Letter to the editor of the Daily Astorian not published
February 22, 2013
I am an activist in the Astoria community and in the State of Oregon who has been happily married to a man for the last 22 years. I have served on many boards and organizations and give a substantial amounts to charities and attend church regularly. Together my partner and I have overcome many problems together resulting from childhood abuse that is seriously impacted our lives with mental health hospitalizations and/or addictions. We have enjoyed many years of recovery and happiness together.
I am honored to be writing in support of our openly gay City Council person who works with the Diversity Project and PFLAG much to his credit.
I am also honored to be writing a letter of support to my Transgendered friends who will be speaking next month at the Clatsop Community college. Sexuality and gender issues are clearly a spectrum of existence as individual to a human being as the character of our own faces and as Martin Luther King put it, “The Content of Our Character.”
I am honored to have served as past president of the former North Coast Pride Network and work for gay rights in Clatsop County. I have worked with such fine organizations as Basic Rights Oregon the Rural Organizing Project and support the Democratic Party.
I am much honored to have been of service to the Victory over Child Abuse camps.
I am especially honored to have had my father a prominent Boise surgeon from an even more prominent wealthy extended family. And to have had the care, nurturing, love, and support from my mother who was a lab technician, housewife, and former Seattle socialite.
I was supported by my parent’s throughout my parochial education in Boise and at Stanford University and Harvard Graduate School of Design. I have been a peer specialist for 20 years and I have graduated from Clatsop Community College and work as a Warmline Operator.
What I have to say now is extremely difficult and wrenching for me but must be said. In one life shattering moment I confronted my father about his sexual violation of me as a child and upon his admitting “Yes that he did it,” I then immediately forgave him.
This trauma and his subsequent denial led to many years of mental health hospitalizations and my courageous returns to society only to be squelched by further denial and silence.
A recent Sports Illustrated article about the molestation of two prominent athlete’s quotes FBI statistics. One in ten men are sexual predators but only 3% of them are caught. They are usually a family member and male such as a father, uncle, or brother. One in three children are most likely survivors of molestation. This it is a widespread tragedy not only for the survivors but also the sexual predators and their loved ones. There is incredible denial and dissociation involved.
Given the denial and silence that was so pervasive in my era and given the situation as a child with my father it is no wonder that circumstances led to my self-mutilation and petty fire setting from which I have suffered such incredible remorse.
I still love my now deceased parents intensely and would be loath to do anything to damage or defame them. I am loyal to my family and their memory .To me prison was the very last option in my young imagination for any of my family. Last spring my own brother’s denial lead to another hospitalization and with a crippling blood illness I was left with months of suicidal despondency. I have come to accept and love my family and in their human imperfections.
I strongly feel that my time has come to act in public as the salient role model for public discourse on this subject. We are slowly learning to overcome taboos about talking about both sexuality and incest. We can no longer afford 97% of the one in ten men to be so demonized and stigmatized as to prevent them and the children from speaking out and seeking help. Our abused must be a cared for in this very dysfunctional climate of abuse we live in.
As a Christian let me say the Jesus’ message of love and forgiveness is not one of condemnation but acceptance of all the people of this small lonely planet. There must be a groundswell of care and acceptance for all to occur and it will occur.
I hope this letter will make it easier for everyone to breathe and accept one another. I am grateful to all my friends in the community who have provided such strong support especially my friends at the Woman’s Resource Center. Through their support and help I now have the courage not only to be open but also to be who I am.