Yesterday my husband and I were sitting by a window overlooking a golf course, enjoying amazing Greek salads. A tall man approached our table rather tentatively and said he’d seen me and thought he’d say hi. I remembered him as a relatively quiet man, a member of a church I once attended, but yesterday he was chatty. After catching up on family news, he began to say goodbye but suddenly stopped, turned towards me and looked at me intently.

“I need you to know how you helped me,” he said. “I read one of your posts awhile ago about a help group for men who had been abused as children. You said many of these men had never told anyone about their abuse but were finally breaking their silence and seeking help. I am 68 years old and have gone all through my life never telling anyone that I was abused by a babysitter when I was about seven years old. I’ve held this dark secret all these years and have gone all through my life feeling guilty about allowing it to happen to me. Not a day has gone by when I haven’t chastised myself for not running away or saying no or doing something to stop it. When I read your post, I saw that the help group was a couple of hours from my home and I could go there anonymously – so I went. And I shared my story for the first time. I’ve been going now for awhile and am actually starting to have days when I don’t think about the abuse. I’ve made peace with the little boy inside who didn’t run away or stop the abuse. Now I understand the misplaced feelings of guilt and the condemning voices have been silenced. I can’t change what happened, but my life is starting to feel better. Thank you.”

I was amazed. There are many days when I wonder what I’m doing in this battle and feel like I’m not accomplishing anything. I keep telling myself that somehow I’ve got to bring some good – some higher purpose – out of the abuse that happened to my kids. I can’t allow the shattering of our family to have happened for nothing. Yesterday’s encounter reminded me that the battle is not over. I can’t put my sword/pen down. Everyone who is out there trying to protect kids from predators and trying to be there for those who have been wounded needs to keep going. You don’t know whose life you are impacting with your efforts.