“Just one voice—
        Singing in the darkness
        All it takes is one voice…”

Although I hate the local paper and tend not to read it, somehow these stories catch my eye.  Never headlined—usually buried, they rear their ugly heads.  Almost casually, by internet/in print, learning of yet another incident, another school…   “Amen,” I say, and think of her: the bravest person I’ve known.

As a college freshman, she was assaulted in a dorm by pond scum. It was a crime of the most personal nature and he’d done it before. The school, of course, knowing this, kept him on campus and his past quiet. Administration cared neither for the red rage of terror nor the black and white fact that just nineteen days earlier another coed accused this same kid of on-campus rape. The realities of red and black were, indeed, outweighed by the banner of scarlet and gray.

        “…And when you look around you’ll find
        There’s more than one voice…
        Joining with your One Voice…”

In a company town, she learned, the wagons get circled. As such, despite school rules, despite regulations requiring removal pending investigation, the kid stayed in the picture…on campus.

“If I were you it would be in your best interest to wait until the criminal proceedings were over,” her school counseled….

It was different downtown. There, a quasi-parental male prosecutor listened. There, a grand jury, unfettered by “higher education’s” priorities, heard.

The vermin formally charged, she returned to campus, pushing for his expulsion. He had rights, urged the college, and the wheels of justice ground slowly. Three yards and a cloud of rust, you might say.

It was a closed hearing that Tuesday, nineteen months and a day post facto.  Attorney by his side, the assailant stood before a panel of five. The victim, but 21, was deprived counsel. (She had no right, they said). Her only ally, apparently, would be the truth.

In the hall we waited—three of us—remember, it was CLOSED.   Five hours, maybe seven. All day. Jacobson phoned; my brother called and time passed. What was going on in there?  Inside the walls, alas, the school was listening…

They expelled him that week. Finally. Gone from campus, criminal charges pending, a trail of toxin left behind. Yet it didn’t end there.

Hers was a voice that didn’t quiet. As family craved she “move on” her drum beat louder. Supported by godsend Daniel Carter and the folks at Security On Campus, Inc. she strengthened other victims and lobbied for protective reforms.

Recovery would not still her voice. Spurred by other survivors, she hit the road…speaking, sharing. From “Take Back The Night” to “It Happened To Alexa”, to …GET THIS: NBC’s Dateline, where on network TV this woman of valor dared put a face to her voice, buoying others to speak…to come forward….to recover….

It happened nine years ago this week…to a nineteen year old.

She was not the first, nor will she be the last to stand tall.  What resonates…clearly…to this day, is that what never mattered to her alma mater,was never silenced.   That today, due to this Little One and others like her, a crescendo rises…and the world, if only a little…is safer.

A decade is a long time…and yet, in some ways, it is still like yesterday.

She is our daughter, our sister, our friend…and she is the bravest person we know.

       “…We need just One Voice
        Facing the unknown,
        And that One Voice
        Would never be alone….”

                                                   Barry Manilow

2 Responses to “ONE VOICE”

  1. alan wieder says:

    Powerful and important and as always graceful no matter the topic. This is a living tribute that is both deserved and well-done — one voice.

    P.S. I always told you that “three yards and a cloud” was ugly, but you’ve topped me because it was also a/immoral.

  2. Unknown says:

    Your perspective is perhaps the best part. You GET it. I love you. Stacy

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