We may not be able to change the world but there is hope for a different kind of change. 2013 has started out with ‘change’ regarding sexual abuse and violence in the US. The conviction of college football coach Jerry Sandusky and the two Steubenville high school football players demonstrates a significant degree of change. Yet, we must continue the conversation if we want lasting change. We must begin to accept that good people do bad things. Young people, especially, are finding their way in life and need to be supported by family, society, and the Media in changing their behavior over the long-term. How does this happen? By holding them accountable and speaking up on behalf of victims/survivors.
It is the voice of silence that keeps a grotesque mask on rape and sexual violence. However, that silence is being broken, even from the few, and change starts with the commitment to take action. To ‘Stand Up, Speak Up’!
Were the young perpetrators (whose names are swirling around in recent headlines) “good” people? Yes. In some sense they were. Youth is the stage of growing where we are just beginning to get to know ourselves. We are developing character and making foolish choices. These choices render lifelong mistakes that must be corrected. Unfortunately, in these instances correction will begin in an institution (juvenile hall, prisons/jails) but we need that correction reinforced at home and in the community. For these “good” people, there must be accountability. When we choose the wrong or right to do in any situation, it still rewards with ‘Karma’ of good or bad consequences. Rape destroys the essence of the victim ‘self’, the human being’s life experience is interrupted in the ‘soul’. Therefore, we can’t turn a blind eye to the perpetrator because they are seen as good. We have to report and speak the truth. That good person did a BAD thing!