2007 STORY #1 – TURNING THE CORNER
We climbed into the car and headed to my in-laws’ house for Thanksgiving dinner. I looked around and smiled as we turned the corner, heading towards our destination. The whole family was together. My 21 year old daughter, home from her final year in college; my 18 year old son, home for the first time from his first semester in college; my youngest son, 12-years old, an only child for the last few months; and my husband. It was a good feeling to have everyone together, and to be doing something as a family unit. We listened to Weird Al Yankovic’s Straight Outta Lynwood on the way. What a hoot. We laughed all the way.
The last several years I found little to laugh or even smile about at this time of year. The last few years I struggled with depression and flash-backs. I looked forward to the end of the holiday season. Four years ago I was sexually abused by a Baptist pastoral counselor. The abuse occurred in the fall of 2003, ending in December of that year.
A series of amazing circumstances and events brought light back into my darkened world. It started with Jane X, who is now my dear best friend.
Jane X was abused by the same pastoral counselor. On the morning of December 23rd, 2003, my husband called me at work and told me that he believed that I was having an “affair” with this counselor. He would change the locks to our home if I ever communicated with him again. Jane X’s husband gave my husband a call and they met within the hour of that phone call. He unfolded a story of this counselor’s predatory past and the damage that had been done to his wife and others. He and my husband concluded that I was also being sexually exploited by this counselor and my husband called me a second time. My world as I knew it had spun out of control. But miraculously, I was being rescued.
It took over two years of meetings with police, the district attorney’s office, lawyers and hearings to succeed in a sentence of 5 years probation and a listing as a registered sex-offender. Another year of depositions and hearings in civil litigation followed.
During the last year and a half, Jane X and I have been a part of organizing and speaking at two seminars on sexual abuse by professionals. Our last seminar on the campus of the University of Texas-Pan American included a nationally-known speakerand was attended by over 100 people.
I’ve purchased and read many books on the subject. I told some of my story to reporters on local television news. And I began seeing a new therapist this fall and started working on some older issues that may have contributed to my vulnerability.
All of these things have contributed to my healing. Several months ago my husband asked me if I saw myself ever “turning the corner.” The answer is YES! Yes, I have finally turned the corner!