Got a message for another survivor. A woman. The same town. The same coach. She saw my Facebook post and reached out to me. There are now 3 of us.
I am not alone. I knew there were other survivors in the world. I had seen them on Oprah and documentaries. But I am not alone in my story. This is the second person who came forward, anonymously, to me that experienced the same abuse, in the same town, that I had. I am not alone in my story. I am not alone in picturing this man's face alongside every feeling of self-loathing. Both of the fellow survivors had the same "relationship" with this man and have been living with the emotional fall out for decades.
I reached out to her that afternoon and we spoke. We didn't run in the same circles in our hometown. We knew each other in the same way everyone in a small town knows each other, but we never knew we had this connection between us. Our conversation wasn't deep. It was just an acknowledgment that we both existed within the same story. We didn't share a lot of personal details about our "special time" with The Coach. We just let each other know that we "see" each other.
I left the conversation feeling proud of myself for creating space for this woman to tell her story to the investigator. For once, she got to tell her story, out loud, to someone who could actually be able to hold The Coach responsible. But I also felt something else.
You see, this is the woman, who was once the girl, that removed The Coach from my hometown. While I am not sure where she was in the grooming process, The Coach was clearly in the process of entering his next "relationship" as I left town for college. But she had a sister that fought for her. She had a sister that saw the developing odd "relationship" and knew it wasn't right. She knew there had to be more to the story. So her sister hacked her email and shared some emails with the school district that got The Coach fired. She was the reason he disappeared.
While I was proud of myself for creating space, I was still left feeling invisible. While I don't blame my family for my abuse, the remnants of sadness and resentment that no one in my family was responsible for running him out of town still exist. My complex of invisibility can be traced back to these feelings. There was no one in my life that can be blamed for my abuse. The only one to blame is The Coach. But I still yearn for those years in high school and envision someone coming in to rescue me. I wish someone had hacked my email, or followed me to his house late in the evening where he would have me park in the back so we could meet in his garage once his wife fell asleep. I know that looking back isn't healthy. But that is what I felt when hanging up from my conversation with this woman.
I am so happy she reached out to me. It helped push me to keep going in my journey to bring light to my story. But as is the case when healing from my abuse, I was left with complex and complicated feelings.