I have been an advocate for my brother, Aaron Vargas, since learning that he is a victim of sexual abuse. Sexual abuse victims from all over the world have shared their stories with me. As difficult as those stories are to read, they are far more difficult for the victims to share. Some tell me that I am not only speaking out for Aaron, but for them as well, which is why I feel compelled to address the statements that Sgt. Van Patten made on 20/20.
Van Patten attacked Aaron, and survivors of abuse everywhere, by stating that Aaron and his abuser had a consensual relationship that may have gone sour over the molestation. Not only is that statement ignorant and absurd, it is beyond insulting to victims and their families. It is like stating that a woman who stays in an abusive relationship is consenting to the abuse. If Aaron had gone to the police anytime in adulthood and reported McNeill, I’d imagine that McNeill would have either denied ever abusing Aaron, or he would have stated the same thing as Van Patten – that it was a consensual relationship. If there is such a thing as an afterlife, I’d imagine McNeill is feeling thankful to Van Patten for being his voice and advocate by telling the “other side” of this story.
On another note, I would like to acknowledge the strength and bravery of the men who told their stories of abuse on national television, and also Jamie Specie’s family for telling Jamie’s heartbreaking story. I would like to thank everyone in the community, and beyond, who have been so amazing and supportive. I want abuse survivors to know that there is help out there, and there are people who understand. I have listed several resources on SaveAaron.com.
Santa Rosa, CA