The internet and social media have given each of us a platform to express ourselves publicly if we so choose. In many cases, this platform is used for less-than-noteworthy purposes by average Americans looking for their 15 minutes of fame.
But there are times when social media allows individuals to share with the world dark and painful secrets that have been held for too long. In doing so, they may begin to seek justice. Late last month, one brave woman used YouTube and a surreptitiously recorded phone call to expose the former teacher who sexually abused her as a child.
A California woman named Jamie, who is now an adult and has children of her own, posted a video of herself making a cellphone call to her former gym teacher. The teacher had since become vice principal at another school.
During the call, Jamie confronts the woman about sexually abusing her starting when she was in eighth grade and just 12 years old. The abuse allegedly continued until she graduated from high school. The older woman can be clearly heard on the other end of the phone. She does not deny any of the allegations and tells Jamie (rather dispassionately) that she regrets what she did.
The video is difficult to watch and the exchange is hard to listen to. But the scene is so powerful that the video quickly became viral, amassing hundreds of thousands of views in a matter of days. It was sent to the school district where Jamie’s abuser worked, and the woman has since resigned.
This very public confrontation is not necessarily the right course of action for all victims of child sexual abuse. But at the beginning of her video, Jamie tells viewers she recently learned that the statute of limitations had expired. Therefore, she might have felt that the video was the only way to seek justice and to keep her abuser from working with children in the future.
Hopefully, Jamie will choose to pursue whatever forms of legal justice remain available to her. We also hope that her decision to speak out has allowed her to begin the healing process and has perhaps inspired other victims to break the silence.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Alhambra vice principal quits after YouTube sex abuse allegation,” Frank Shyong, Jan. 20, 2014