I did an interview with Channel 4 this past week, set to air tomorrow, March 11, was one of the toughest I can recall. Maybe it was because it had been so long since giving an interview, or the fact that I have gotten used to typing out messages from the safe confines of this cell, not voicing the pain. I had forgotten what it means to sit before the lights, look into the face of a stranger, and open myself in such a vulnerable and transparent way.
As I shared with Mr. Tyler and the cameraman recording the interview, it is never easy to share the most traumatizing and shame-filled moments of my life. I was open in a way that only helping Sam write the book has prepared me to be, yet in that sharing, the raw emotion that echoed through me still haunts. There is a reason that therapist do what they can to not cause a victim to relive what they endure, because when we go there we live in those moments all over again. It is the reason our minds repress such moments, the details that even 23 years later make my brain spasm in horror, yet it must be done for others to understand.
Who else is willing to bare their broken heart, mind, and soul for the millions that watch? I do it for those that can’t, the victims that wouldn’t dare for what it does inside them, and for all my family who has supported me from the beginning.
The interview began about the Boy Scout bankruptcy, what I thought of it, but then it opened into so much more:
- Why I am in prison,
- what happen,
- my feelings about Boy Scouts,
- how people see me, and
- what I thought of legislation for child abuse survivors.
I apologize to those who may find my interview lacking the articulation and focus that my writing usually has, but as I shared and peered into the past, parts of my brain burned with a pain so intense I still hurt. What came out is real and raw, and I pray that it helps others come forward to release their own pains.
Many may struggle with my saying that I forgive Jack for what he did, but it is what God wants for us all – to be free from our pain. We forgive others to let go of the hurts, begin to heal, and allow God to enable us to use it to help others. If not for Jesus and the healing power of God, I know that there is no way I could overcome the past to help others.
Sure, there are times when the pain and suffering overwhelms me, but I fight on to show that others can do it if I can and am. I am not sure what all will be included in the interview; we covered a lot of information, but I believe that it will accomplish at least one thing…it will get everyone talking about the Boy Scouts, Arkansas’s treatment of survivors of abuse, and the advocacy needed for abuse survivors in prison.
In our current justice system, you are only a victim as long as you internalize the pain, but if you externalize the trauma in ways that break the law then it no longer mitigates but, instead, compounds the sentence. Law enforcement and Prosecutors are willing to use Advocacy Centers to help victims as long as it helps them prosecute a sexual predator. But, if those victims act out in any way, then the trauma is used to suggest they are unredeemable instead of redeemable with help. Therapy that extends to victims outside the system is absent on the inside, and unfortunately those inside the boys homes, juvenile prisons, and adult system are a high percentage of victims.
Sadly, in a adversarial system like ours, prosecutors can’t manipulate a jury with a victim that has victimized. Don’t agree? My abuse was completely suppressed, my mental therapy and counseling whitewashed of all abuse, and I was accused of faking my mental evaluations. Why? Well, I answered truthfully and honestly, and it was a truth that did not fit the lies they had broadcast.
In response to several questions, I brought up the statements of others or documents that shared information being sought. Why? I want you to read what those involved said, what they believed after hearing what all the victims endured, and what Jack said himself regarding what he did and why. I very much believe that if a background in abuse means someone under 18 deserves a chance to reform and change, then someone under 21 should have the same opportunity to prove himself worthy.
Our legal system and the law is meant to be fluid, changing and growing in its understanding of human nature and psychology and, as our understanding of trauma’s impact on people grows, so too should our compassion. I was honest in my assessment of how others might see me, as a prisoner with my charges, but no one can make me believe a jury of my peers would have given me the sentence I now serve.
If I have to face the death penalty again just to have my truth heard, then I would willingly, knowing I had an opportunity to present the court with witness after witness of what we endured from Jack. I could have a real mental evaluation, the abuse adequately documented and its effects presented to the court, and an attorney that represented me adequately without conflict of interests or divided loyalties. Everything would change and those that protected Jack for decades would be exposed for the complicit roles they played in his decades of terror.
I want the world to know what was done, by whom and how, so that those who participated are investigated under the rules of professional conduct for all legal professionals. What does that have to do with the Boy Scouts, you say? The lack of morals and ethics that has allowed thousands of pedophiles to use Scouts to molest tens of thousands can infect any system or group. When those elected to the courts choose to ignore the violations of predators for political gain, they are just as negligent for their inaction.
Blaming victims for not doing enough when trained professionals refused to is beyond incompetent. How can anyone ask victims to come forward in confidence that their abuse will end, and they see the officials that failed to do so in bringing Charles Jack Walls III to justice? It is why I advised all to find someone that has the power and position to aid them, and then to hold them accountable when you share in case the abuser is as politically connected as mine was?
I would like to offer several resources for those visiting the website and, through them, it is my goal to inform you of many things accepted in the medical community:
1in6.org is a website devoted to helping boys and men who have suffered child sexual abuse understand what happened to them and its effects on them as survivors.
Dr. Jim Hopper, who specializes in helping those who have been sexually abused, especially boys and men, and who helped create 1in6 Inc for that purpose.
A.I.S. or Abused In Scouts, who is a group of attorneys who are suing the Boy Scouts on the behalf of the thousands that have been abused. Please contact them, share your case, and be compensated in some way for your pain, loss, and suffering.
I am sure that there are other firms or attorney’s out there that are jumping at the chance to benefit from the settlement that is coming, but A.I.S. and those within it have sued the Boy Scouts for years. They represent the small against the mighty, and we know better than most just how mighty those are that do not want Boy Scouts exposed for their negligence, deliberate indifference, and countless lives forever altered by the trauma.
The Boy Scouts are creating a fund to make the lawsuits go away, but if there is no effective change made the abuse will continue. Girls being involved will help, they are raised to talk about their emotions and injustices, and I believe they will empower boys who are taught to suffer silently and be resilient in the face of trauma.
All I want you to do is see what happened, who was involved, the impact on thousands of lives, and special attention to what Charles “Jack” Walls III and his father, Former Judge Charles Walls II did to allow those abuses to go on for decades.
It is my belief that you will see enough to create a reasonable doubt about the so called justice given to me in Lonoke after a lifetime of trauma and abuse. Context is everything so that we see things for what they are, clearly and accurately.
Please search out Mr. Patrick Boyle, author of a book about the history of abuse in the Boy Scouts, and research for yourself the history of institutional predators. The organization and the churches that sponsored them created the elements for this perfect storm of pedophiles that has caused so much damage. Now, the churches, Boy Scouts, and other institutions are being held accountable if the laws of each state allow victims the power to.
Raise your voice on social media, on the radio, anywhere you can about how you feel about what has been done and/or not done. Please join us by adding your voice to ours, because that is what it takes to create change. The system and law are shaped by those who voters put into office, and those in office have a civic responsibility to do what is best for our society not their pocketbook.
Equal justice for all means holding those that violate the laws meant to protect just as guilty as those they seek to prosecute and imprison. Pray that changes are made that better protect the children, and that reforms can be made to help those already hurt so we may be have a second chance.
I want to thank everyone who visits my website, social media accounts, and shares what we are doing. Our goal is simple – to be heard and to share what was not and, in the process, empower others that have secrets eating away at their inner peace, undermining their purpose in life. Thank you for your love and support and, if any of you need help, I AM HERE. You aren’t alone. Be strong. Speak out.