I am inspired and encouraged every single day by the bravery of those I have met in the community of survivors here and elsewhere. As a result of the strength and courage of the young men who came forward at great risk to stand against the evil visited upon them by Jerry Sandusky, many others are speaking out.
My younger brother stopped by my house the other day; he drives for a big delivery service and he was in the neighborhood covering for another driver's route. For the first time in three years, I felt he understood what my sister and I went through so many years ago at the hands of my uncle; largely due to the attention we had gained from the Sandusky trial.
He was warm and welcoming instead of shut off and unavailable. Even though he had acknowledged the truth of what I had told him, he was literally unable to process it; likely due to his own issues with the physical and verbal abuse we all suffered at the hands of my father.
After he left to finish his work day, my wife and I had a talk about the breakthrough and while it was an encouraging moment, it still brought me to sad tears. My heart has been hurt so much by both my brothers' inability to support me that I am afraid to trust that things won't regress. Both my sister and I were also abused sexually by my father and my mother used me as a sexual surrogate. I have not revealed that to them as of yet, and I might never speak of that.
My family does not know about much of what I went through or whom I've known myself to be since I was a child. My brother knows me by my other name; a name that I have always hated since I was named after the uncle who abused me. Even knowing only that I have 'another' name has been a struggle for my wife; telling my brothers about Andrea might be too much for them to handle. The bitter mixed too carefully and completely with the sweet. But then I read this:
Kayla Harrison, a survivor of sexual abuse as a child, won the Gold Medal in Judo for the United States. (documented by multiple news agencies)
She has repeated her story, spurred by the coverage of the Sandusky trial, and perhaps used it as a motivator. “It was definitely therapeutic for me, I’m at peace. I’m the Olympic champion.”
The 100th anniversary of my father's birth is later this year, and my brothers want to do something to commemorate the event. I'm faced with what to say or even if I should say anything at this point, but I feel that I can face the challenge; especially with the example of heroes like Kayla and my heroes here and elsewhere. To tell the truth finally about what our parents did to me; but also perhaps to tell them who I am? My faith gives me the belief that nothing is coincidental; that everything can and often is providential.
Tolkien put it this way as Frodo laments his lot - I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened. and Gandalf answers -
So do all who live to see such times; but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.
Or as another writer put it, "I can do all things through Him who gives me strengh." I'm convinced that the strength God gives us often if not most of the time comes through people