It takes a hero
Heroes rarely set out to be that.
They are ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances, often with a nano-second to take action. The firefighter rushing in to grab an unconscious person; the soldier holding the line so his comrades can get the injured out; the police officer facing a hostage situation with a gun pointed at him.
Those are heroes. But it does not take a uniform to be one. Day in and day out, ordinary people take dramatic steps. It does not have to involve guns or fires, but it does require taking action.
We had four heroes this week. In two separate trials, four young ladies stood before a courtroom and testified against relatives accused of molesting them. They were already victims. Now they had to face their demons again, relieving the past. The victims became victims once again.
Allison is one of those victims. She called the newspaper earlier in the week. It was an emotional phone conversation. She was angry. Angry at what happened to her. Angry that she had to relive it again. Angry at us for printing the trial proceedings for the entire community to see.
What bothered her even more than having her horrible ordeal out there for everyone, was her fear that other victims might become too embarrassed and refuse to testify in similar trials. She feared the public exposure would be too much. She knew what she had gone through.
We talked some more and Allison, to her credit, said she wanted to get her message out there. Not what happened, but rather the need for victims to stand up for themselves, to stand up for potential future victims.
Otherwise, she pointed out, criminals will never be brought to justice.
It takes incredible courage for young victims of sexual attacks to speak publicly about their trauma. It takes incredible courage to stand up and say, “no more.”
It takes a hero.
Below is Allison’s message to other victims in our community. She has graciously agreed to let her name be used so that others will know they are not alone.