Mike’s Story: Both Sides

Mike’s Story: Both Sides

My Story. I think it’s relevant because it speaks to both sides of the fence, abuser and abused – me. And my search for resolution.

Towards that end, I have donated to the local non=violence group in my community. I have spoken with them, with local public radio, and beyond to share my story. I have contacted the church / school in which my incident as perpetrator / participant took place and the high school where I experienced my assault is now an implicit reference in the movie Spotlight, and is now a co-ed school.

I have been careful to avoid the specific name of the individual involved in grade school. I am now 64, so a lot of water has passed beneath the bridge.

Why so long? There were so many other personal issues of mine at the time. For a variety of reasons, I didn’t follow up with my personal abuse or that in which I participated.

All these years later, I acknowledge that what I did was wrong and hurtful. I am grappling as well with what happened to me and I am comparably angry.

I’m not expecting, nor do I consider that I deserve forgiveness from the, now woman I participated in abusing at the time. Nor am I expecting closure regarding my abuse from the school I attended.

But, I do want to be honest and up front about it.

I want to make amends. I want to share my story because it’s uncommon that I’ve heard or read in the discussion.

My mantra is simple: No matter the victim, no matter the means, its wrong. It isn’t more right because of “youthful indiscretions” (mine were at 13 and 15 respectively. It isn’t more or less hurtful because it was a woman. I am not. I’m not saying men matter more, anymore than black lives matter “more”. I’m saying however it happens or to who, it’s wrong.

My sister beat me with a broom. When one day, I’d had enough. I gave her a black eye with the broom she was prepared to use in her defense against me.

I was seen as the bad guy in the situation. Turns out my older brother had been comparably abused by our oldest sister.

Additionally, growing up multi-ethnic and tracing my roots to Africa as well as Europe, I have an insight into both sides of that fence across several fronts.

I was wrong. What I did was wrong. I admit it. Below is chapter and verse. You are simply the next in my journey.

I would very much like to contact the woman I hurt all those years ago, to apologize, to attempt to make amends all these years later. But, not to open old wounds and hurt.

Certainly not without her permission and consent. She may very well have moved on. I certainly hope so. But, if her experience is anything like mine all these years later, she may not have.

She may no longer be alive, I don’t know that either.

Anyways. My story for your consideration:

I’m on record with KUOW, Leonard Pitts, the Seattle Times, the Washington Post on this.

I’ve contacted the school / church where it happened and have gotten no response.

It is a problem which I now know ran through my family from the youngest (me) to the oldest (my sister) to my brother, as well as my sister up from me.

My oldest sister was abusive to my brother. My sister up from me was abusive to me. Physically abusive. In my case with a broom. In my brother’s case, she threatened to beat him within an inch of his life if he ever snitched on her again.

In gradeschool, I participated in a physical assault of a fellow student. Pulled down her panties and rubbed her privates. In high school, a catholic, military, boys highschool, I was sexually abused by one of the religious brothers.

I’m 64. I was born in 1955.

This whole notion of “youthful indiscretion” is hogwash.

Quite simply, no matter who, no matter how, it’s wrong.

Based on mine and my brother’s experience, certainly I can sympathize and empathize with women who’ve been abused. I was young and stupid. What I did was still wrong. What was done to me, was wrong. Not less wrong because I’m a guy. Just as wrong.

All these years later, I’m still persuaded that education and involvement is key. My parents at the time were recovering from a bankruptcy. It was customary to leave the older children in charge of the younger children. Based on mine and my brother’s experience, I can safely say, not always a good idea.

My sister up from me, involved me in her own sexual curiosity experiment when we were young children.

At some point, we’ve got to pull our heads out of the sand on this. Stop acting like it’s only boys (even though it is predominantly). And stop acting as though “youthful” somehow excuses bad behavior.

Every time this comes up, I’m glad, because it opens eyes to the realities of abuse.

The more we are aware of what is done, by who, the more we can understand the scope and extent of the problem(s) and can fashion effective countermeasures.

Much the same as Karate Kid, best not be there when it happens, likewise, given Christine Blasey Ford, Candace Faber, Anita Hill’s mine and my brother’s experiences as well as hundreds of others, we need to do more than just let the court of public opinion have the last word on this, ESPECIALLY politically speaking.

We are entirely too ready to look the other way for the sake of a political majority, a supreme court majority, a president.

I stand with the women who’ve been abused. I stand accountable and responsible for my own actions (I’ve contacted the church where it happened – no response). And as a victim of abuse.

I speak from both sides of the fence on this. Someone who has been abusive and someone who has been abused.

Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas have no business being on the Supreme Court. If ALL the others can be held accountable for their actions, so can the president of the United States.

Regardless of party, or gender, no matter the victim, no matter the means: WRONG.

Too simple?

Author

WYR

WYR

When You're Ready.org is a community for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories.

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