Stop keeping society’s secrets

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I just finished reading “I Can’t Breath!” by H.M. Bowker. It was like walking down Libby streets again. When I lived there, I didn’t know asbestos was a killer and that so many people were sick or died because of it.

Big Secret. Money hides it.

When I lived there, went to Libby schools, I knew some sexual abuse was going on. Just like a lot of people, I didn’t say or do anything to stop it. Yes, I know “I Can’t Breath!” is a novel, but the asbestos parts are true — and so are most of the abuse parts. We did have some teachers sexually abusing students. Of course, Libby wasn’t the only town with this problem — but that’s no excuse for sneaking abusers from our town to avoid a scandal, then they get a job in another school and do the same awful stuff. One of our teachers ended up doing jail time several years later — but not for his abuse in our town. I doubt if anything was ever done to seek out and help the victims.

Big Secret.

Today’s news has Hollywood stars speaking out about abuse long ago. At first I thought, what good is that now? But I’ve decided that not talking about abuse is more harmful. Why should these big producers and stars get to be the rich, respected, just-keep-doing-it abusers? I also learned that when any abuse is exposed, the targets of abuse get some healing out of it.

I think Libby just might still have an abuser or two of school kids that some people know about right there in Libby, but nobody wants to say anything. Some of my classmates endured this, suspected this, and because of fear said nothing. Why do we protect abusers? Because they’re nice? Well liked? Did some good things? Because we are still afraid of others figuring out our own secrets? We are all a little sick, aren’t we — protecting someone who harms others who live with the shame for their whole lives? Why can’t we stand up to some sick, nasty person, like a professional adult, who grooms and rapes a 14-year-old for sex?

Abusers know who they are. Others know who they are. Let’s stop abuse. Let’s be on the side of the victims who end up carrying this load around their whole lives. Let’s support victims, not blame them, so they can speak for themselves and make the abuse stop and get help, not more shame. Be an upstander, not a bystander. Stop the Big Secret. Help them. Report Abuse.

—S. Crandle

Lynnwood, WA

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