I speak as a victim of sexual abuse. I’ve seen firsthand just what it can do, and I know it hurts. It left me wondering if there was any good in the world. It left me thinking happiness was just something other people had, and that I couldn’t have any. It felt like the world was crashing down, the walls were closing in. It felt like there was nowhere to turn, no one to help or lift me up. Like I was alone.
If some of that sounded familiar, let me make one thing clear: That is not true. You’re in a dark place right now. It’s hard, and no one who knows what you’re struggling with will tell you it’s easy.
It’s wrong that you had to face this. it’s wrong that people who put you in their care let you down when you needed them most. It’s wrong that those people who kept you in their care stripped you of your innocence and gave you shame instead. Truly, society has let you down. But you can’t dwell on it.
Keep fighting. Fight to move on. Fight to live again. Fight to be happy again. It may be hard. Some days, you may not want to do it anymore. But keep fighting. It won’t be easy. Some people may not care. Some may be angry. Some may point and laugh or jeer. But keep fighting. You have families, friends, communities who care for you and love you, and want you to succeed. We’re rooting for you. Because we believe in you. You don’t have to walk this road alone.
There will come a day. It may be months from now. It may be years from now. But there will come a day when you will look back on all this and realize for all the heartbreak and pain and suffering that you’ve seen, you stood above it all. You rose above it. You conquered what seemed like an impossible task. So keep fighting. Hold your head high. Be strong in the face of your adversity. And when you feel like you can’t fight any more, lean on your friends, your families, all your supporters. You are not alone, and you don’t have to be alone. So keep fighting. You can get through this. You will do this. So keep fighting.
So I’m a guy that people usually think has it pretty tough. I’m in a wheelchair; always have been, always will be. I deal with physical pain every day of my life. I feel the frustration of not being able to get in and out of bed by myself or even get dressed without help.
But the fact of the matter is my life is sunshine and lollipops compared to what you deal with. Victims of sexual abuse deal with so much more than I and are lauded for their courage in coming forward so much less. I am so sorry that my fellow humans so often make victims pay for refusing to remain silent. I wish I could do more than this, but I will simply say I love you all. Keep your heads up. Do not give up on justice, or life, or love, or happiness. I cannot imagine the horrors you all battle, but I promise you, it can get better. I don’t know from personal experience, but I do have friends who have been in your shoes who have girlfriends, boyfriends, even children, and they are all happy, or at least working towards happiness and are making progress. I have always done my best to support them, and I know I’m not the only one. There are people who will believe you, who will support you, and who will love you. You all inspire me, I only wish no one had to suffer the traumas you all have.
Never give up.
–A North Carolinian
You are strong. You can make it. Stand up, there are people that will help you stand. There are people that care about you, that refuse to look the other way or pretend you’re somehow complicit. What happened was evil and wrong, and it was not your fault. I swear it gets better, I swear there are sane people in this world. Be strong, please. For the others who have been hurt too much to stand, for those mocked and derided, be strong. Without your voice there can be no justice. I know how terrible it is to speak out and be ignored, but I beg of you, never be quiet, never surrender to silence. Don’t stop until someone listens to you, and helps you.
Please be strong. You can make it. No amount of darkness can extinguish a candle once it is lit.
I can’t even find the right words to describe how angry I feel about how disgusting people can be. Just know that no matter how it may seem otherwise, there are people who care about you. And no matter what ANYONE else says, you have done the right thing in helping put Sandusky behind bars. I and so many other people are in awe of your courage to speak up and do the right thing, which grown adults have failed to do in easier circumstances.
I have lost sleep thinking about you and what you are going through. I am so very sorry this happened to you. I am appalled that an entire network of adults failed you. I am disgusted by the cruelty you have been shown.
I love, admire and respect all of you and I hope that you can at some point find peace.
Please know that total strangers do care about you and we are standing in solidarity with each of you.
New Orleans Lady
No one, and I do mean NO ONE, should have to suffer through what you’ve suffered through. I could go on for pages about how angry I feel about this, but that doesn’t do any good. Just understand that I am supporting YOU all the way. Stay strong, and lean on your loved ones when you can’t.
Having to come forward and bring this to light should never have been made so much harder by the close-minded, petty reactions of others. While some will try to make the issue about football, tradition, try to redirect blame, or minimize the issue, this is the work of a minuscule, albeit vocal, minority. All of Sandusky’s victims, as well as their family and friends, are taking the action necessary to end such horrific abuse. The victims are all that matter in this issue, and are deserving of all the love, support, and encouragement we can muster. Whatever others may say, know that you have not only helped to bring a monster to justice, but prevented him from victimizing any more innocents.
This site has been set up to allow people who want to send open letters to the alleged victims of Jerry Sandusky to do so either openly or anonymously. Please use the submit your letter link to write down your thoughts about this developing scandal and offer some words of support to the people who are still very much living with the trauma this case has caused.
Those of us behind this site will be submitting our own letters over the next few days and hope you’ll join us in reaching out to people who are feeling very wounded and very alone.