Let’s look at that. Promiscuity implies someone who likes to have sex with lots of people. Rape is NOT about sex. Sex is consensual and enjoyable. Rape is a tool of violence and power and is completely unrelated to sex. Men who rape are not promiscuous – they are rapists. Putting the focus here on sex and alcohol is a red herring and is COMPLETELY MISSING THE POINT that rape is not at all linked to promiscuous behaviour or enjoying sex. The idea that you are going to change people’s attitudes to drink and sleeping around is completely unrelated to what you did. If you suggested doing talks on respecting women’s bodily autonomy or offered to spend your life raising money for rape crisis centres then you’d be somewhere in the area of genuine understanding and remorse.
“I want to demolish the assumption that drinking and partying are what make up a college lifestyle”
This is completely irrelevant.
“I made a mistake, I drank too much, and my decisions hurt someone. But I never ever meant to intentionally hurt [redacted].”
But Brock the problem is that you DID intend on intentionally hurting her. You forcibly raped her. While she was unconscious. Do you expect us to believe that you actually thought that you weren’t hurting her when you did this?
“My poor decision making and excessive drinking hurt someone that night and I wish I could just take it all back.”
STOP. BLAMING. DRINK.
“If I were to be placed on probation, I can positively say, without a single shred of doubt in my mind, that I would never have any problem with law enforcement. Before this happened, I never had any trouble with law enforcement and I plan on maintaining that. I’ve been shattered by the party culture and risk taking behavior that I briefly experienced in my four months at school.”
The only thing you have been shattered by Brock is your own ideas, actions and behaviour. Party culture has nothing to do with what you did so stop trying to abrogate responsibility onto random concepts. You say you have been shattered by the ‘risk taking behaviour’ that you ‘briefly experienced’ in your four months at school. This wasn’t something that happened because you fell under a mad spell of risk taking during a 4 month period in your life Brock. This is something you were very likely fed from when you were a child. In order to do what you did you had to have a belief that it was ok to do that to a woman. That’s indicative of a pretty rotten core belief system Brock. It didn’t happen because you fell under the influence of some ‘risk takers’ during a few months of college. You are consistently trying to nullify your own responsibility for your actions. I find that kind of despicable Brock.
“I’ve lost my chance to swim in the Olympics. I’ve lost my ability to obtain a Stanford degree. I’ve lost employment opportunity, my reputation and most of all, my life.”
So much about you, so little about your victim. What of all she has lost Brock? I am reminded of that statement ‘Me, me me!’ when you constantly talk about how tough things are for you now. What of the woman you raped Brock? What of her employment opportunity, reputation and life?
“These things force me to never want to put myself in a position where I have to sacrifice everything. I would make it my life’s mission to show everyone that I can contribute and be a positive influence on society from these events that have transpired. I will never put myself through an event where it will give someone the ability to question whether I really can be a betterment to society.”
Frankly I find a lot of this to be nonsensical. Surely you have already put yourself in a position where you have to sacrifice everything? I am still very confused Brock by how you plan on being a positive influence on society – in fact I find myself feeling very distressed at how little you seem to understand what you did and why you did it. The thought of you speaking to masses of students about any subject other than your own ignorance on these matters alarms me greatly.
“I want no one, male or female, to have to experience the destructive consequences of making decisions while under the influence of alcohol. I want to be a voice of reason in a time where people’s attitudes and preconceived notions about partying and drinking have already been established. I want to let young people now, as I did not, that things can go from fun to ruined in just one night.”
I want no one, male or female to have to experience the destructive consequences of being sexually assaulted. That’s what I want Brock. Because I am one of those women who, like many women, has been sexually assaulted. I have been raped on two separate occasions (once while I was so drunk I was unconscious, much like your victim) and I have suffered the innumerable sexual aggressions some men think it is ok to do to women – slapping my bum, grabbing my breast and in one case sticking their tongue in my mouth. Sadly we live in a world where many men think it is ok to assault women. I’d love it Brock if you were as passionate about ending sexual violence towards women as you seem to be about the completely unrelated issues of binge drinking and promiscuity.
Here’s an idea Brock, how about you read up on sexual predators, abusers and rapists and you find out why they do what they do? How about you start a parenting revolution to teach people to teach their sons about respecting women and what the hell consent means? How about you spend the rest of your life tirelessly working to end sexual assault? Or, at the very least how about you indicate that you fully understand what you did, that you are incredibly sorry and that you dearly want to repair the damage you have done to your victim? That would be a good start.
Taryn De Vere is an eccentric dresser, a writer, mother of 5, a conscious relationship coach for http://www.lovewitheaseplease.com , performance artist https://www.facebook.com/A-Chaotic-Embrace-113263035681066 , and a sex positive parenting educator https://www.facebook.com/sexpositiveparenting
Well said. He seems to have no real understanding of why he is at fault and keeps just blaming it on alcohol and college culture. It is so ridiculous and makes me really angry! Countless people have gotten drunk and not turned into rapists. Urgh. I hope that the public uproar around this case will lead to things changing for the better.
Me too! So many people don’t seem to get what is wrong with his letter. That’s what prompted me to write this. Thanks for your comments 🙂
His words, and those of those who have been defending him, chill me to the bone.