You Make Me Brave: On Penn State and Telling My Story
It's been a long 24 hours. Yesterday I wrote a post about the Penn State sex abuse situation. I had no idea when I wrote it that so many people would respond in such an overwhelming and supportive way. All I knew is that I was (and am still) so very angry about knowing that children were being abused and that it could have been prevented.
Because I am myself a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I felt an obligation to share my experiences in hope that it would help people understand how it feels to be subjected to abuse. I hoped it would clarify why the key players in the Penn State situation were so very wrong when they didn't do everything in their power to protect these children.
I had previously written a post on another blog where I disclosed my abuse but hadn't really "officially" come out as an abuse survivor in my day-to-day life, counting on the anonymity of the internet to somewhat shield me. Yesterday I changed that.
I shared my story because I'm not longer willing to be ashamed. What happened to me was not my fault. Not sharing my experiences allows abusers to continue to hide in the darkness, counting on their victims to remain quiet and allowing the abuse to continue. We need to expose these secrets to the light. We need to send a clear message to those that hurt children that we will not stand for it.
Yesterday I said we need to shout from the rooftops until someone listens. Yesterday? I put my money where my mouth is and did just that. I challenge you all to do the same.
Thank you to Scott Wasserman from KMSP Fox 9 News and BlogHer for giving me the opportunity to share my words with a larger audience. Because of you, I was able to reach many more people than my humble little blog usually sees. Because of you I have already received messages from readers who are reaching out for help and/or sharing their own stories.
Thanks also to all of you who sent messages of support to me on Twitter, Facebook and e-mail. I am humbled and thankful for all of you and so very touched at the absolute outpouring of love and support that I have and continue to receive. You say that I'm brave? YOU MAKE ME BRAVE. Know that you can make a difference in the life of a child by sharing your own experiences or stepping in to help someone else who may need it. Our children deserve to be safe, healthy and happy. Please help make this possible.
P.S. I am not an expert, just a survivor. I can't take steps to help your individual situation, but I'm here to give support if you need it. If you have questions, issues, concerns, suspicions, ANYTHING...please contact the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network online at http://www.rainn.org/ or call their hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE. It is better to call and have it be nothing than not call and wish you had done something.