I write today with a mix of relief, frustration and concern. My name is Vanessa Osage and I am the former student seeking amends from Lawrence Academy. First, I thank you for your attention to this story. As a sexuality educator, consultant/coach and leader of a mission-driven business, I care about this today for a number of reasons.
First, we must understand that sexual abuse and/or harassment do not happen in a vacuum. They are perpetrated by abusers, bystanders and enablers. When someone turns away or supports institutions that allow abuse, these players are also accountable. In this story, I suggest the key players are even more accountable than a man who was ill and acting out.
I have been asked by Lawrence Academy on numerous occasions over the course of decades, to be a silent accomplice to these crimes. I will not. Not when they send me away, not when they attempt to control my message, not when they offer pocket change amends, but only if I am quiet about it.
I speak now, as I did then, because the bigger picture of these abuses matters. How every one of us responds to these issues matters. I have created a website where you may direct your energy into action: www.theamendsproject.com
We always have a voice. There is always a clear and nondestructive path to justice. I invite you to join me.
Love & Truth Rising
Editor’s note: Vanessa Osage was molested by a Lawrence Academy employee in 1993 while she was attending the school. A story of her ordeal was published in this newspaper on June 1, titled “A Nightmare Without End.”