A Balcony View: Aftershocks from a difficult revelation

As you might expect, I am looking forward to tearing into the Advanced Development & Investment Inc. story.

But before I begin to tear at that bone, I need to clear up a bit of business from 2010, not for myself, but for those who may be weighing out the idea of revealing that they are victims of sexual abuse as I did. You need to know the potential consequences.

I wrote a column in November revealing that I had been sexually abused as a child by two perpetrators. I did so because of statistical data revealed on Oprah, indicating that one out of every six men has been sexually abused. I calculated that aside from myself, there could be nearly 16,000 men living in Glendale who were sexually abused.

I also pointed out that most men live their entire lives without telling anyone, and that it is a hidden crime where the victim often carries the burden of shame alone, only to suffer negative emotional manifestations that take a toll on themselves and those they love. These patterns of behavior are common among men who have been sexually abused. Since that was something I could likewise claim, I decided to confront my own demons and find some resolution.

As is often is the case with this column, if my road to self-discovery can assist readers on their own journey, it becomes a positive experience and is worth the effort.

While the column did not reveal the name of my perpetrators, it did reveal that about 25 years ago, I told my sister. What I did not include was at that time, she told me to keep the truth to myself to save the family the anguish it would cause. I did this until the column was published.

What I did not know at the time was what often happens to men who reveal their sexual abuse.

The day after the column was published, my brother flew into town after a five-year absence. My siblings filed a temporary restraining order petition against me, citing bipolar behavior and a few isolated incidents that occurred 30 years ago as reasons to keep me away from my father. (For the record, I have never been diagnosed with bipolar behavior, nor is any family member qualified to make such a claim.)

My sister, who at first expressed remorse for her part in writing, has since decided that I am lying about what occurred. If you think about it, this would seemingly make me the perpetrator of an incredible journalistic hoax.

I reveal my sexual abuse 25 years ago. Then I bide my time for half of my life until I am a columnist at a newspaper. I then use that as the springboard to claim that I have been sexually abused solely for my own career advancement.

Clearly, my foresight to make up a story so many years ago just so I could use it as fodder in a career I never knew I would have makes me as incredible a fortuneteller as Nostradamus. Either that, or there was real credibility to what I was saying all those years ago.

In the end, I prevailed in court against the restraining order. But it cost me $2,000 in legal fees and three days of work to do so. Based on the frivolous allegations contained within it, the court found the request to have no merit and dismissed it without asking me a single question during the hearing.

I had dinner with my father last week — our first private meeting since this began. I was finally able to hear for myself what my sister and brother whispered into his ear. My father was not even aware that he had been named in the restraining order, and that if I had lost, I could have been barred from contacting him for as much as seven years.

In stark contrast, public support has been overwhelming; 100% of the reader comments I received were considerate and supportive. Men and women wrote letters expressing gratitude that I said in public what most could never admit even privately.

So with everything that has occurred, do I regret revealing my truth? Not at all, and I never will. I have found resolution to one part of my life. I see who my real champions are. I have a calm within that I have never known. And while it has created some unpleasant aftershocks, no amount of denial and outrage on the part of others can take away my freedom.

As for the thousands of men out there who still live with this secret alone, know that your road to redemption will not be easy. But what it will teach you about yourself and those who do stick by you will be worth it. I promise you that.

GARY HUERTA is a Glendale resident and author. He is currently working on his second novel and the second half of his life. Gary may be reached at gh@garyhuerta.com.

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