Letter to the editor of the Daily Astorian
February 26, 2013
I strongly feel that my time has come to act in public as a role model for public discourse on this subject of childhood sexual abuse.
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 five of us are most likely survivors of molestation as children. 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.
My father was a prominent Idaho surgeon my mother was a lab technician and socialite. I was supported and nurtured by them throughout my parochial education and at Stanford University and Harvard Graduate School of Design. I have since been a peer specialist for 20 years.
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. Upon his admitting “Yes that he did it,” I 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.
Given silence and incredible remorse that was so pervasive to me as a child with my father it is no wonder I acted out in self-mutilation and petty fire setting.
I am very loyal to the memory of my now deceased parents. To me the very last thought in my young mind was prison for any of my family. Last spring my brother’s denial of my childhood events lead to another hospitalization after which I was left with months of suicidal despondency.
We are slowly learning to overcome taboos about talking about both sexuality and incest. We can no longer afford one in ten men to be so demonized as to prevent the children from seeking help. My partner of 22 years and I have overcome many problems together resulting from our childhood sexual, emotional, and/or physical abuse that is seriously impacted our lives.
I am grateful to all my friends in the community and at the Woman’s Resource Center who have provided such strong support and help. I now have the courage not only to be open but also to be who I am. Out of gratitude to our community I have also served with Victory Over Child Abuse Camps.