Dear young men,
I don’t know your name or your face, and I likely never will. I don’t know if you will ever read this. I hope that you do, not because I wrote it, but because I think you need to read or hear it.
The individuals in the organization where your abuse occurred failed to do the right thing. They might have done it out of fear, or shame, or greed or a broken moral compass. The men who directly abused you are sick, and the abuse that occurred because of something wrong with them.
I have not been abused in my life, but I know a few personally who have been. I also read alot, have worked with people for most of my professional life, and watched a lot of Oprah. So, from what I observe, surviving this abuse can make a lot of things happen. Perhaps you will not trust people as much. This makes sense, but please try not to give up entirely on trusting other people. Because that will hurt you even more.
You might feel like there was something about you that made them abuse you. The abuse was about their weakness and sickness, and not about something wrong with you.
You might feel like no one cared, that the world is a cold, callous place. I could understand that. That is why I wanted to write this letter. To let you know that there are people who care about people, and care when people get hurt, even if they don’t know them.
I am certainly not alone. The story of the abuse spread quickly. A few columnists tried to justify it, and apparently a group of people lost their perspective about what was important. The football program at this university brought a lot of joy, pride and money to people. But don’t ever think that is more important than your own safety and well being. There are a few things that I am sure of, and one of them is that if someone argued that the football program was too important, they are wrong.
This story touched a lot of people, probably for different reasons. It touched me, because I am a parent of two kids, and also because I was once a child.
If you ever have felt very alone, please know that there are many people out there that care about what happened to you.
Even more than the punishment of the adults in this program that chose to do the wrong thing, I wish for you healing, and a return to feeling safe and to being safe.