Braden Schecter wants the rape survivor from Steubenville, and all other survivors, to know that they’re not alone.
I have sat on the stand to testify against the man who was responsible for molesting me. The amount of courage it takes to sit in a courtroom, look your abuser in the eyes, and tell the world what they did to you is astounding. It takes more guts than most people can imagine. I would like to say, to any person that has even tried to testify against their abuser; I feel gratitude for what you have done in the face of doubt and criticism. I am proud of your effort.
Many people will try to silence you, I know. They will try to shame you, blame you, and insist you hold yourself responsible. They argue that you made bad choices, but they are forgetting that we all make bad choices. Choices that put ourselves, our children, or our entire communities in danger. Choices as inane as speeding, running a light, or as dangerous as driving after a few drinks. Not one of your choices means the people that raped you had to. They could have chosen to help you recover. They could have simply left you alone. THEY chose to rape you, you didn’t chose to be raped. This thinking only allows them to deny that they too take similar risks. The truth is they have simply been lucky enough not to be targeted by a predator. That, or they have been a victim, and are unable to hold their abuser responsible because they listened to fear, ignorance, and denial.
You are the one that has to live with the choices that you made, and you alone. You face a difficult task in resolving the convoluted and unrelenting emotions, and accepting responsibility for your actions, while absolving yourself of guilt for the consequences. Accomplishing that is daunting enough without the insults and character assassination flung at you by ignorant, misguided, often hateful individuals. You must not take them on. You must not breathe in the toxic air that they emit. And remember, you can take your time to do the work. You have wounds, but they will heal.
In the meantime, know that you are not alone. That there are many others who have gone through the same thing, and we are rooting for you! Please, when you can, raise your voice again. The world needs to hear from you. They need to hear from us!
With love and gratitude,