An article came out today about the sexual abuse in the sport of gymnastics. The primary story line is about a very close friend of mine, Doe. One of the gentlest, loveliest people I know who has suffered immensely over the years as a result of the abuse that went on in her gym. The sport has been slow to respond to allegations. Protecting "the sport" vs the girls who are the sport.
I feel relieved (and anxious) to see this in print. I suspect hate mail is forthcoming. For me and for Doe and the others who are cited in the piece. In my case, they will state that I'm making these accusations to sell books. Which is so absurd to me. I would have spoken of this more overtly in the book if this were the case. I could have written something salacious and ugly. I could have written of the other abusers I knew to be out there. But I wrote the book to write not to expose anyone or anything. I sold very few and that was just fine. It wasn't the point to begin with.
I was always concerned with my friend since the day she revealed pieces of her story to me. I wrote nothing she wasn't comfortable with (and this is a very small aside in the book), as this was never my story to tell. Despite my anger over the years as she told me of what had happened, I remained supportive of her. I wanted to scream it from the mountain tops. Support for my dear friend took precedence, which perhaps was a mistake. But I felt I'd do her more harm than good if I were to scream about it before she was ready to contend with the fall out, the aggressive questioning. It was a conundrum to be sure but I chose her.
But I do feel guilt. If I'd come forward sooner perhaps there were other girls that would have been saved from abuse at the hands of this man. She was my first concern though. Supporting her, getting her to the point where she felt she could come forward in whatever way she felt comfortable. Even if just to her family.
Love you Doe. I'm awed by your courage.