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Mary's Story

My experience happened in the early 1970s when I was in 9th through 11th grades. During these years I attended a small alternative school. During my first year, my family was evicted from our home. The school invited my mom to teach some classes and for us to stay at the school facility because of our situation. So we lived there for the next year and a half.

Soon after we began living there, a new teacher arrived. I was a very shy person who had a previous sexual abuse from age 11 which I still had not told anyone about. My mom had health problems, and we are a small family of immigrants. This new teacher was very friendly toward me and cultivated a mentor type relationship with me over two years.

When I was in 11th grade, my mom and siblings rented a house and left the school. My experience there to that point had been positive and the mentor/teacher had become more involved with me and my family. My family decided it would be OK for me to stay on at the school in a semi-independent status to finish 11th grade. The school was located at a facility where many teachers and some children also lived. A woman and child came to live with the mentor/ teacher as his family. A week or two after their arrival, he came to my room and raped me. The rapes continued over the next six months. I had just turned 17.

Every day he acted toward me as if nothing was going on that was any different than before. One person noticed something and said something to me. The abuser found out somehow and was angry with me, but I believe that these few words from her gave me the encouragement I needed to get out. I arranged to go to a college in another state directly from 11th grade and left in the fall. He came to the college once and raped me there for the last time.

What he did to me was so shocking that I could not accept it consciously for 35 years. The truth came out very slowly and painfully, starting after a brief chance encounter with him. He made no mention of having sex with me and showed no concern for me. My life-long, low-grade mental problems suddenly became much worse without me being able to figure out why. It took almost 10 years for me to fully face the truth and the emotions that I felt. Then I had full blown PTSD for the next five years.

Even though I could never directly think about these events, my entire adult life was polluted with self-loathing, fear and anxiety, and the rage he instilled in me. When I finally sorted out what really happened with my adult mind, talked to others who knew me at that time, and found things that I had written at the time buried among my possessions, my self-loathing and suicidal feelings turned into a ceaseless rage that went on for those five years. Finally, I am regaining my sanity, now in my late 50s. But there are many things I have had to accept loosing as a result of what happened. The teacher went on teaching and having contact with vulnerable young people. Finding this out has made healing especially difficult. Helping people understand the consequences of this form of abuse is now one of my aims in life.

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