The sun feels nice on my face
A small moment in time to erase the disgrace and distaste I have currently embodying the space in my mind
But I’m fine
I try to rewind to a time when I didn’t feel so pessimistic about life
When I was 12 years old I loss my first friend to senseless violence
I’m thinking that was the day, when I approached my friend Henry in the halls of my middle school and noticed suppressed tears in his eyes, and asked him why his brother wasn’t at school that day
Sometimes I wish he had lied
Because I changed upon hearing his answer, that his brother had died
Over twenty years later I fight everyday to find that feeling of security, however false it may have been, but then my reality sends me into a never ending tailspin, because I grew up in a place where the nightly news was a death toll, families were suffering in a death roll by an alligator we couldn’t see, hear or touch
At sixteen I got a car and a gun
And I’m grateful for both but deep down inside I wish that I had only needed one
When I first read about the Penn State Scandal, involving Jerry Sandusky and his long list of accessories, including legendary football icon Joe Paterno and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett (who just so happened to be excluded from the recently-released Freeh report), I wasn’t quite sure why it hit me so hard. I was furious. Like, next level furious. Like, wanted to fly to Penn State and beat someone down furious. I never got on a plane. Instead, I began to research.
I was led to a conveniently hidden story called The Franklin Scandal, involving top-ranking public officials and a child prostitution ring ran out of the famous child sanctuary Boys Town. A BBC documentary produced for the Discovery Channel that revealed the depths of the corruption and evil surrounding this case was ultimately killed before broadcast by an undisclosed party. It’s not by accident that you don’t know about it. Thankfully, someone leaked a copy of the documentary on youtube. If you have the stomach and the time, I suggest a youtube search of “Conspiracy of Silence”, it’s a small taste of what’s out there. Without going into detail, my research led to a world I wish I never knew existed. To put it as simply as possible, there is an international pedophile ring that caters specifically to the elite, who indulge in the sexual abuse of children as a delicacy. They prey on unwanted kids, orphans usually, kids that society doesn’t care about, and they use them to fulfill unthinkable desires that can only be described as pure evil. It’s an ugly truth that mankind has yet mustered up the strength to face, and until we do, it will continue.
But why did it hit me so hard? Was it Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary’s detailed recollection of walking in on Sandusky sodomizing a young boy in the Penn State locker room? Was it the fact that I put myself in that situation and couldn’t understand how McQueary didn’t physically beat the life out of Sandusky right then and there? Was it the image of McQueary turning around and walking out while hearing the repeated sexual slaps of skin on skin as Sandusky stole a young boy’s innocence and destroyed his life? Was it my hunch that Joe Paterno and the rest of the college’s leaders had to know what was going on but refused to take action? I wasn’t sure. What did that have to do with me? Then I remembered, and everything became clear.
When I was sixteen, I learned that someone very close to me, a friend I love dearly, was being sexually abused by their parent. He was this person’s step-dad. The night I learned of this, I spent two hours outside the man’s house, alone in my car, contemplating trading my freedom and entire future to ensure it would never happen again. I was filled with anger and hatred for this man. Those that know me know I’m not a violent person, but that night I was overwhelmed with emotion and rage. Thankfully, the sense of morality and strength instilled in me by my parents and grandparents won the war that night, and I drove away without making what would’ve been the biggest mistake of my life.
The next day I learned something that forever changed me. The mother knew, and was letting it continue to happen. Whether it was pure denial, or out of fear of losing her husband, that didn’t matter. I went from enraged to heartbroken. My faith in humanity, however misguided and delusional, was broken. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I had to make it stop.
Why was I shouldered with this task? How did this become my responsibility? Weren’t adults supposed to protect us? Any false ideas I had about right and wrong were stripped from me, and I was left with just the secret that this person had entrusted me with. This person had begged me not to say anything. Even at sixteen, I was always a man of my word, at the risk of sounding self-righteous, a man of honor. I decided, without any consultation, that while keeping a secret is important, more important was to ensure that this horrible reality would cease to continue. I walked into my family room and told my parents what I knew, and that we needed to stop it.
That night, because I spoke up, and because my parents did the right thing, police went to this person’s house, removed them and put them in their birth father’s custody. The mom refused to press charges, or even acknowledge the truth. My friend couldn’t even speak. With no charges pressed, the police eventually left, never to be heard from again on the matter, leaving the monster and his enabler alone with two younger children.
It was like a horrible dream. In the movies, the bad guy got arrested and went to jail. This never happened. The coward was allowed to continue without any consequences. I was never the same after that, and until the moment of clarity when I recalled this situation, I had blocked it out of my memory. Nearly twenty years, absolutely no recollection. Knowing what I know now, I realize that I was traumatized by this event, and as a way of dealing with the trauma, I had deleted it from my memory. Until that familiar feeling of rage hit me.
This is more of a therapeutic journal entry than any type of coherently structured article or “piece”. This is real. This is why child sexual abuse is a big issue with me. This happened, and it will continue to happen to small, innocent victims all over the world until adults collectively decide that it’s their duty to protect children at all costs. The mom was just as guilty as the step-dad. The neighbor who knew something was up but didn’t want to get involved was just as guilty as the step-dad. Had I not said something, I would have been just as guilty as the step-dad.
Thankfully, I said something.