Getting Past the Biggest Block

 

I have been trying to write this post for a while. Since November 5th actually as that was the day that one of my heroes was knocked of his perch and the resulting scandal landed too close to me.

I have viewed the seedy world of college football as an avid fan, a recruit and a player. I always placed Joe Paterno in the too short column of good guys. We now know that there is an irremovable tarnish on his once sterling reputation. Any adult who knowingly abdicates our collective and inherent moral obligation to protect children deserves a reserved corner in hell.

While it is easy to conjure ex post facto outrage, the three big reasons that prevent child sexual abuse from being the light our hair on fire issue that it should be are: the abusers almost always have friendly faces, the abused almost never have faces, and the abused often allow silence to be the second abuser.

He wasn’t a beloved football coach with a child-focused charity, he was a priest with a youth group in his charge. It wasn’t in a field house shower, it was the church rectory. It followed the same too worn path: find vulnerable child, groom with attention, then affection, make incremental moves across a line until a confused child forgets where it is. Just writing these words ties knots in my stomach.

I do not write this post seeking your sympathies. I write because I am no longer willing to let my silence continue to victimize me. I write because I am willing to stand with survivors everywhere. I write to be another face for the faceless. I write because more than 25 years, and a life well lived later, this still makes cry in a fucking coffee-shop as I type. I write this post because I feared I might never be able to write anything else if I didn’t write this.


17 Responses to Getting Past the Biggest Block

  1. magnolia says:

    cosigned with SB. thinking of you.

  2. kathleen says:

    you are so, so brave for writing this down. it’s never okay to hurt kids. never ever. don’t know you, never met you, but would absolutely hug you.

  3. Sally says:

    My heart goes out to you.

  4. Anon says:

    Kudos for breaking your silence. The confusions and pain are constant companions even as we grow into our lives and carry on.

  5. you have no idea how many souls you helped just by penning this down – lots of hugs

  6. Carla Ganiel says:

    Good for you, brave, honest Refugee.

  7. Mayor Gia says:

    wow. really powerful post.

  8. Julie Ryan says:

    Of everything I want to say, I’ll sum it up to these words:
    You’re an incredible man.

  9. lemon gloria says:

    Big hugs to you. I hope this liberates you. I know it will help others.

    This shouldn’t happen to anyone, ever. And yet it does, over and over and over.

  10. Kristin says:

    I don’t know anything that could add to what’s already been said, but my thoughts are with you. You are brave, incredible, and it never should have happened to you or anyone. XOXO, hugs and thoughts with you always.

  11. Lemmonex says:

    Thank you for sharing this and not allowing yourself to be silenced.

  12. sw2010 says:

    I’m sending you a huge, virtual hug until I can give you one in person. If you need to talk, please know that I’m here for you anytime. xoxo

  13. holly golightly says:

    me too.
    only I’m afraid those ghosts keep casting long shadows on my present, and the real courage I need is to be vulnerable, instead of maintaining control so I’m not seen and hurt for being open that way again.

  14. the girl with too much on her mind for a Tuesday morning says:

    do you ever wonder if the reason your relationships don’t work is because you keep reliving this scene, only this time you subconsciously tell yourself you’ll see it coming this time, you won’t fall for the sweetness or the much desired affection (as much as you need it or want it)…you’ll push the person away before they have a chance to do to your heart what that man did to your body?

    and do you ever see yourself in his place, the position of power, where you hold all the cards and have all the plays, so much so that the other person doesn’t really stand a chance to know what’s going on really, and do you justify it, telling yourself they should know better, the way you should’ve known back then? besides it’s just dating. we all should be grownups by now.

    I ask you because I wonder these things about myself with my own story, and always wish to be able to say them outloud. so anonymous blogs have to do.

    • This is not a question that can be answered in this forum. Also, your question stands on some assumptions that aren’t entirely accurate. And not trying to be snarky here, but I do think that if you wanted to ask this question and get a serious reply, you might have sent your question via email, or left a real email address with your reply. I suspect that you just wanted to make a point.

  15. the girl with too much on her mind for a Tuesday morning says:

    some ships have sailed, making exchanges and replies impossible and leaving in their wake the only things left: musings and one sided conversations with ghosts passed.

    we all do the best we can.

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