There’s an article in today’s Portland (ME) Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram titled Scars of abuse linger for former Boy Scouts now well into middle age.
Unless you have a subscription to the PPH/MST, you may not be able to access the article, which should be required reading for anyone who has ever raised a son or loved a man. It should help you understand. It should piss you off. It should make you ache…
While the sexual abuse of women is front and center for many, there continues to be a real lack of recognition of the life-long impact of sexual predators on young boys.
The invasion of one’s body, the loss of innocence, the fear caused by the predator’s threats, the feeling of a lack of belief and/or protection by one’s parents, the shame… all of these can and do lead to a life of severe depression, anxiety, addictions, and suicidality.
Too often the courts throw out lawsuits against predators, or judges give them a slap on the wrist despite the law allowing for significant financial penalties and jail time.
After my husband died, I tried to work with a Maine legislator and his staff to find a way to insure that predators would face maximum sentencing whenever and wherever possible.
The legislator didn’t respond to my attempts to connect with him for months, then finally assigned someone in his office to talk to me. I was stunned by our first conversation, during which she was abrupt and dismissive. Her very first question was “Who are you working for?”. I didn’t understand the question (surely she didn’t want to know about my job?). She repeated herself, asking which lobbying group I was part of.
Uh, no… this was a personal matter for me.
She told me she didn’t have time to do the research that would be needed. I answered that I just wanted to know where to begin, that if research was needed, I’d do what I could, but I really needed some guidelines on how to make changes in a system that lets predators off far too easily.
She clearly wasn’t interested in – or perhaps she was triggered by – the conversation. She said she’d call back. She didn’t, although she lied at one point, saying she had (my iPhone showed no evidence she’d ever made the call she rudely told me she’d made).
At the time, I was deep in the throes of my grief, while trying to maintain a full-time job and our antiques business. I couldn’t keep up with everything, particularly the uphill battle just to talk to a legislative office – and I let it drop.
Interestingly, I just realized the parallel between my attempts to see that justice was served for victims, and what the victims themselves go through in dealing with the legal system. Wow.
In memory of my beloved husband John Kelly Snyder… 20 Sept 1956 – 21 Oct 2016.
My Johnny was a true warrior, fighting demons no one else could see. I thought he was the strongest man in the world, and perhaps he was, but tragically, the demons got the better of him in this life.
The name of this project is in no way intended to be reflective of, or piggy back off, Wounded Warriors which serves those military personnel wounded after September 11, 20o1. Like too many others, John was a warrior long before then.
Fair winds and following seas, Husband.
We now have a group on Facebook to help find resources, support and ideas for getting The Grief Warrior Project off the ground. You can find us there at https://www.facebook.com/groups/thewarriorproject/
Follow us on Twitter! @WarriorProjME.
Help support The Grief Warrior Project by making purchases from Heritage Collectibles, Books & Maps. All profits (after expenses) go to helping us help others. You can find Heritage Collectibles at https://heritagecollectiblesmaine.com, on Facebook (both a group and a page) and on Twitter (HeritageGifts). Some of Heritage Collectibles’ inventory is on consignment at the offices of Heritage Health Services, 124 Canal Street in Lewiston.
Despite decades of disbelief, I have come to realize that our loved ones are able to communicate with us through the life/death barrier. My Johnny has proved this in ways that I can’t attribute to my own mind making things up… there have been complex coincidences and synchronicities, extraordinary happenings, and messages through others who could not possibly have any knowledge of the information they’ve passed on. Truly mind-blowing stuff. I don’t yet have a coherent sense of what I believe about life after death, but I know my husband loved me with everything he had, and that he still does. Our wedding vows were “to death and beyond” and that has proved true for both of us.
I can’t tell you how it all works, or how you can get through to your own loved one, but if you’re interested, I can tell you of my experiences and my thoughts on this.