If you were the victim of sexual abuse while you were in scouting, it is important to know that you are not alone. Below are stories from survivors just like you, who are voting “Yes” on The Plan.
Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault
I am 38 years old, from West Virginia by birth, currently living in the Tulsa, OK area. This is where i have been since I started as a Cub Scout, and continued my journey to Boy Scouts, just short of Eagle Scout. I accomplished all necessary achievements, including completing my Eagle Project. I simply put off going in front of the council for the final review. I use the skills and training from scouts regularly and believe I would not be where i am today without the program.
With that said, where i am today, includes 25+ years of pain, heartache and quite frankly almost ending my life on multiple occasions. Beginning around age 12-13 my Scoutmaster and former Pack leader began to manipulate, groom, and eventually sexually abuse me. This was a man I trusted and respected, the community and BSA did as well. I was not able to escape this abuse until I was 18 years old. I’m not sure how many times the abuse happened but, to put it in perspective, during the ages of 14-16 I know it was a weekly ordeal. Towards the end of my experience, the abuse happening multiple times a week was very common. I have gone over this in my head many times, coming to the conclusion this man raped me close to 1000 times over a 6 to 7 year period.
I sought out counseling, only to go down an equally dark path of addiction. After about 12 years of active prescription drug addiction, 4 detox/rehab programs, by the grace of God I am now in active recovery with 10 years sober. I wish the addiction and internal scars were it, but the abuse I suffered as a child haunts me to this day. My relationships with everyone I care about and love have been and are affected by this. There are good and bad days, but lately, more good than the latter.
I am so very pleased/amazed/humbled by this Coalition and the countless professionals who are currently battling for justice for some 82,000+ claims of abuse. THANK YOU! I personally voted yes on the plan, and for what it’s worth I’m currently advocating for stronger Youth Protection, sexual preditor awareness, and getting rid of this stigma around the issue. All to hopefully be a small role in seeing this NEVER happens to another Scout again.
To any Survivor who is still in those dark times, i say hold strong, lean on your brothers and sisters who have fallen victim to these predators. We are 82,000 survivors, but also 82,000 strong. Let’s hold BSA accountable, but support the Plan and let us be a part of something bigger than all of us.
Jason, Survivor of abuse 1994-2001, advocate for systemic change in BSA. Life Scout, Father, Husband, Brother, Son.
Mostly just an average guy who had to and still endures the trauma of sexual abuse. VOTE. SPEAK-OUT.
“I am an Eagle Scout, I have sons who are Eagle Scouts, and I remain an active and dedicated volunteer in the Boy Scouts of America. My life, however, has been deeply and irrevocably impacted by the abuse perpetrated upon me beginning when I was 13 years old, and which continued until I was 18. I was a child, and while I primarily blame the predators involved, the BSA bears a significant measure of responsibility for my abuse, and should be held accountable.
Nevertheless, despite the long-term, repeated abuse I suffered at the hands of a PROFESSIONAL Scouter and an older youth member, I still believe the BSA remains the greatest organization in America for raising youth into responsible adults. Where there are lambs, there will always be wolves, and no level of vigilance on the part of the shepherd will thwart every wolf. Reflecting back, one reason I have maintained such an active presence in the BSA is to guard that no Scout under my watch ever has to experience abuse.
When I have the option, I will vote yes, in favor of resolution, certainly to gain an element of closure, but more so because I see a clear future for the BSA, in which it comes back better and safer than before, to benefit young people across the country and through the years.”
“I never want another child to experience what happened to me when I was 13 at a scout camp in the Sierras. A leader there used his position of power to abuse me and a group of other boys. I was a good kid. A scout is trustworthy, loyal. A scout is obedient. But my life fell apart after that. I didn’t know this wasn’t my fault. I didn’t know then that there were thousands of us. Tens of thousands of us, and the BSA was keeping hidden records of what was happening. There are many survivors whose abuse took place decades earlier than mine, or in a state that doesn’t have strong laws to protect survivors. That is why I am voting yes – because I fundamentally believe that every survivor deserves to see some measure of justice in their lifetime, and that the BSA needs to be held accountable if this is ever to stop. It’s time for the healing to begin.”
“My dad passed away when I was 13, and my scoutmaster told my mom, ‘your son will be in good hands.’ I fell into that category of kids for him to prey on – I had a single mother and a broken family. He would always manage to find a reason to go talk to some kid alone. He’d ask if they weren’t feeling well, if they were homesick, and he’d take them for a walk. Everybody knew, but nobody said anything about it.
The hard part is that, when you’re exposed to behavior like that, it doesn’t leave you. The scars have been buried for years. I have missed so much in my life because of the abuse. I’ve never married, and I would have liked to have had a family. Over the past few weeks, hearing others speak on Tuesday nights, it’s opened my mind and given me the courage to talk about it. Why am I embarrassed if there are 82,000 people like me? I thought I was the only person in the world.
It’s important to me to vote yes because I need closure. It’s not about the money. My father died at Bethlehem Steel. There was a large class action in the 1980s, everyone voted no, and guess what? It’s still not settled all these years later. I want to see people in closed states get money too. I want to be involved in fixing the Boy Scouts of America and making it better, because in spite of all this, there is a lot of good in the organization, and I am who I am because of the program.”
“I am very pleased with the Coalition’s dogged determination and tireless efforts on behalf of me and the tens of thousands of BSA abuse survivors. I realize in any negotiation that neither side gets everything they desire, and I am not personally seeking anything more than a formal apology from the BSA along with formal implementation of policies and procedures to ensure that abuse never happens again. There is no dollar amount that can ever change what happened to all of us, and it is my intention that any monetary compensation be used for preventative measures, including education, training, counseling, or other useful, measurable actions to improve the scouting experience. I believe that the BSA can and should return to its mission of preparing young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes. I am grateful to you for the time and energy on our behalf. Keep up the good fight!”