Tennessee Watson is a reporter. She was also sexually molested by her gymnastics coach when she was a child. The link below will lead you to her story which was published through revealnews.org on August 11, 2016.
I wish I could say that this was an unusual story. I wish I could tell you that what occurred to Tennessee was a fluke in our judicial system. However, that would be inaccurate. Every year, every month, every week this same type of systemic failure occurs across our nation to very real children. They are physically and emotionally violated, and then their trust and hopes are further violated as our system continues to fail them.
Often, the adults in these cases (intentionally?, neglectfully?) place the child, their needs, and their trust at the bottom of their list of priorities when making decisions about prosecution. A common excuse is that they do not want to traumatize the child by putting them through a trial. I ask you to consider the trauma incurred when a child’s rights and needs are not met. I ask you to consider the traumatic effect on a child when through this lack of action they are shown that what happened to them was not bad, that what happened to them was not important.
The result is that the child loses their sense of value, they lose their trust, and they become confused about whether or not the violation that occurred to them was right or wrong. Because the state where the violation of Tennessee occurred does not have a statute of limitations she had the opportunity as an adult to stop the person who violated her from offending against other children. Yet, once again, the system failed her. She should have had the choice to move forward with the trial. It is possible that if the trial had taken place then others would have felt safe enough to come forward with their truths. We may never know; I hold out hope. Until we change the way our American system handles outcries of sexual abuse and stop our failure to prosecute we will continue to be complicit in the silencing of sexually abused children. JDP
Please read Tennessee’s article here: