Sunday, February 07, 2010

You Are Not Alone, Bill's Story (Blog-a-thon Post 21)

Dear Survivor,

Bill wants you to know you are not alone. Bill is now 84 years old. At a young age, he experienced sexual abuse by his peers. At 15, he was molested by a cousin. Here's some of what he has to say:

At 19 while in the service, during a night out on the town, some buddies and I were trying to find a place to sleep. We met another serviceman who offered his room to share. During the night he began to make advances of molestation towards me, but this time I stopped it before anything happened. This left me with many questions of my manhood and self-worth. Anger and fear became my identity.

I had dropped out of high school when I was 16 - I always felt inferior because of my lack of interest in book studies. I bought into the belief that I was stupid. This coupled with the fear and insecurities from the sex abuse had paved the way of a codependent world full of depression, anxieties and a lack of self-esteem.

In April of 1947 I met the woman who would become my wife. And we fit like a glove - little did I know of her own abusive home life. Together our life was driven by her neediness and high-maintenance and my desire to fix, create happiness and give, give, give. I had become her “Knight-in-Shining-Armor” and it all felt wonderful in the beginning.

As life unfolded, verbal and emotional abuse would become my wife’s demeanor and our home would be one of continual unhealthy behaviors and her desperate need to control everything and my need to give up control to please her was what ensued for 60 years.

At the age of 80 I finally told of my story of childhood sexual trauma to my daughter after we had found out that a 3rd granddaughter had experienced sexual violence. Two others had experienced it as tiny young girls and the third while away at college. My wife had died and once these truths came out, I came undone . . . While spilling my story through tears, my own daughter told of her sexual abuse within our own home by my wife’s mentally-handicapped brother. The devastation of this truth is what finally began my journey of healing along with support groups and therapy. My daughter continues to share with all of us through not only the support groups she leads for women who have been sexually abused, but also through an incredible online support community. The many courageous stories she reads and hears daily have proven to make truth our family’s core rather than the foundation of lies and secrets which originally engulfed us all.

I believe speaking out and stopping the silence is one of the most important moves anyone can make in this journey - it then becomes a ripple effect which in turn helps many others. Thanks for reading my story.

Stay tuned for the stories of Bill's children. This family is an excellent example of how one person's healing can make a difference in many, many lives...

Watch the live UStream broadcast of this blog-a-thon by clicking here.

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