No Longer Invisible - Shedding Light on Sexual Abuse, Molestation
Barrington M. Salmon | 11/22/2011, 1:45 a.m.
When Freeman finally shared what had happened to her with a counselor and with other members of her family, and extracted an apology from her cousin, the relief, she said, was palpable.
"It definitely felt like a load was lifted. It was a weight I'd carried around for so long," she said. "When I finally released my secret, I didn't know there was so much power in a secret. I felt like a new creature once I confided in someone."
As she healed, Freeman said she pondered ways to help make sure that no other child goes through the nightmare she endured. Thus, No Longer Invisible was born.
"No Longer Invisible was born in 2010," she said. "NLI started when (Bishop) Eddie Long was in the news. My husband and I had a conversation and I said I think the reason pastors don't preach about this is because it's invisible. Victims need to become no longer invisible and put it in people's faces."
"I got up and designed a logo and T-shirts."
Despite repeated and strident public denials Long, pastor of Atlanta megachurch, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, paid $15 million to four young men. The settlement in May of this year, ended a lawsuit they filed in which they accused him of sexually and physically abusing them.
As sex abuse scandals have exploded at Penn State University and within the Boston Red Sox organization, Freeman said the pain inflicted on the victims is leavened by the widespread publicity each case has generated. In recent weeks, Penn State and its football team have been roiled after former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was indicted by a grand jury, arrested and charged earlier this month with 40 counts of raping or abusing as many as eight young boys.
According to a grand jury, he used a foundation he created, Second Mile, as a pool from which to select his victims and may have been engaged in these activities for at least 15 years.
Legendary Penn State Football Coach Joe Paterno and University President Graham Spanier were fired and University Vice President Gary Schultz and athletic director Tom Curley, accused of failure to report suspected child abuse and perjury, were encouraged to vacate their positions. Assistant coach Mike McQueary told the grand jury that he saw Sandusky raping a boy in the Penn State football locker room showers in 2002.
McQueary testified before the grand jury that he reported the alleged incident to Paterno, Schultz and Curley. However, none of them launched an investigation.
The Red Sox story just became public in the last couple of weeks. It has come to light that Red Sox Clubhouse Manager Donald Fitzpatrick systematically raped and sexually abused young black boys for more than 20 years.
Fitzpatrick, now deceased, benefited from a powerful and storied institution which turned a blind eye to his criminal behavior. Although the owners, other officials and possibly some players were aware of what he was doing, he was never confronted and not fired. Fitzpatrick seduced the boys and bribed them with bats, balls, and gloves and used different methods to manipulate the boys into silence. A criminal investigation in Polk County, Fla., led to Fitzpatrick being charged with four counts of attempted sexual battery. He accepted a plea deal in 2002 and was sentenced to a 10-year suspended sentence and 15 years probation. He never served a day in jail.