An Open Letter to OneRepublic
Dear Members of OneRepublic,
Just to say, straight out of the gate, that I recognize that you must receive countless pieces of mail similar to the letter I’m writing. My hope is that you’ll take a moment and read this one as well. I doubt you’ll find it a time waster.
I’d like to tell you a little bit about my son. For this blog, we call him Vale, but that’s not his real name. He’s a budding musician and when asked what the dream is, he said “to be the next Ryan Tedder”. Why? He wants to make music. He wants to write, to produce, work with other artists… and yeah he wouldn’t mind being a front man for an awesome band. He doesn’t just want to be the proverbial ‘rock star’, he wants to be a musician, an element he thinks OneRepublic exemplifies. He likes OneRepublic in particular due to your use of classical elements and instruments. He finds that clever, musically speaking.
If you’ve read anything about this blog, you know that it’s an entity dedicated to help families with sons dealing with sexual abuse, at situation we’re all to familiar with. Vale was in and out of the foster care system from ages 2-10. He lived in one home from ages 6-8 and was repeatedly obligated to perform sexual acts for the foster parent’s grandson, with whom he shared a room. It is also strongly indicated that this grandson ‘shared’ Vale with a friend, who raped him.
Vale came to us when he was 8; no one knew about his abuse. He kept it a secret for 6 years. When he was nearly 14, the secret came pouring out simply because he couldn’t contain it any longer. To cope, Vale resorted to cutting, an effort to punish himself for deeds that were not his fault. He also stopped eating, again, believing that he didn’t deserve it. He fell apart and we nearly lost him to a suicide plan he had concocted.
Well that’s all the bad news….
Now for the good news:
It’s been 3 years, and he’s in an entirely different place, and is an entirely different young man. Through a lot of pain and struggle he is finding recovery, he is thriving. Moreover, he has put himself out there to help other survivors, to let them know they are not alone. He has gone from a tragic statistic, to advocate.
He spoke at a candlelight vigil. He’s been written about in the newspaper twice, once in the Scranton Times and once in the Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre. Both papers used his real name, and in the latter, he allowed himself to be photographed. He was even highlighted in an international news article by Yahoo! sports writer, Eric Adelson. Even TV interviews were conducted, although they were quite outside his comfort zone. He doesn’t want anyone else to go through what he went through. Being a sexual assault victim, is one thing. Being a *male* sexual assault victim is another, it lends it’s own stigma. Vale wants to dispel it.
Vale is a honorary street team member of Just Tell and a Junior Ambassador for Marley’s Mission. He was also a member of an all male panel which discussed the ramifications of Male Sexual Abuse at the first Sexual Abuse Conference at Penn State University.
So why am I telling you all of this, what do I want. Well it’s simple. I am hoping that you would reach out to him in some way, to encourage him on his musical journey. I hope that you’ll see what an amazing young man he is and invest a bit of your time to giving him a boost in some way. …the big dream? To spend a few days with you seeing how the music industry works, how you write music, how you produce it. That would be beyond what he could even try to articulate. I realize that what I am suggesting is huge and probably outside of the scope of what’s possible. The attainable dream; perhaps to meet you and spend a little time backstage at the Camden, NJ concert on June 28th. He received a pair of tickets to this concert for his birthday. Maybe *maybe* even to bring his guitar and play a little bit. But in all honesty, I recognize that I’m asking a lot and many many people ask you for things. If you could just give him a shout out from stage, telling him to work on his musical discipline and theory, that would be outstanding. Or even a phone call in your limited spare time would be awesome! He would be thrilled!!
In conclusion, I hope this letter captures your attention and you would see what an amazing kid I have. Although he’s been at such a disadvantage for most of his young life, he still endeavors to encourage others. Perhaps you could be an encouragement to him as well.
Thank you again, for your time.