A letter to …
I have learnt a lot about the use and misuse of power since I first met you. I was not a child at that time, but I was still innocent, in the ways of the world at least. I was unfamiliar with the art of seduction, you obviously had an advanced degree in it, and you used it on me.
Why was I taken in by your flowery words, and chivalrous acts? I often wonder why. I didn’t see through the sheen of your lies, they were disguised by your patina of kindness, concern and thoughtful acts. Yes, I was naive. You knew that instinctively. It seems like I was a game to you. This is my life, not a game. I later learnt that I wasn’t the first one that you abused, and sadly, I’m pretty sure I won’t the last, either.
I have avoided anything to do with you, or the church you serve, for many years. Then, other people started to speak out and I silently whispered, “Me, too.”
Now, I’m not hiding.
Today, I decided to look for you. I wanted to find out what you are doing. Sorrowfully I discovered that you are doing the same thing. I’m afraid that you really are doing the same thing, to other people like me. You are a predator; there are no nice words to describe you, just the plain truth. When asked, the church says that what you do is normal, they accept the predatory sexual proclivities from its pastors. They reject people like me who rock the boat. People who they don’t see as normal – anyone who doesn’t tow the official line in silence.
I will no longer be silent. The church organisation is your scaffolding, so you continue to collect trophies and destroy people’s lives’ as you go. I know you are in America now, and I fear for the vulnerable souls in your path of destruction.
I thought you were different, being a man of the cloth, but I was wrong. No, you were wrong. You knew what you were doing, you had a plan and, with practised perfection, you carried it out with a smooth smile, a twinkle in your eye that matched with your designer suits, silk ties, and pocket handkerchiefs.
Hundreds of people were enchanted by you. You could control a congregation like the conductor of an orchestra. I was also fooled by your act. I was taken in. I was taken, without knowing what was happening until it had. Without having a voice. Without understanding how this could happen to me. Again.
No. You weren’t the first who saw my vulnerability. You were one of a few who have peppered my life with incidents I have hidden away, because I felt wrong. Yet, I wasn’t the perpetrator of the crime. Yes, you are a criminal. You all are, because you took what wasn’t yours to take. You stole innocence, childhood, and peace along with the remnants of trust that still existed in my young life.
What you left was a rawness. Physical pain, aligned with an everlasting doubt about myself. And because I couldn’t believe it, especially in those early days, I frequently revisited the timeline of knowing you. I analysed it from every angle and tried to see what I didn’t see before; a way out, an opportunity for the unspoken words that I now know how to speak.
You are evil, selfish, wicked and destructive.
You are wrong. You did me wrong.
You did me wrong.
I’m not staying silent any longer.
You no longer have the protection of my silence to continue your crimes.