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#431502 - 04/16/13 10:58 PM Boarding School
Suwanee Offline
Chat Moderator

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 1075
Loc: Southeast USA
I know certain boarding schools have been in the news in the last couple of years-the NYT article on Horace Mann comes to mind...

However, did any of you have CSA experiences outside of boarding school---and find the boarding school environment difficult? Or did boarding school provide the environment needed to help get away from/heal from CSA?

My case is the latter. After CSA at 13 and my parents' move cross country to So. Cal, I went back East to an all-boys boarding school the following year. Yes, I was away from my parents during the school year, but I ended up thriving in a hyper-competitive academic and athletic environment out of Dead Poet's Society/Lords of Discipline/Harry Potter. After my experience at summer camp at 13, I was very nervous about living in a dormitory with a bunch of other boys and "dorm parents." I mean, I just felt like the halls and showers could be filled with perverts preying on schoolboys away from home.

I found the opposite once I got there. The teachers were solid, upstanding, approachable, and in my experience---never improper at all. Being away from home helped me continue to develop my freakishly-strong independent streak that would never have been tolerated at the California high school I would have attended. Good teachers are in public schools and private schools alike...and I'm glad I found two great ones.

One English teacher in particular helped me to focus my ADHD-addled mind on achievement...that whole Robin Williams Dead Poet's Society carpe diem mentality. My swim coach/chemistry teacher helped challenge me to do my best and then top it each time I hit the dihydrogen monoxide.

Maybe I was lucky the school was such a good fit...but time there helped me to trust understand that an older man could me a mentor and ally.

Both the English teacher and swim coach are retiring at the end of this school year. I've written both of them letters of appreciation for being there and doing a great job---and helping me more than either one could ever know. Writing those letters is one of those peripheral ways healing takes place for me. Sometimes the straight-on healing has to take a detour once in a while.


Edited by Suwanee (04/16/13 11:07 PM)
I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made. ---FDR


Cruel Summer
My Journal

#431524 - 04/17/13 02:19 AM Re: Boarding School [Re: Suwanee]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3889
Loc: somewhere in Africa
Hey, Will! (sorry)

not exactly boarding school for me - but it was a huge change in my life that acted as an intervention and rescue. i had been continuously bullied from age 11-13 and it often crossed the line into peer sekual harrassment and actual abuse. i was becoming suicidal when the step-dad announced that we'd be moving to the UK. that saved my life.

it was a public school - no boarding involved - but the atmosphere was totally different from what i was accustomed to. for a start - intelligence and academic success were highly valued - so i was respected and admired instead of being ridiculed and marginalized. there was also a healthy fine arts subculture - so i found a niche instead of being the unique freak in that area. the masters (teachers) kept a pretty close eye on things - so there was strong enforcement of proper decorum and little chance for bullying. We all wore uniforms so there were not any differences in fashions or designer clothes. the role of sport was considered to be a positive element - but not the all-important single qualification for acceptance and adulation. it was all very much like the culture you read about in books about British schools (NOT Dickens!). there were a few teachers that nurtured me as an aspiring artist and writer and yet kept a professional and formal and appropriate distance and reserve. i was elected by fellow students as a Prefect for my House (a student leader with assigned responsibilities), was on the debate team, won prizes for being top of the class in art and English nearly every year, and salvaged my ravaged self-esteem. it was a great prep for college back in the U. S. and living in such a history-saturated culture and setting was fantastic!

home was still hell - but at least school was now a safe and welcoming refuge. i have always been thankful for that experience. some good memories, Will. Thanks for reminding me.


Edited by traveler (04/17/13 08:07 AM)
"the scariest thing about abuse of any shape or form, is, in my opinion, not the abuse itself, but that if it continues it can begin to feel commonplace and eventually acceptable."
- Alan Cumming, "Not My Father's Son"

#431548 - 04/17/13 08:02 AM Re: Boarding School [Re: Suwanee]
Chase Eric Offline

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 2195
Wonderful post - thanks, Will! Like you, I feared abuse in situations where it never happened. In retrospect, I wish I had been less guarded and more open to receive the affection and respect those people extended to me. I just wish I knew then what I know now - that not all is bad.

This is what brings me here

#431557 - 04/17/13 09:30 AM Re: Boarding School [Re: Suwanee]
Farmer Boy Offline

Registered: 08/23/12
Posts: 442
Loc: Australia
Sorry Will

I'm a public school boy....but I did have one of those awesome inspiring type teachers (a couple actually - but one super special). My Art Teacher (I posted about her way back when talking about my high school artwork). I have been meaning to write her an email for months. I intend to disclose my CSA to her in the letter because it explains a lot of my artwork back then. I have been struggling with how much detail to tell her but have finally realised that less is more in this case. I really want to tell her how much I appreciate all that she did for me and how much she changed my life. I want the letter to be uplifting and encouraging to her. In other words I want it to be about her not me.

Thanks for the post. I needed a kick up the pants.

Originally Posted By: Chase Eric
Wonderful post - thanks, Will! Like you, I feared abuse in situations where it never happened. In retrospect, I wish I had been less guarded and more open to receive the affection and respect those people extended to me. I just wish I knew then what I know now - that not all is bad.

Eric - I feel the same way.

More than meets the eye!

#431558 - 04/17/13 10:37 AM Re: Boarding School [Re: Suwanee]
SoccerStar Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 926
Loc: New York
Another public schooler here, and while I had many wonderful teachers... it might not be complete coincidence that I was abused in 3rd grade, had a prolonged blackout, then kind of "woke up" in 4th grade and just fell in love with that teacher. She meant so much to me and made me feel so good about myself; I went so far as to invite her to some of my birthday parties over the years and when I graduated from college I wrote her again for having given me extra attention and making me feel good about myself and about learning (I mentioned Harvard to her not to brag but to show her what her help had set me on the path to do.)
My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of Heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

#431697 - 04/18/13 09:14 PM Re: Boarding School [Re: Suwanee]
lapchinj Offline

Registered: 06/07/11
Posts: 1421
Loc: New York
Hey Will,

I'm also a public school kid and a "very expensive private HS" kid so my mother never let me forget that fact. I remember only my 3rd grade teacher who told us snowflake stories. If we were good in class she would tell us about the snowflake that lived in her refrigerator. She was the only teacher I remember in any of the schools I went to aside from my gym teacher who just happened to take showers with me and my friend sandusky style. He was a very "hands on" gymnastics coach.

My mother always threatened to send me to a military school "if they would have me". But I got lucky in that I divorced my parents when I was 12-1/2 and when I was 13 in the 9th grade my mother started spending the winters in Florida. Winters started in September and summers started in July, so I haven't really seen her aside from a few weeks a year since then, until I fucked up and brought the 93 year old bitch to live with me in an apartment my kids built for them (my father is 98) onto my house. My mother always said I wasn't too smart and I guess she was right crazy.

Once I got rid of her out of my life my blood pressure went back down to normal smile.

Peace, Rainbows, Love & Healing
Stick around, It will get better....


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