Cafe Hitch-hike


My alma mater: No really, this is bad.

This is not to spread negativity, but awareness... My alma mater was involved in a shameful disregard of the truth towards some extremely harmful and damaging actions. I will always cherish my experience as a Michigan State graduate, the dreams and aspirations it helped me build, and all it brought into my life (friendships, experiences, opportunities, and yes, also loss and hard earned lessons). However, I respect the victims of this horrible, ongoing occurrence and pray they may find healing and justice.

The truth is the only thing that makes abuse stop, bring healing, or at least allow a manageable co-existence with wounds that may never heal. An older gentleman once said to me at the tail end of my time at Michigan State, "the truth will set you free," and I think he is right. We are perfectly imperfect creatures, and we always have choices (good, bad, or indifferent) in terms of what we want to do with those truths.

Now, my alma mater is in some very deep shit. No, really. This is bad. It started with an investigative report of the sociopathic organization known as USA Gymnastics and its gross neglect of sex abuses charges; the organization had a pretty well-established reputation of putting their elite athletes through the wringer in the name of making champions. The story led to a tip from an abuse victim, some charges being filed, and the uncovering of years of complaints against a team physician who was ultimately caught with 37,000 files of porn on his PC (and guess which type?). The physican's state criminal trial concluded with the testimonies of over 100 women. All of that had to happen first for it all to stop and for the truth to come out.

My heart aches for the victims and that it was allowed to go on for so long!

I know what that abuse does. Its victims live with a pervasive fear. They can never fully open up to anything no matter how hard they try or how worthy someone or something may really be.

They live holding secrets they know no one will ever believe. They know they will get blamed or vilified for what happened and be told it was their fault for what they had (looks, personality) or what they did.

They are blamed, and they will also be told they should had fought back or fought harder. And yet they were also told, when they did say something, to keep their mouth shut, it was no big deal, they were overreacting, or had too vivid an imagination.

They swear they are the most unlovable person that ever lived, and that no one would ever want to be with them if others knew what happened, and for all of the pain they felt from it.

If they do manage to love, their partner feels helpless. They wished they could had been there for them. They would had wanted to defend them and their honor. They wonder if they can ever love their badly wounded person enough for them to heal. They wonder if what they give them will ever make much of a difference. They sometimes are on edge from the tears, depression, quiet spells, or the wall that springs up from around the victim. And sometimes, they feel a deep sadness for them because of their suffering, and one that doesn't go away very easily.

And sometimes, the partner is angry at the victim because of what happened, or kept letting it happen.

The abuse survivor lives with hurts that don't seem to go away. If they do, they come back, maybe in a different form. They may drink, do drugs, or act promiscuously. Sometimes they don't do any of the above but instead, hide themselves from the world and from life. Sometimes they've done all of the above during different spells in their lives.

Sometimes they find themselves in one abusive scenario after another because it's all they know. Sometimes they become abusers themselves. Sometimes they are afraid of their feelings, or sometimes they hurt far too much. Then, the world blames them for the mess they are in. They are troubled, crazy, difficult, hysterical, or broken.

Some people forget it. Then, they have these weird psychosomatic illnesses or nightmares, and have no idea why. Mental problems, allergies, health problems without a name or diagnosis. Their bodies and minds literally fall apart at a certain age.

Some of them manage to rise above it, and it is long and painful. Recovery is a lifelong game of Chutes and Ladders. Sometimes they feel they can rise above anything because of what they had to endure, and sometimes they feel can be crushed to dust in the times they feel weak.

Guess what, I'm not talking about females only. This applies to males as well. I've loved men who had to endure these secrets and yes, I often felt their pain.

It pains me that the institution that was such a big part of my dreams is now synonymous with having one of the worst cases of sexual abuse in an American university. How does one live with having something that means so much also be tied with something so horrendous? What happens now?

downwind | upstream