Your voice is silenced by the thought that nobody will believe you.
I read this article recently, authored by Finlay Young in Time Magazine. It is a long, sad, shocking story about trust misplaced, dreams deferred and very heartbreaking #metoo moments. The events happened in Liberia, a place where I once lived a decade ago, where I learned how to surf. The country, at that time, was still reeling from the after effects of the war. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was rebuilding her country, but the remnants of war showed themselves in the stumps of amputees and machete victims in downtown Monrovia. Buildings were still blown out from the war, and families had settled as squatters into these dilapidated buildings; some had huge gaping holes and crumbling cement all around. The school system had been utterly destroyed during the war that plagued this country, and so those who intended to work on reviving and strengthening the education system were welcomed by the Sirleaf government.
This article did more than shake me. It raised a rage in me but at the same time, I was deeply saddened. How could this go on for so long? How did such a predator gain so much access and why, oh why, did the MTM Founder and Board seem to protect him? And the girls…how do you use your voice to speak up when those closest to you, your protectors, are the ones perpetrating the crimes against you?
The organization itself flamed the fire, poured oil over it and bellowed it into a roaring hurricane of backpedaling, cover-up and just flames upon flames.
The guy at the center of it did not care. He did what he did with whomever he wanted at the school. The school girls were not human to him, it seems. They were objects. He took from them more than their bodies for his pleasure. He took their voices. And the organization, as Finlay Young tells it here, seems to have stood by silently, their actions serving to further silence the voices of the victims.
Your voice is silenced in that moment when innocence is shattered, and you are never the same again.