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  • Writer's pictureBobby Aazami

Tennessee Watson's Story

If you haven’t heard Tennessee Watson's story, I encourage everyone in this community to set some time aside and listen to this podcast story on Reveal.

As a radio journalist, Tennessee decided to use her skill set and craft to record and document her personal account as she seeks justice against her gymnastics coach, who sexually abused her when she was a child in the 1980’s. She has recorded and documented her experiences of disclosing the abuse for the first time to police authorities, as well as confronting her abuser and the roller coaster ride involved when police detectives and prosecutors try to take her case seriously and offer it the legitimacy it deserves.

Tennessee has done a phenomenal job sharing her story and revealing the discrepancies in our justice system by shining attention on prosecuting attorney’s that are often culpable in the outcome of child sexual abuse cases that get lost in the legal system. In a State such as Virginia that has no statute of limitation on historical child sexual abuse crimes, one would think that prosecuting attorney’s, since they carry such a vital and defining role in the outcome of such cases, would see the urgency and necessity in helping survivors of such traumatic crimes find closure in their journey towards healing by holding their abusers accountable in a court of law - especially when the accused continue to be in a position where they have access to work with children.

This story shines a light on the flaws and cracks of a justice system that is still trying to figure out how to move forward in prosecuting historical crimes committed against children where the evidence is sometimes silent and most often invisible.

I want to thank Tennessee for this. You have my unyielding respect for the level of courage, responsibility and love you have shown to humanity by taking such a dark episode of your life and resiliently sharing that story, so bravely and creatively, with the world at large. A big thank you to Laura Starecheski and the team at Reveal for their hard work on this story as well.

Tennessee Watson

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