UPDATE #2-Just wanted to let everyone know I arrived safe and sound in Bellefonte about an hour ago. I'm pretty exhausted, so I won't be able to reply to comments tonight, but I would like to thank everyone who read and responded. This community is amazing!
We will be attending the trial all day tommorow. If you want to get updates throughout the day, follow us on Twitter:
We will be posting a diary each night around 8PM (that's the plan, anyways!) Tommorow is the opening statements and more than likely the first victim will be testifying, so it's going to be a very emotional day.
Thanks again for your support!
UPDATE from the road-Someone just told me the email address isn't working...Please use Roxine@Treeclimbersinc.org Thanks so much for your support!I wrote a diary about this yesterday, but it didn't get that much traction. The thing is, we really need your help-we are trying to do something for the Penn State victims, and we only have a short window of time to do it.
Here is the background in a nutshell-I am going to the Jerry Sandusky trial with my friend, co-founder and fellow Kossack Roxine. Roxine wrote about her experience attending the jury selection last week. I am leaving today, and planning on staying in Bellefonte for the duration of the trial, to show my support for the 10 brave young men who will be testifying, and all survivors of sexual abuse who never get their day in court.
So here is our plan: We would like to create a book with messages of love and support to help them get through this difficult time. And this is the important part-because we will be attending the trial, we will have the opportunity to present this to the prosecution and make sure each victim receives a copy. We would like to have it in their hands before they testify, if possible. And we believe they will be testifying towards the beginning of the trial (which starts on Monday)
For more detail, please read the diary I wrote yesterday
I cannot emphasize this enough-we really, really need your help to make this project work. So far we have only gotten a handful of messages. I know we can do better than this! So here is what I am asking:
1. Recommend, republish, and share this diary
I know it's a bit obnoxious to ask to be recommended, but we really want this to stay visible so that everyone who wants to participate has a chance to do so. Even if you are unable to participate, please recommend and share so that others who would like to submit a message see this on time.
2. Send a message
Leave it in the comments section, or email it to us privately at firstname.lastname@example.org. All identifying information will be kept confidential. Please see the first diary for ideas on how to make your message more personalized.
One important thing to say to them-"I believe you". The defense team is going to try to impeach their testimony and will be accusing them of making false allegations. As a survivor of sexual abuse myself, I can honestly say that is one of the most hurtful things to be accused of.
To give you some inspiration, here is what a page in the book might look like. This is my submission.
Note-I have decided to include my full name and picture because the victims will be forced to reveal their identity in open court. You do NOT need to do this unless you feel comfortable. However, I can assure you that if you do, I will keep that information private.
Another page (some details changed to protect identity)
You may ask yourself sometimes-"why did this happen to me?" It can be hard to understand why you were singled out. You probably wonder at times if there was something you did to deserve this.
The truth is, you didn't deserve any of this. But it may benefit you to know that you have helped many people around the world by coming forward, in ways you don't even realize.
I am also a survivor of sexual abuse. I was 10 years old when it happened, and I never told anyone for over 17 years. I finally did this past January-after reading about what happened to you. Your case affected me profoundly. I remember watching the coverage of it in the media and thinking about how awful it must have been to go through that. To have to sit there and watch as the most personal and painful details of your abuse was made public, and became part of public debate and discussion. So much of the coverage was around Joe Paterno and the Penn State football program-and in the midst of that, nobody seemed to care about the impact this was having on you.
So I spoke out. I wrote a post on a very popular website, and I told the world-it happened to me too. It happened to me, and it is awful, and it can destroy your life. And as adults, we have to be more responsible when it comes to protecting our children. We cannot allow this to happen again.
It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, because I was so scared of facing it, and even saying those words out loud. But I thought about the courage it took for all of you to come forward and tell the truth. I thought about the fact that one of you was even bullied out of school for speaking out. And I knew that if you could do it, so could I. So I did.
Since I spoke out, my life has changed. I have joined forces with another sexual abuse survivor named Roxine Behrens. Like me, she found the courage to speak out after reading about your case. Together we have created a nonprofit organization to help other survivors of sexual abuse. We hope that you all are the first among many survivors who we will help through our organization.
And none of this would have ever happened if it weren't for you.
By coming forward, you ensured that this man would not be able to hurt any more children. And you empowered other survivors across the world to find their own voices, and use them to protect other children too. Like a pebble thrown into a lake, your disclosure will have ripple effects for miles and miles. You have saved countless children from suffering your same fate.
Be proud. It is OK to be proud. You survived one of the hardest things a person can live through, and come through the other side. You are an inspiration.
Hold your head high and be strong.
With love and solidarity, always
You are all incredibly brave young men, and please know that millions of Americans across the country support you and want to see justice served. Please remember that when the defense tries to question your motives and credibility. We don’t believe them. We believe you.
I believe you
Please remember that what happened to you wasn't your fault. It happened TO you. Without your consent.
You are brave for coming forward and speaking the truth.
We are here for you.
I believe you and even though I don't know you I'm proud of you having the courage to stand up and tell your story. Stay strong and be proud!
Thank you for standing up for the truth. Thank you for your courage.
We believe you and support you. We stand proudly with you.
You are in our thoughts and our hearts
It takes real strength and courage to stand up and fight as you are doing. I hope that you continue to find a source for that strength from each other as you endure what will undoubtedly be a vicious trial with ugly accusations.
But know that you also can find strength from others who have suffered abuse in tha past, and are now standing with you. Some will be there on the courthouse steps and in the courtroom, to offer support. There are many more across the country who can't be there physically. But we are there with you in spirit, loving you, supporting you, and acknowledging the great courage that you each are showing in speaking out... not just seeking justice for yourselves, but also speaking for those children today who don't yet have a voice, and who might have suffered abuse in the future if not for your brave actions now.
We believe you. We support you. And we fervently wish that justice will prevail
By coming forward and speaking out, you're a victim no longer.
You are in control of your life once more.
Standing up requires immense courage and bravery.
In standing up like this, you represent others who have suffered through abuse like yours, and you have given them voice.
You are warriors in this fight against sexual abuse against children.
I wish you hope, peace, light and happiness in the chapters of your lives as they unfold.
If you feel waves of love and strength wash over you? It's the many supporters you do not know who are sending you all their positive energy from throughout the nation.
When you are afraid no one will listenIf you would like to send a message to the Penn State victims, please leave it in the comments, or email it to Wearetheoneinfive@gmail.com
We will hear you without judgment
When you don't know how you will go on
We will show you the way
We have been there and survived
And we will lend our strength to you
You are worthy, You are loved
We believe you
I am also part of the one in five
(Note-Republished from last night)