First of all, my best wishes go out to you in your recovery effort from Sandy. We rode out the non-stop freight train of wind 60 miles inland from Sandy's land fall, riding out the northern eye wall, and unless someone has been through it, they would be hard-pressed to relate that visceral fear to anything they've lived through before. There's just nothing quite like it. Our roof was totaled but we still have our house and count our blessings.

SoccerStar, telling my mom was a good choice for me. It may not be for you, but all I can do is share my experiences and what I gained from it - which was nothing I ever expected or predicted. Ultimately, I think I did it as a way to liberate myself from the secrecy and shame, but I don't think that reason was clear to me at the time. What I did know was fearing regret if I did NOT tell her. That's because I never told my dad, and realized - too late - that was a mistake. For me. Let me explain some of the dynamics in my situation - if you think you can relate, then perhaps my shared experience can help you. If not, well maybe at least it makes an interesting read.

My father knew about the molester in the neighborhood. Being a doctor, he was one of two or three neighborhood dads who met with this older boy once he was caught (one of the girls had nightmares and told her mom) and after deliberating they decided not to take it to the police. My dad never knew that among the many little girl victims was my baby sister. And he never knew that I was his boy victim - just that we were like big brother/little brother pals (I was 12, he was 15/16). At the time, however, I thought my dad DID know about my sister and me. In fact when my mom asked me to hang out with this boy to help keep him distracted from the girls, I thought I was some sort of sacrificial lamb. The shame kept me from having the relationship I SHOULD have had with my parents. It was hell and I marvel at how I got through it with my sanity (well, some may argue I didn't crazy ). I was just a dirty little kid doing dirty things that no one wanted to know about. I had recurring nightmares EVERYONE was molesting me - even my family. I remained his victim - swallowing my pride and shame and keeping my nightmares to myself - for months - really for years. He reminded me of the promise I made to the adults keep him from the girls (God - how did he know unless they handed me to him with a wink and a nod?), and threatened that if I did not submit to his advances, he'd be forced to molest the girls again and it would be on my conscience. I was so gullible, so stupid. I gave him my body - my life - my future, and for his trouble, I kept his secrets safe for years.

No more.

After my father died I realized the missed opportunities of not telling him. I never gave him the chance to understand who I was. I was too busy hiding to allow him to know me, to be close to me. I never gave him the opportunity to reconcile that bad decision not to prosecute - I never gave him the opportunity to explain it or even apologize for it. And therefore I find it hard to fix blame on him - like me, he was just another deceived soul. The victims of this crime are many. For years I was so busy blaming myself I didn't even know I WAS a victim. And once I realized it wasn't my fault - that I WAS a victim - I didn't know HOW to be a victim - what it meant to be one. And you have to know that if you hope to find the road to recovery (another thing I'm not sure I understand). So my dad was deceived by this guy, too - he never knew his own kids were victims.

The last words my father spoke to me were these: "Eirik, I don't know you as well as I have wanted to - you are a very private person - but I know you love me." And that's all I have. That's what was stolen from me. That's the REAL damage of CSA. I hope that never happens to you, my friend. It's a world of regret.

I never realized a LOT of things until the day I told my mom - a few years after my dad died. She sat across the table from me when I told here that both me and her youngest daughter were molested by the older boy next door, and I literally saw her age in front of me - I mean I just saw the lines in her face seem to deepen. She never knew. She just never knew. And here I swore both my parents did. It was at that moment - a time I asked her the pointed question why she didn't save us from that boy - that I wanted to hold her and comfort her - ironically like I needed all those years ago, like I probably still needed. I guess true love and respect work both ways.

That knowledge changed everything for me. I have a wonderful relationship with her now. Thank God I at least reclaimed THAT. If I never told her, it would have been another lost opportunity, another regret in my life. It was one little thing I took back from the guy who took so much from me and my sister those several years ago.

I suppose what I am saying is that the most damaging thing for me - perhaps even more than the sex itself - was the secrecy. I carried the deepest shame buried by the most elaborate cloak of secrecy I could create. I walked through my entire life a hidden soul wearing a mask that was a lie, afraid to let anyone know me lest they see a glint of my secrets shining out through a crack in my facade. THAT'S what destroys us - not so much the sexual acts, but the fact we don't know as children how to DEAL with those acts except by keeping secrets. In that sense, all recovery means is that we have grown up. We don't have to keep secrets any more. Not telling my parents is exactly what my molester would have wanted - and no doubt still hopes as he sits in his house today. Some day, I intend to let him know the secret is out.