A family we visited a week or so ago while traveling have a son who was a CSA victim in his middle school years. No one knew for several years. He acted out in major ways drugs, pranks that borderlined illegal activity, anger and violence. He was expelled from school and was sent away for treatment of his problems. No one not even so-called counselors guessed that CSA was the root of everything. Apparently the program was successful.
We met him and were impressed with a very nice young man charming, congenial, poised, polite, well-spoken, friendly and engaging who is now pursuing a university degree in an area that will put him in constant contact with the public.
I was nervous the whole time we were there because when his parents first told us of their shocking discovery of his CSA, I was jolted by my recognition of the issues he would be dealing with. I said nothing at the time. I had not yet regained all the knowledge of my own history at the time, and certainly was in no condition to help or advise or reassure anyone else. Now I wondered if the topic would come up and what if anything I should say. We were there several days. The topic of the sons rehab did come up repeatedly but not the topic of the root cause of the problem. The son came and went and was pleasant and open about his rehab experience but did not engage in lengthy conversations. I was breathing a sigh of relief as we were preparing to leave. It looked like I would not need to feel pressured to say anything.
Well at the last minute everything changed. His parents had already gone to work and we were packing to leave. He returned home from a class and I suddenly felt compelled to say something. I was glad his parents were not there because they were quite intense and i felt pretty overwhelmed by them and this was obviously a very personal matter for which neither of us needed an audience. I took the chance and was glad I did.
We talked for nearly an hour. I know we both benefitted from it. we both compared how we felt, reacted and how we are doing now. In some ways he seemed further along than me in recovery and in some ways I am obviously more mature. But our relative ages at the times of the abuse experiences seemed to mean more than our actual present ages. He thanked me several times for talking about it.
I guess what finally made me take the plunge was trying to imagine what it would have meant to me to have had someone older who was also a survivor reassure me at a younger age that there is the possibility for a decent life in the future. I also told him about MS so he may show up here someday. It was a VERY encouraging experience that I know did as much for me as it may have done for him. i was high for at least a day afterwards.
"That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. . . What will your verse be?" Robin Williams as John Keating in "Dead Poets Society"