Thanks to the #metoo movement, women are able to call out their sexual abuse. It was a great leap forward for accountability. But what about men who were abused?
As a boy who was abused by a teacher in high school, I never felt comfortable sharing my trauma. To share how terrifying it was to experience then, the lasting damage it did to me, and that only recently I have found the courage to speak about the pattern of unwanted touching, gifting, and grooming I experienced as a student in Jonesboro Arkansas over 20 years ago.
At that time, I was terrified of names I would be called or that no one would believe me. What would happen if I outed this teacher, a man who asked me to keep his homosexuality a secret? A man who bought me jewelry when I was his student, but wouldn’t call on me in class if I didn't wear it. What would he do to my grades? To my future? To me? It would be my word against his. A fatherless boy against a pillar of the school who basked in the adoration of his students. I was no one. Which I feel is why I was chosen.
I had blocked out just how heinous the abuse was until 2012. That year, the trial of a collegiate football coach brought my nightmares flooding back. The names were different, but the situations were all too familiar. But I was still too embarrassed and petrified to admit the full scope of what had happened to myself, let alone anyone else. It explained patterns I had in relationships and my reactions to certain situations. It impacted my ability to trust and have intimate relationships. Things I still struggle with to this day.
I share my truth, my story, and my pain, for several reasons. In the hopes that parents will keep a watchful eye, even when entrusting their children to educators they hope act as protectors, not predators. The hopes that students, male or female, feel they CAN speak up. And I speak to free my heart from the weight of shame I have carried for over 25 years. To step into my power and release this burden that was never mine to carry.
To those abused, find your voice and be heard. Be free. Be the unbound, pure soul that you are.