Yesterday I was at the Race to End the Silence (an 8K and 5K run)--in support of Stop CSA Org in Washington DC. It was a different setting for me and I must admit I was apprehensive at first. I have been in more controlled environments when I am discussing my CSA--therapist, support groups, here and small group of caring supporters. But yesterday I was in a public area--I had thoughts of who I would see, would anyone know me and how would I react when asked survivor or supporter. I had volunteered to help at the event, but had second thoughts as I approached. I approached with trepidation. Head was down as I moved toward the area for which I was to assist. The number of volunteers was overwhelming--so little for anyone to do. It allowed me to talk-I talked to supporters, spouses, children and friends of survivors, and survivors. The first time I was asked what brought me here-I froze but the words slowly came out--I am a survivor. Some gave me a hug, others a handshake or just a smile, others asked how I was doing. As I talked to people I was able to say I was a survivor and no one made me feel uncomfortable. I heard people say they were here to honor someone who had been lost to CSA--a brother, sister, father, mother or friend--others had regrets that they had not been there when the survivor was alive. Others were always with the survivor. I did not have the shame or fear of being hurt or attacked-which ran through my mind.
I did not regress nor did it scare me to become more involved in trying to help others who have sadly been victimized by CSA. I feel this public admission has helped me greatly and the prior nights lost sleep due to fear was unwarranted--but I did not know. Did I see anyone I knew, yes a few face acquaintances from work situations. I talked to two of them, one was there for his father who was a victim and took his own life and the other a victim himself. I guess you never know who the one in six will be in the room.
Now where do I go next on this journey to healing? I know I want to continue to heal and will like to help others. For some many helped me to heal and accept the CSA.