The Message: My Painful Secret
Thank you for the warm welcome. And thank you to McQuaid for giving me the opportunity to do something I could not do nearly 40 years ago. I entered McQuaid a bit scared and nervous but generally excited. Feelings that I actually have today, right now. You see, a number of my brothers had attended McQuaid so it was very familiar, already a big part of my experience.
However, I held a secret. A secret that I had told no other living soul. A secret that I would keep to myself for over a decade. One that would haunt and impact me to the present day.
And here it is – I was sexually abused – just a short few years before walking onto the Freshman Football field in August of 1984. A field where I came to life, a building, this building, where I excelled academically, and a campus that gave me even more brothers than I already had.
Over those decades, I held myself responsible for participating in the abuse that I endured, for not being strong enough to stop it, for not saying anything to anyone after it was over, AND for several more decades of public silence as well as my own sexually inappropriate behavior.
A few months ago, I shared my story with my extended family, and shortly thereafter I shared it with Congressional representatives. Two weeks ago, I shared it with over 400 colleagues (I actually said colleges- whoops!) at work on World Mental Health Day. Today, I will share it with all of you.
I could not have done that if my childhood self did not survive. He survived, so now I can do what he never felt comfortable doing. He did the hard part – he did what he needed to do to survive. I not only forgive him now, but I also celebrate him. He is a survivor, I am a survivor, and here is my story.