“I was sexually abused for three years of my life and I had somehow convinced myself that all of that was normal,
that none of it was wrong.”
My name is Mitch Brule, I am a survivor of sexual abuse and childhood trauma. Growing up dealing with childhood trauma was no easy task. For the most part, you do not even recognize that trauma is what you’re dealing with. Trauma manifests itself within you as anxiety, depression, hurt and pain, which almost no one is equipped to deal with. I am sharing my story in hopes that others who have suffered through similar traumas hear of my experience and feel encouraged to come forward and share their stories as well. At the very least, I hope they will be able to say, “That was me, too.”
“That was me” was something I said to myself while sitting on the couch in my family living room. I was watching the 2015 movie Spotlight, and noticed how the victims acted and felt. “Wait, that can’t be what happened to me, right? That wasn’t sexual abuse.” But it was. I abruptly came to the realization that I had subconsciously been enduring a great deal of trauma, and coming to that realization was something that turned out to be incredibly overwhelming.
I spiralled. The previously unexplained anxiety I had been dealing with since I was nine made sense, yet somehow knowing why was so much worse. The human mind is a tricky thing. A close family friend sexually abused me for three years of my life and I had somehow convinced myself that all of that was normal, that none of it was wrong. The illusion was shattered and I was left picking up the pieces of my newfound discovery. Once I started picking everything up, I began telling people what happened. First, my girlfriend at the time, followed by my parents. As I started opening up to more people, things started to feel a little less heavy, yet the burden still remained. It was not until I told a friend who looked at me and said, “yeah, me too” that I was comforted by the thought that I was not alone in this, and that I did not have to go through it by myself.
This is why places like the Centre for Treatment of Sexual Abuse and Childhood Trauma (the Centre) are so important, and why they need donations, funding and more resources to be able to provide help to those who have suffered. I myself was lucky enough to find a wonderful therapist who helped me come to terms with what happened to me and who I am. The benefits of which have been priceless. The services she provided for me are the same benefits the Centre provides for countless others. Without the guidance of their registered therapists, many survivors would be left without the emotional support and guidance of professionals who can walk them through their transition into independence and emotional freedom. Knowing you are not alone, I believe, is one of the most powerful gifts someone who has experienced any sense of trauma can be given. That is the gift that the Centre’s services provide.
--submitted by Mitch Brule, with Myra Carney