I would love to live in a world where instead of victims having to proclaim #metoo, abusers could finally lay down their sword and admit: #itwasme.
I am a survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of my drunken father when I was a 10-year-old boy. I spent the majority of my life attached to him, afraid of ever coming forward with my story in fear of losing his support. He became my world and the only person whom I trusted. I had no way out. My mother was too close, she wouldn’t believe me (and I believe she still doesn’t). My extended family was off limits as I was taught not to trust them. Teachers, police and all authority figures were all people I was taught not to trust. As I grew up, my father’s influence over me became God-like.
That was until I had a son.
My son changed me, my life was no longer mine. While I was prepared to die with my secrets, I knew I couldn’t live knowing that my son could become his next victim. Had I stayed quiet and chose to protect my father instead of my son, my life would have ended had I found out he too was victimized.
Coming forward has been the most challenging thing that I have ever done with my life. I have gone through critical trust issues, I have had to rebuild my entire social network of friends and family, I have battled mental health issues of anxiety and depression, and I have had to endure the painstaking process of the legal system that is still very much antiquated.
Life has not been easier since I come forward with my story of abuse but at least I am no longer sick with the secrets that I kept. It has been 8 years since I came forward with my secret to my wife and 4 years since I came forward with my secret to the police. While I consider myself healed, I still have scars. Scars that are often tried as there is never a day that doesn’t go by that I am not reminded of my past. Just recently, I had heard that my father was helping to defend his sister who was recently charged with making and distributing child pornography.
When does the insanity end?
It ends when we stand up against sexual abusers of all kinds and let it be known that we will not tolerate their deviant behavior. It ends when our lawmakers make it a priority to hand out stiff penalties to abusers. It ends when our mental health strategies are centered around helping those who have these indecent thoughts and are able to get the help they need before they victimize. It ends when each of us who have been sexually abused or assaulted stands up and says… #metoo.