Reading through comments on my blog and in threads where my posts are being shared, there are many who want me to publicly name my abuser. I just wanted to share why I am not and what I am waiting for at this time.
I had a very hard time reporting my abuser. I have learned this is normal. It took almost 6 months to get the strength to write the disclosure letter you will find on this blog. There are so many reasons why this is true.
1. It makes everything real. It is usually the first time survivors tell their story to someone outside their support circle and/or therapist. These are gritty and vulnerable stories to tell. While many might think you can go 0 to 60 from keeping your abuse as a private struggle to reporting and seeking justice, it is not that easy or simple. Writing my disclosure letter was one of the most vulnerable things I have every had to do. My story, the one that took me over 20 years to accept, would be read by outsiders and part of an investigation. I was swamped with feelings of "what if they don't believe me", "what if I am called a liar", and "what if I went through all this pain and nothing happens".
2. Years of emotional manipulation don't just drift away. Predators, through grooming, manipulate victims into thinking they are in a "special relationship". They convince victims that they wanted it too and that no one will ever understand their "connection". This is quite often how victims live for years. They convince themselves they were in a relationship and then they spend years protecting both themselves and their abuser from the repercussions of being caught. Grooming and the subsequent sexual abuse is not just about the short term goal of sexualizing the relationship. Grooming and manipulation are about the long game as well. They are used to assure the secret is kept. Yes, it was hard to disclose because I was protecting my abuser. I was plagued with thoughts of "I will ruin his life", "I will ruin his family's life", or "I will ruin his children's life".
That is the plight of the abused. We carry those burdens and for many it takes years to have the powerful realization that is isn't our fault. The blame of any ruined lives lies solely with the abuser. From the outside, that seems like an easy step to take. I can assure you it is not.
3. When I disclosed, I never imagined I would have the strength to write about my abuse so openly. I never thought I could share such personal details in an effort to try to make change. I started by coming to terms with the moral, ethnical, and deeply personal responsibility to report my abuser once I realized he was still in education. I needed to go after his teaching license. I needed to make sure I did everything I could take away his easy access to children and teens. That is why I disclosed to the Public Education Department. At this point, that remains my focus. I am waiting to hear from the New Mexico PED about the action they will take on his license. I don't want to do anything to screw that up. I don't want to give my abuser any opening to use slanderous accusations to protect himself and make a case for his innocence. He should not be able to teach ever again.
My frustration currently lies with the PED. What the hell is taking so long? Information I got just a few weeks ago made my frustrations grow. After my disclosure, the PED told me that they would start an investigation and assign either a 60 day (for more serious allegations) or 2 year statute of limitations to complete my case. When I found out early on that my case was assigned a 2 year statute of limitations, I was initially devastated. I felt that assignment meant my story was seen as low priority and most likely not true.
When I emailed these concerns to the PED, they immediately got back to me and let me know this was not the case. They let me know that 60 day statutes are only assigned to cases where the accused were fired or quit before the investigation started. At that point, it sounded as though my abuser would be put on administrative leave until the investigation completed. While that was angering, I accepted it and decided to let the process play itself out.
As the months have dragged on, I have grown more anxious. I followed up with the investigator who assured me his was investigating. Once he told me he had filed his findings, I followed up with the supervisor of that division. In one of these recent updates, the supervisor slipped in a comment about how my abuser was let go from his job early on in the investigation. She couldn't give me much information, I understand this completely, but I was immediately pissed that my case wasn't switched to a 60 day statute once they were informed his was let go. This was very frustrating, but not surprising in the least. I had witnessed these delays and the ridiculously slow government agency "wheels of justice" in our adoption journeys.
So, no I have not named my abuser in this blog. At this point, he has been named to the people who matter and who can take action against his license. His day will come and each one of you who are reading this blog are helping.
I never predicted that this blog would get much, if any, traffic. My goal was to create an artifact that I could send to newspapers and news outlets once the investigation was complete. I was hoping a journalist might read my blog and take a chance writing my story. I was, and am, still hoping a possible future story will make space for more victims to come forward. I was very unsure this would happen but I took the leap anyway, and every single person who has read this blog has helped. Now the case to write and publish a public story that my abuser can't run from has a better chance since all of you have taken time to read my blog and support me.
I am writing this blog to educate and make space to talk about male sexual abuse, but I am also writing to hold people responsible. I am writing to hold the PED accountable. I am also holding media outlets accountable. If they can't write my story, one filled with so many important lessons, then shame on them.
So like me, just be patient. This is a process and I am doing everything in my power to speed it up. You can help by continuing to read and share. It will help me in the long run.