2007 STORY #27: MY REASON TO LIVE
I was sexually abused. This is one of the hardest things I had to admit to myself, let alone declare it to the multitudes. I would not be declaring it at all, if I were alone.
It all goes back to the meaning of victim and survivor. In one sense, I am still a victim. I still suffer the depression, lack of self esteem, and nightmares associated with sexual abuse. Yet on the other hand I have survived until now. After 26 years, I am still alive, I still function, and I still support myself and a family.
From the evidence I have seen, surviving is not assured. Many victims don’t make it. Many can’t face life anymore. Many just give up and become lost.
I would have.
It started twenty two years ago, four years after my abuse at the hands of the Catholic High School Principal, Father X. I was still in denial, I was abusing alcohol and I was rapidly falling apart. I was in a foreign country on a tour of duty in the military. I joined the military to run away from the abuse, to run away from my deeply religious catholic family.
During this tour of duty, I met my first and largest pillar of support. Her name was Keri and she was a tourist from the States. We spent two weeks together and when she had to return home I asked her to marry me…That was the smartest thing I ever did.
Three months later, I flew back to the US and we were married. I returned to duty with her next to me. This was just the beginning.
Over the next two decades I have at times suffered greatly from my abuse. It has sent me into depression so deep that all I saw was despair. She was still with me. It has caused nightmares so extreme as to leave me awake for the rest of the night. She walked the hall with me. It has tempted me to abuse alcohol. She sobered me. It has tempted me to abuse prescription pain medication. She not only stopped me, but purposely failed to fill her own prescriptions so I could not get access to them. It has tempted me to take my own life. She rescued me, even when no one else would. It has taken my belief. She helped me find Faith. It has removed me from religion. She helped me find God.
And when I survived to talk about it in the open, she stood beside me.
She is not the only support structure I have, but she is the most important. When I find it hard to live for me, I live for her.
Without her, my life would not have been – found.