I remember, you remember, we all remember,
That September when my boy, when your boy, when all our boys,
Joined that team with radiant faces, shining uniforms and innocent hearts
I remember with untainted clarity the beam on him,
Nothing but illusion and unlimited dreams ahead of him;
Oh the vigor of a young man’s ambition.
Our boys were shining stars on that field,
Where as they passed soccer ball to each other and scored against their opponents,
They learnt the virtues of perseverance, patience, teamwork, confidence and decision-making,
There on that pitch our boys became men.
Or so we thought.
Who would have known?
Who would have guessed?
Who would have thought?
Who would have even imagined the heinousness that befell them off pitch?
Who would have known that when on the pitch our boys were victors,
But of it, they were turned into victims?
Who would have guessed that their best friend,
Their go-to guy for motivation, strength and advice in the face of challenges,
Was a major source of untold terror in their lives?
Our strong men on the pitch were scared little boys off it.
Their coach asked them to be his friends,
Invited them to his house,
Asked to help them with their Algebra,
Gained their trust,
Gained our trust,
Then breached it in ways so atrocious the very thought of it makes me want to commit a murder.
What he did to them,
The indignity of it,
Folding them over and asking them if they feel it?
If they feel it! IF THEY FEEL IT?!
FEEL WHAT? The searing pain?
The physical, emotional and psychological havoc wrecking them?
Is that what he needed to know if they were feeling?
Late night our boys cried,
Unable to share with anyone what was happening to them.
Instances so incongruent with their lives it is the very definition of evil.
Like a bomb going off in a school,
Or virgins being violated in the temple of the Lord,
How can a parent ever trust anyone with their child anymore?
My boy won’t even talk to me now,
I can only imagine what he is going through.
What he must be feeling as a man,
What he must be feeling as a human being,
How can I tell him I understand what he is going through,
When he can’t understand it himself?
Dear parents, who are these we trust our children with?
What power do we have over the people in the employ of these institutions?
When we talked to the police,
The desk sergeant asked us if we were sure that our boys were raped.
“Are you sure they were raped?”
“Why didn’t they fight back?”
“Why didn’t they say anything?”
“Why didn’t they scream?”
And the school? What they said was as violating as what the coach did.
“Rape is an ugly word especially where victims are male”
“Think of what going public with this could do to your sons”
What it could do? WHAT IT COULD DO?
What about what it has already done?
While you are busy telling us the potential repercussions of exposing you,
Our sons are busy contemplating suicide over what your team did to them.
Where was I as a parent when it happened?
Why didn’t my child report this to me immediately?
What is wrong with me as a father?
All these questions the school keeps asking me,
Blaming me for my son’s ordeal.
Saying it is my fault that my boy was violated.
They are so busy fighting me,
I am so busy fight them,
We are all so busy fighting each other,
That we have forgotten to fight for our violated boys.
While dear parents we are busy trading blame punches,
With the police, schools and ourselves,
Who is looking after our boys?
Last night my boy asked me
“Dad, how am I ever going to walk around without feeling ashamed?”
“Dad, will these nightmares ever stop haunting me?”
“Dad, do you understand what I am going through?”
And I said, “Son, I will walk with you until you are ready to walk with your head held high again”
“Son, the nightmares will end someday”
What I didn’t say was, “Son, I don’t understand what you are going through”
For how could I?
All I understand is that my son is thinking about things no human being,
Let alone a 14 year old boy, should ever have to think about.