I came through the door flustered. The past 2 hours were spent criss-crossing our town catching on some necessary errands with two boys who would have preferred the dentist over tagging along with me. As I came through the front door, my phone began to buzz with an incoming call. I get so many spam calls nowadays that I usually just reject the call and move on with life. However, the number had the familiar 505 area code flashing Santa Fe, New Mexico on my screen. Hoping it was the investigator, I answered the call. The caller introduced himself as Jeremy Garcia and asked if I had time to give my interview about my abuse. Knowing that I needed a few moments to gather myself, I told Jeremey to call me back in 15 minutes so I could get my children settled.
Once I sent the boys out to play, I went to my office. I tried my best to breathe and collect myself, but I quickly realized that I was not at all prepared for this interview. I had meant to write down all the details I could remember coupled with a timeline of my abuse. Seeing as I had no idea when Jeremy would call me, I kept putting it off. With 5 minutes left before Jeremy was due to call me back, I started to frantically write down a timeline of my abuse. I hit all the major years and quickly built out my timeline from grooming to the conclusion of my abuse.
Jeremy called me back and told me that he would be recording the call. He got on his recording phone and the interview began. There were no pleasantries. There was no small talk. It was all business. There was no fluff. Jeremy is not a counselor or support professional. He is an investigator. His first questions was "Ok Mr. Lee, can you tell me why we are on this call right now?" I began my story, giving as much detail as I could remember. He asked very few follow up questions. In total he asked me about 5 questions. The final two gave me pause and made my heart sink. He asked if I could think of and distinguishing marks in any of The Coach's private areas. I couldn't remember any and stumbled through that question. I wasn't expecting that type of question. He then asked if I had kept any notes, gifts, or items that were given to me by The Coach during the time period of my abuse. I hadn't kept anything. Shame had me discard every picture, every note, and anything related to my so called "relationship". I wasn't expecting that question either.
The interview ended quickly. Jeremy gave me the obligatory timeline and assurance that they will be in touch in the future.
The quick interview left me in a haze for the rest of the day. The feeling that I hadn't given a believable or compelling interview had me feeling depleted. It was the first time I realized that The Coach could get away with his abuse. Ultimately, it was my word against his. Yet, it took so much emotional strength to get to this place and thinking that it wouldn't matter was a crushing blow.
I spoke with my family about my interviews. I shared me concerns about noting happening to The Coach. My mom attempted to build me up by stating "you did this for yourself." She told me that I could being to find peace knowing I did the right thing for myself above everything else.
It was a nice thought, but I was starting to realize that simply reporting was not enough. I have a story to tell. My story is not just for me. My story is for every boy who was abuse. My story is for every boy who had their innocence taken from them. My story is for the men who have grown up feeling worthless. My story is not over.