Well, I went ahead and told my son last night. I brought my copy of "Victims No Longer" to his room at bedtime. I told him that I knew he had seen books like that all around the house for several months, and I knew he isn't stupid.
I reminded him about the Cub Scout pamphlet in the front of his book from his Cub Scout days. I knew that I must have gone over with him their literature on "good touch" and "bad touch." (I actually don't remember going over it, but he did. I do remember watching the video "It Happened To Me" in my Cub Scout leader training, but that's another story for another time.)
I explained that I had not yet told my parents. I told him that the effects of something like that include making people think differently about relationships, friendships, etc. He impressed me quite a bit when he suggested the effects would include "a lot of stress." Empathic young man.
I did not give him any details, except when he asked how old I was and how old the perp was. He told me that he would come and speak to me or his Mom if something like that ever happened to him. I explained the importance of telling us is that we can help him get help, not that we can make him tell everyone while trying to get the perp.
I read your reply about keeping my problems from him. That was my greatest fear in telling him. I am the oldest child in my family and I bore a lot of inappropriate responsibility in my youth. I did not want to burden him with something he does not deserve.
But when I continued to think along those lines, I decided that the risk of his knowing what happened to me, coupled with the opportunity to talk to me or my wife again at any time, scares me less than the risk of him suffering and not being aware that it is possible to get help, and that someone who loves him very much will certainly listen and understand. I posted elsewhere that the very notion of seeking help was too foreign to occur to me when I was raped. I could never forgive myself if I left him in such a position.
Thanks for all your helpful words. This was a very important decision for me. It felt good to read your concern for me and my son in your messages.
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse