In 2016, a wave of necessary outrage rolled across the landscape of this country. It was about the imbalance of power and dignity among the sexes, especially in our most intimate spaces. As a Sexuality Educator and a Certified Professional Coach, CPC, for love, sexuality & human connections, I wasn’t surprised; I was naturally relieved. Yet, amidst all of this, one of my earliest works called me back for more thorough completion…
I have decided to take on the issue of institutional abuse, specifically, mending the loophole that has allowed for the cover-up of child abuse at private high schools.
Why this issue?
It is an opportunity to address corruption on a scale that feels manageable.
You might recognize the parallel between how abuses have been handled within churches, elite institutions and other structures of power. We have recognized a decades-long problem and are faced now with the issue of what to do about it…
The Amends Project is a response to this modern challenge and issue.
Many young people from these prestigious schools go into government, law and more. They often become the decision-makers for many. If we want students to believe that honesty, accountability and justice will naturally be part of their adult lives, we need to hold these standards firmly in private school ‘communities’. I am doing this work now because it contributes to creating an adult society of greater integrity, and health.
I also have great faith in the power and necessity of Restorative Justice.
I was a student at an elite boarding school in Massachusetts in the 1990’s – until I spoke up about the abusive behavior of one employee. When I confronted this man, standing up for my friends and myself, I was soon sent away. I disrupted the status quo, and paid the price. But, I just kept speaking up anyway…
In 2016, this same school, Lawrence Academy of Groton, MA, asked people with information to come forward. A Boston Globe reporter directed me to a high-profile attorney, and I soon had the opportunity to sue with settlement at $2 million.
Yet, his approach violated too many of my principles. I saw no honesty, no accountability, no repair and no respect for either party along the way. Most of all, I saw no promise of any positive change on the other side.
So, I stopped. I released the attorney and stepped off the legal path.
In bringing this truth to light, nearly a dozen former students and parents have risked finding me to confide, and confirm that a cover-up problem still exists.
Over the past 18 months, I have worked to meet this school in a place of honesty – and carefully created a Solution.
The Justice CORPS is an oversight and transparency model that places decision-making power back in the hands of youth and families. It offers a template for prevention, with non-affiliated adults tracking whether schools fall short, meet or exceed Guidelines laid out by the Independent Schools Task Force of 2018.
The Amends Project is an official nonprofit in Washington state, with BD Services of Bellingham, WA as the Registered Agent. We simply need $250,000 to secure fiscal sponsorship through the nonprofit accelerator, Tides by July 31, 2019 to get to work! You can give anonymously online at ‘Support the Movement!‘.
I continue to receive anonymous mail, thanking me for my efforts and my “unwillingness to be ‘bought’ by the system that has silenced so many.” I envision a time when cover-ups are a thing of the distant past; and see a massive opportunity NOW to rebuild our structures from a foundation of honesty, accountability and justice.