I am at the point right now where it has been a little bit over three years since my abuse took place…..well, a little bit over three years since I was fired anyway. Since then, I went through the recovery phase. Again, I’m not going to beat myself up for how I felt. Feelings are feelings. And I am learning more every day.
But right now, three years later, I have somewhat distanced myself from what happened to me. I got to the point where I have heard from other people abused as adults and so I know now that it was not just something that happened to me. I would like to go more into the healing part of things next time, but today I want to discuss where I am today, right now, in my room at my computer, with my stomach tied into knots.
People have now and then praised me for being brave for helping survivors. Truth is, I have done some things that have pushed me out of my comfort zone. I flew across the country by myself. There was a time I was afraid to go to the store alone. I did an interview for TV. But nothing is as scary to me as to actually “come out” as a survivor myself and to tell my story. And right now, that is exactly what I am about to do.
There’s always been at least two parts to telling my story. The first is the personal part, of course. I had a job that I enjoyed and that paid well to supplement my income. I felt valuable and respected and I had just gotten a raise and was now able to earn leave and I couldn’t believe how lucky I was. And then I lost that job. Just when I had thought that my somewhat moody and irrational boss was mellowing out and that my caring nature had taken the thorn out of his paw, I discovered that his temporary change of heart had a motive behind it. I was fired and I was blamed and I lost my job and my income and my self-respect and felt shunned by the very people and very place where I had once felt loved and welcomed.
Well, that is in the past. I wrote a book anonymously and to a certain extent, that helped me get the pent up feelings out. But it has bothered me that this man targeted me and treated me like I was something that existed for his amusement and then threw me away like a broken toaster. It affected me emotionally. And I know that there were others and there will be others. And I can work at educating and helping others heal, but am I really helping if I know that this man is still out there posing as a good person and handing out communion one minute while using his spiritual position to emotionally manipulate someone else into a sick and twisted game of destruction.
At this very minute someone could be considering ending their life because of how he has torn apart their feelings of self worth.
I have tried lawyers….three of them….and I have tried the police. What I have learned is that there is no crime that was done because it seemed consensual if not all on me because I had sent him emails.
So the best thing I can do now is to try to undo what has been done and tell my story to the bishop….his boss. I have started a letter and stopped. Many times. I feel most likely like many have felt before me…..I have healed and I don’t want to re-open the wounds. I don’t want to see him again. I don’t want to feel anything again. I don’t want to be accused and humiliated and held up as a public example and be accused of lying and looking for money.
Once again, I have to get past myself and know what it is that I do want. What is my purpose here? This brings me to the second reason to share this story.
If….no, when….I do this….when I send this letter to the bishop telling him what happened to me….it must be sent expecting nothing for myself. There should be rightful anger directed towards the people who wronged me because God knows it was directed inward towards myself for too long. But the main goal for this letter should be that it is sent with the intention to spread knowledge and to help prevent further abuse and to maybe help others heal.
That is the only way I will be able to send it. With the voices of the many behind me. I am not brave. I am angry. How dare these things be done to good people?
Get angry. Not hateful. Not violent. Not consumed with revenge. Not set out to destroy anyone. But keep that anger directed outward so that it no longer consumes you. Until that energy drives you towards justice and passes by the fear that stands on the side of the road with its thumb out trying to stop you. Drive past the road blocks and the writer’s blocks and just keep going. Speak the truth. Even if you can’t find the right words or your hands shake. Speak with the intent to help others and to stop the evil.