Your article on R.A. Dickey and Kayla Harrison (Stand Up & Speak Out) was not only well written and moving but also sends a message about sexual abuse that is long overdue. It made me realize that the person who abused me when I was 16 is still out there and is possibly still preying on young girls. I see clearly now that I have a responsibility to finally speak the truth about what happened so that others might be spared.
Jennifer Pedley, Milford, Mich.
I, too, was molested when I was younger. I immediately knew something was wrong and found the courage to stop it after the first time. I helped put the man behind bars years later, but I still wonder how many others he hurt. Children see their coaches and mentors as idols and look up to them for guidance and acceptance. We all need to do more to open up the dialogue with our children in order to stop these monsters from doing this. Only then can we prevent others from getting hurt.
Justin Giffin, Livermore, Calif.
I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of multiple predators. Like Dickey, I also had a lot of problems in school, because I felt I had nowhere to go to express what was happening to me. In the end I used sports to get me through it all. While your article reopened wounds that will never truly heal, I do feel a sense of community knowing that others who endured similar abuses are willing to speak openly about it and were eventually able to go on and fulfill their dreams.
Ray Vance Men's and women's volleyball coach New Jersey City University Jersey City, N.J.
As a sexual abuse survivor myself, I am grateful not only to Gary Smith for writing such a compelling story about a topic that is still very taboo in our society but also to Dickey and Harrison for having the courage to share their story. Still, one point that deserves emphasis is the role lax parenting can play in cases of child sex abuse, especially in the sports world. Blindly turning a child over to a coach means allowing athletic ambition to overwhelm good judgment.
William P. Sizer, Nashville