What if Saint David’s School and the men who were abused there years ago could open up to each other in a truthful way?
Imagine for a moment what opposing parties are feeling and thinking about sexual abuse at Saint David’s. Imagine this based on what has ensued to date, the actions of each party up until now.
Deeply imagine, letting your heart open up.
Here’s where I go ...
If I’m the Headmaster or the President of the Board of Trustees at Saint David’s (not its counsel, which operates strictly in terms of legal protections), I’m maybe thinking and feeling:
Who are these people? Why are they bringing up things that happened forty or fifty years ago? What do they want? Why aren’t they over it? How much have they contributed to the annual fund each year? Why didn’t they speak up years ago? Is it just that they see a chance to get some money out of us? I’m trying to make this school the best it can be, I’m aware of sexual abuse and have provided all kinds of trainings to this community ... and here they are interfering with the start of a very challenging new school year. I honestly do believe in our school’s motto and philosophy. Also, I like it the way things are – I live well, and I don’t want to be dragged through the muck. I’m sorry these things happened, but seriously: why don’t they get over it? We have to preserve the school’s bottom line. We may have a huge endowment, but if everyone who was abused comes forward and demands money, we will go broke. Probably other gold-diggers will pile on too. This could affect the school’s reputation immensely. What if Tom Brady takes his kid out of the school and talks about all this?! The men who say they were abused probably brought it on themselves by flirting with the teachers. We feel attacked and scared and we are confused and angry.
(sculpture from Burning Man by Alexander Milov)
And as an abused person, I might be thinking and feeling this:
Why isn’t Saint David’s telling me and the public that they believe me? Why aren’t they expressing sympathy? I spent nine hours every day there, for nine months every year, from pre-K through 8thgrade! Obviously, this was a formative time of my life, if not THE formative time. I may not have made many, or any, alumni donations to the school, but that’s my business. Why can’t Saint David’s at least apologize? The present school is built on the past and transparency creates trust and connection. I could use some money right about now, but I’m not out to destroy the school. I feel a little guilty asking for compensation. I paid thousands of dollars for therapy and the school did not do its duty to protect me. Other men are filing suits, why don’t I? I’m getting angry that the school just wants me to shut up and go away. I’m angry at being ignored, and feel like I’m being abused all over again. Abuse at Saint David’s had a huge impact on my life because at the time I was told to shut up too. All of my relationships and work life and emotional life were impacted by that abuse, in so many horrible ways. Saint David’s seems to have no idea what such a childhood trauma can do to a person, how the pain of rape can lead to a life of suffering. I know a guy who killed himself. Others who used drugs or alcohol or whatever to numb the pain. What’s so hard about all this? I feel attacked and scared and confused too.