Hard choices

This topic is no joke. Keep in mind that this stuff happens every day.

What would you have done?

I said I don’t talk about personal stuff here, but when I read that I was conflicted in so many ways. I’m still not sure how I feel about what happened to those boys on that bus, but I understand both sides of the story. I’ve been there, and it is one of the hardest things to deal with. When it happened to me, it took me over a year before I could tell anyone, and even then it had to be dragged out of me. The whole thing is still seared in my mind, and on my worst days I think it didn’t happen, that I was making it up. When it finally came out, when I finally told the story, I faced that very same denial, and honestly that denial from people that should have been protecting me that was the true killer. Twenty-two years later and I’m still dealing with that.

So we have the boys that were assaulted, scared and scarred by what happened. They did not ask for this. They just wanted to play baseball. They did not want to be bullied and abused. They did not want the shame. I’m very certain that they did not do this for attention.

As for the bullies… to them, at the time, it was a joke. Too often we see teenagers act badly, without thinking about the consequences of what they’re doing. “It was funny at the time.” It also has to do with power, as these teenagers had over the Junior Varsity. Hazing is very much a part of high school, as the pecking order gets established, and it gets out of hand more often than we as a society wants to admit.

Which is why the coaches were probably thinking when it happened, “Boys will be boys.” I know the coaches went through hazing themselves as young men, both giving and taking. Even though the hazing had been going on for a long time, no one probably spoke up to them, and if they did, the coaches probably brushed them off, “it’s hazing, you’ll get through it.” (When I asked one of the adults about what happened to me ten years before, he said, “I just thought it was harmless playing around.” Heh.)

And the reaction to all of this? The town wants to just get through this in private, and the media wants its story. Except that it really isn’t a story. As Brenda Starr from Steel Beach once said, “It’s a terrible story. Who wants to read depressing stuff like that?” And like I said, the hazing and assaults are nothing new, nothing different. But the so-called news nowadays are so desperate for news, that they jump in no matter the damage done by their presence. They make a tough thing even tougher, like throwing piranha at a drowning man. And for what? So we can forget it all a week later, while the town suffers from this breech of trust?

I have no easy answers for them. I’m not going to pretend I do. I do understand everything they are going through, from the accusers, to the accused, to everyone around them. The only thing they can really do is just hold on, and surf the consequences, hoping that they find a safe harbor sooner than later.

As for what happened to me, I’m not going to give details. It really doesn’t matter anymore what happened; it happened, and I’m finally getting over it. You really don’t want to know any ways; you’d be better off reading Penthouse forum.

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