In another thread today the point arose that many abused boys don't survive - Howard has cited the figure of 25% who don't live to reach 18.

This had encouraged me to talk about something that has come up over the past few days while I have been visiting my Mom and Dad in PA. I was talking to my Mom about how other boys in my Scout troop were also abused; I had sat down with the friend I was abused with in the last year of things, and between us we figured that there were at least 8 of us, maybe more.

I started doing the math. Our troop had 6 patrols with 5-6 boys showing up each week, so say 40 boys in all. One abuser got through 8 of them. So 20% whose lives were wrecked by the evil of one man.

What happened to the 8? I'm one, of course: alcohol, drugs, acting out, didn't begin to face things until I was in my 50s. My friend is another, and again: big alcohol and drug problems. He says he "got over it" and "it was a long time ago", but at the same time he feels he doesn't deserve a truly loving relationship with anyone.

Two have lost their lives. One got deep into drugs, was arrested, and hung himself in jail. He was my first serious girlfriend's little brother. Another became very promiscuous, turned tricks in Harrisburg because he couldn't hold a regular job, found refuge in heroin and ODed.

Three of the others are practically unapproachable. They talk to each other and do things together, but otherwise no one can reach them. The last guy has drifted from one job to another and hasn't been able to get anywhere professionally. He's remained single and isolated, and when I ran into him some years ago he didn't even want to look me in the eye.

One thing we had in common was that in some way or another we were all especially vulnerable in some way: some were just shy, I had medical problems, others were from a difficult home environment. Our little group could be textbook examples of how pedophiles can be so successful.

I'm not sure where this post is going. Guess I just needed to put real faces to the numbers. It's also a big "if only..." moment, but I know going there doesn't help.

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)