Me too. It’s coincidental really, but about a month ago before all of this came out, I wrote a blog about sexual assault. Then I threw it out because I was afraid that people wouldn’t relate to sexual assault from the male perspective. Yep, it happened to me too. Maybe until recently the mainstream never really thought of men being sexually assaulted. But I can assure you, it’s nearly as rampant in the LGBTQ community as it is in the heterosexual world. Now it’s everywhere and all of the predators who are out there are being called out and stopped with their careers ripped to shreds. My abuse came from my teacher. Not just any teacher, but someone I respected a great deal and called a mentor. It was this teacher that would shape my future as I know it today. In the last several weeks since the Harvey Weinstein scandal was bookended by the Kevin Spacey allegations, I’ve felt compelled to write about this on a more personal basis. I have been reminded of the pain that I dealt with and realize that I am not yet absolved of the guilt I feel for not having pressed charges at the time. I only think of those students who may have been hurt after I was.
The teacher is retired now: he has been for several years. I checked with my Mom a few days ago about writing this blog. She has been very much aware of the incident since it happened. My Mom in fact had to maintain a very close working relationship with the teacher for a decade after it occurred. Talk about an exercise strength and tolerance. When I asked her about my writing this piece, she reminded me that the principle of the school had told my teacher that our family had forgiven him for what he had done. She went on to recall that the teacher asked the principal, “how could they have possibly forgive me?” Forgiveness. It’s the most difficult thing to do in some situations. But as soon as my Mom reminded me what we had agreed on as a family, I looked at the situation differently. I began to think on this for a great while. I kept going back to this live performance by Kelly Clarkson of a song called, “It’s Quiet Uptown” from Hamilton.
By forgiving my teacher, I get resolution with a light and positive outcome. It may have also helped my teacher heal and restore his own faith in humanity. We can only assume that people are acting out in these ways because they’ve lost touch with humanity for one reason or another. I could never begrudge someone who feels the need to write their me too story about a sexual predator. It is not my mission to forgive the unforgivable. There is no excuse for the behavior of these people. But I was taught something when I was growing up: Sometimes forgiveness is the swiftest and most peaceful resolution you can come to. Instead of exposing the details of what happened to “me too” or burying what seemed an unimaginable act, I choose to re-declare my forgiveness for my teacher.
“Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.” Wikipedia (Believe it or not!)