Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Expunging Shame, Embracing Compassion

"I felt sick because I looked at this young woman's face and there was no anger. There was shock, shame and sorrow. The fact that this young lady's father is a convicted pedophile will be with her for the rest of her life."
"If I had known I was going to hurt his family, I would have taken it to the grave. I've caused incalculable damage to his family, and none of them hurt me."
"It's like an indexed tumour, and if you don't excise it, it will consume you. And it damn near did."
Victim unnamed; identity publication ban
At the Elgin Street courthouse in Ottawa on Saturday, Michael Slater, 73, was found guilty of indecent assault, gross indecency and buggery involving two men, 45 years ago when the men who were victimized by this teacher were 13 years of age. As one of the victims, now 58, was leaving the courtroom, he suffered the anguish of regret when he realized how the trial and the revelations had impacted on the family of the man who had victimized him.

He spoke to the young woman, believing her to be his assailant's daughter, and apologized to her. Essentially apologizing for revealing her father to have been a violent pedophile who had almost succeeding in ruining his life, from age 13 to his present 58 years of maturity, and coming to grips with the trauma he suffered. In relieving himself of the haunting secret, making it public, shaming the man who had been a predator, not a trusted teacher, he burdened an innocent, and he acknowledged that tragedy.

He had been raped on three occasions by this teacher, between September 1968 and June 1970; in a classroom for children of military personnel and at a house in Alta Vista. At the time the school, Elizabeth Park, had been operated by the Department of National Defence at Canadian Forces Base Uplands. He testified, among other things, that he had contracted two sexually transmitted diseases resulting from the rapes, which required hospital treatment.

He had also testified that his teacher had warned him to say nothing. Convincing him that his father who was a military warrant officer, would disown him, throwing him out of the family home ... or that he would lose his job if he reported the sexual assault. Fearing that he would be called a "homo or a queer", he divulged his dreadful secret to no one, not even his school friends. He had always confronted bullies as a matter of principle at school, but had no way to counter his teacher.

He suffered traumatizing flashbacks as he aged. The memories gradually took their toll. He had finally informed his wife of 37 years in 2009 of what had occurred to him; the only person he had ever divulged that secret to. When his parents both died in 2009 he decided he would no longer live the past in shamed secrecy. "It would have destroyed my mother. To the day my father died, I'm sure he would have tried to kill Mike Slater", he said.

He had a burning desire to see his tormentor face the results of his predation once he knew his parents could no longer be harmed by knowing what had occurred. Before he took the initiative to confront the man and report those assaults he informed his own children to spare them the emotional turmoil that court revelations might afflict them with. But nothing quite prepared him for the prospect of another man's children being harmed, much less the children of the man he accused.

Over 45 years after the sexual assaults tore his childhood from him, catapulting him into a life of miserably painful recollection, when the guilty verdict was delivered he felt immense relief. Earlier in the year had had gone through a week in court before a mistrial was declared because one of the jurors knew the other victim. "I had to relive those rapes in front of 24 of my peers. It was not nearly as bad as the initial rapes, but it was extremely painful", he said.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

()() Follow @rheytah Tweet