“You won’t tell anyone? If you do, I could get in a lot of trouble so you’re not going to share OUR secret will you?”
“No, I wont tell anyone. I’ll keep this to myself. I’ll keep our secret”
There. I said it. I just made a promise to my high school music teacher to keep this secret, and many more....
It was more than three decades before I decided not to keep my music teacher’s secret anymore. Finally in my late 40’s I felt strong enough to share, first with the Ottawa police then with the world, the abuse I had suffered for over two and a half years in high school. After I went public the question I was asked most in various ways was, “Why did I stay silent for so many years?” The answer is not as simple as the question, there are many reasons why but the root cause was because I was groomed by my teacher for years. He was, like all sexual predators, a skilled manipulator. He was able to groom both his many victims and the adults around him for decades.
It’s estimated that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18. Voice Found, an Ottawa based, survivor led organization, is working to change this statistic by preventing childhood sexual abuse and sex trafficking. I currently sit on the Board of Directors of Voice Found and am a strong believer in the prevention and support work they are doing.
On November 24th, Voice Found put on a live, virtual panel as part of National Victims and Survivors of Crime Week, (November 22nd to 28th). I spoke on this panel along with another one of our board members, we shared our experiences of childhood sexual abuse.