I hurt for a long time because of childhood sexual abuse. Now I want to provide a safe place for hurting men to connect with other survivors of sexual abuse. Talk to us. You don't have to use your real name to share your experiences or ask questions.

Perspective (Part 2 of 2)

(This post comes from Dann Youle.)

While writing about the perspective that I now have of my abuse, the thought occurred to me that stories of how my perspective has changed would be helpful. I want to share one that is the most powerful to me.

On October 28, 2000, my friend Mark and I drove to my abuser’s grave in Wisconsin. I remember it feeling like there was something exciting but terrifying that would happen that day. We arrived at the cemetery and found it was much how I remembered it, yet strange and different at the same time.

After we searched for about 30 minutes, I saw it. Walking up to the grave I was visibly shaking, and more scared than I remembered being in my life. With Mark giving me my space, but also keeping watch, tears flowed as I said what I needed to say, released forgiveness, and, as I sat there, the change started happening.

As I spoke forgiveness toward my abuser, healing flowed. I felt pity for him. I realized he had probably not known he could heal. His generation wouldn't talk about something like this, especially not in a redemptive way. I realized he may have been abused himself. He was probably unable to forgive himself.

Yet from the moment I remembered he abused me, I wanted to get to the point where I could forgive him and myself. My abuser gave me a gift that day, in spite of all the pain he brought to my life and perhaps to the lives of others. He allowed me to see that I could make peace. Peace with him, peace with God, peace with myself, and peace with life.

I could and did walk forward from that day, October 28, 2000, knowing that life is a gift. Each day I can truly live and I don’t have to allow something horrific that someone did to me and over which I had no control. Now I have control over this moment, this day, or all the stuff that makes up my life.

That’s a perspective change that I couldn't have learned any other way.

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