My name is Anthony. I was 15, my parents had just divorced, and I was living with my mother. Since my school was close to her work I would go there after school. It was there that I met a friend of my mothers. It was this friend who committed the abuse. My mother trusted this person, and I knew it would be hard to convince her of what he had done. I also knew if I told my dad, his reaction would not be a good one and might be one that would land him in jail. Equally, I knew if I told my siblings, it would get back to one of our parents, and I was not looking forward to that either. It never even crossed my mind to go to the police.
So, now I had this dilemma about how I was going to handle the abuse. Or so I thought I had a dilemma. I now know I didn’t. If only there had been an organization like RAACE back then, I might have known how to handle the situation.
A very short time from when the abuse happened, I started a downward spiral that still affects me to this day.
Thinking I had the answer to my “dilemma,” I left home. I didn’t tell anyone where I was going or why I was leaving. In fact, I guess you could say I ran away. I turned the part-time job I had into a full-time job in a different city. If you haven’t deduced this yet, yes, I dropped out of school. So, here I am, 15 years old, no education to speak of, and living in a town where I didn’t know anyone, paying rent, electric, and all the other bills that come with living alone.
To keep the abuse quiet, I never contacted anyone in my family. By doing this, I reasoned that I would not let it slip that the abuse had happened. Over time, I learned to compartmentalize the abuse, but I still avoided contact with my family. I went many many years and told no one, not even my spouse. It wasn’t until I attended a RAACE motorcycle rally that I even thought about saying something. Like I said, I learned to compartmentalize the abuse. Because of RAACE, I am now able to talk about my abuse, but more importantly, help protect our children from sexual abuse.
To this day, my siblings will have nothing to do with me. They think I made up the story to explain my long absence. Can I say that I blame them? NO. I was the one who let the abuser dictate what was going to happen in my life. I am the one who let the abuser take my teen years and family away.
Bottom line: The abuser took away my teen years and family away from me, but I let him.
Please, please, please do not let something like this happen to your child or a child you know. Read the RAACE Power of Prevention Guide Book. Use it to educate yourself, other parents, your children, and the children around you.