My daughter, Jane, suffered a severe and life threatening brain injury on December 29th, 2017. It has robbed her of what was most dear to her; her academics, and has left her living with severe daily pain and anxiety. She was graduating from high school a year early and was one of only two students accepted to NYU out of over 20 students from her high school who applied. It was a dream come true! And a dream she had worked incredibly hard for. Two weeks after her NYU acceptance letter came, her life changed forever.
As much as I wish I could undo the injury and get my Sweet Jane back, which of course I would give anything to do, part of me feels a strange sense of relief. What I did not know prior to this fateful night was that Jane was in a dangerous and abusive relationship with the young man she was with the night the injury occurred. He had raped her, hit her, and emotionally and psychologically abused her to maintain his control over her. When she would try to stand up for herself or leave him he would threaten to kill himself and use guilt and physical violence to scare her into staying. If Jane had not nearly died from the head injury who knows when she finally would have had the courage to tell me what was happening to her. The true cause of which we will never know as he was the only person with her at the time, and Jane cannot remember her injury. However, her medical team all agree there is no way Jane's injuries were an accident. The young man's story, which has changed a couple times, simply could not cause the severity of the injuries she sustained. As one of her care providers stated to me, "I do not believe at all this was an accident. This was the result of physical violence." At least now she is free from him, and has finally started on her long road to recovery.
You may think, “This could never happen to my child.” You are wrong. Jane is a brilliant, strong, and fiercely outspoken 17 year old girl. Her now ex-boyfriend seemed like a great kid at first. He is from a “good family.” I felt like my Sweet Jane was “safe” with him. I was wrong.
Even the strongest and brightest of young people can fall victim to the powerful dynamic of abusive relationships. And statistically, your daughters are far more likely to know the pain of sexual assault than not. The odds that a young woman reaches her 30’s never having experienced some kind of sexual abuse/assault are extremely low. This must be changed.
There are many wonderful programs providing assistance to victims after the fact, and they are crucially important and still need our support. The problem is we keep focusing on the victims. We need to finally address what is going wrong with our boys. We need to stop this cycle of entitlement, control, ego, and abuse that our boys are being programmed into.
We Need To Educate.
The Jane Foundation is a non-profit organization that focuses on creating programs to educate our children, starting in pre-school and grade school, about what a healthy relationship looks like. We will educate them about their bodies, setting boundaries they are comfortable with, and sexuality as part of the human experience, normalizing these conversations instead of making them taboo. We will educate children very early on about the feelings and changes they will experience and give them tools and guidelines to fall back on when the hormones, media, internet and peer pressure seem overwhelming. We will stop the cycle of dating and domestic violence, abuse, and control before it starts.
Educated People Make Better Decisions. Always.
We are just starting out on our mission and need your help. We are in the research phase, studying how countries around the world teach children about these complicated issues starting at much younger ages than here in the US. We also plan to work with legislators to change laws and hold schools to much higher standards when it comes to protecting the children and teens who are brave enough to speak up about sexual abuse/assault from the almost guaranteed retaliation they will experience. Lake Oswego High School has failed miserably in this regard, which has compounded Jane’s pain and anxiety exponentially.
It is possible to teach children to genuinely respect each other and to build respectful and safe relationships as they grow into their adolescent and teen years. However, they need our guidance. They need to be shown the way.
The Jane Foundation will help make this change.
Please donate if you can, and share our story with your friends and family. Together we can stop the cycle of dating/domestic violence before it starts!
The Jane Family
All Donations Are Tax Deductible.