Their Story: “On Marrying a Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse”

Link to The Atlantic: "On Marrying a Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse"
Link to The Atlantic: “On Marrying a Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse”

Victims of sexual assault are 3 times more likely to suffer from depression, 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs, and 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide. RAINN

Shonna bravely shares her story – her husband’s story – with great poignancy and honesty.

This idea—that it was his fault for not speaking up—was embedded in my husband’s psyche for years. In an effort to survive, he buried the details deep, doing his best to forget the American Boychoir School. “Who would believe me?” he used to ask. “I was a scholarship kid.”

Newly into our marriage, and refusing to put more blame on that little boy’s shoulders, I said, “I believe you.”

This is the most important thing a partner can say. Almost 25 years after leaving the school, when Trav did tell his parents, they believed him, too. His mom had set out a pile of items unpacked from his school days to make a memory quilt. When Trav declined, his father asked why, and Trav told the truth.

As a parent, thinking you gave your child the opportunity of a lifetime, how do you watch that image corrode? How do you remember hearing your boy cry to come home, believing it was temporary homesickness? How do you process that despite doing your best due diligence, the organization you trusted with your child played a role in his trauma?

His parents’ immediate reaction—to hug him tight—was exactly right (linked above).

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