I have not been able to sleep well since the sexual assault a few days ago by the TSA, which is detailed below. I have had some very disturbing dreams and have found myself getting extremely depressed. I have felt completely powerless and ashamed.
I’m the kind of person who generally tells himself and others, “get over it, buck up, get your life together.” And I know I will be able to do this. I also try to avoid drama. Life is about choices — live with your choice and move on is my general philosophy. But I have learned a few things that have increased my empathy and given me some peace. Read on.
The first thing I have learned: have empathy and understanding and charity for those who have suffered sexual abuse. What I suffered is not even a fraction, not even close, to what victims of rape and child abuse and sexual harassment have to deal with. And what I suffered really is messing with my mind in weird, unexpected ways.
If you know anybody who has suffered anything like this, and you never have, please keep in mind that there are strange connections between our emotions and our sexual beings and our sense of privacy that are not always obvious. Somebody who assaults your privacy in the way I was assaulted is chipping away at the things that are the most personal and important to most people. I have felt extremely dirty, like I constantly need to clean myself. As I say, it stirs very weird, unexpected reactions.
One reaction that I didn’t expect: I have absolutely no sense of humor about this situation. There is absolutely nothing funny or harmless or satirical about an unwanted person rubbing your private parts and thrusting his hand down your pants. It violates everything that is good.
Now the good news: there is a way out. There is peace like a river. I was feeling extremely depressed yesterday, and, as is my habit, I turned on my ipod. I had the Priesthood session on my ipod. I wasn’t sure if I was in the mood to listen to it, but Conference started, and an immediate feeling of peace washed over me. President Uchtdorf’s talk just filled me with happiness. This morning I listened to President Eyring and President Monson and the Spirit filled me with love. It was like thunderbolt of the Spirit came from the sky. I don’t know how else to explain it. I felt washed clean.
So, the other thing I have learned is: if you are suffering through a difficult time, turn to the modern-day prophets. Listen to Conference. Read the Ensign. Read the scriptures. Give it a try. It really is helping me.