As a teenager, Das could not disclose his abuse when his girlfriend revealed her own. But three decades later, he righted that “self-betrayal,” and today he and Amanda are building a life together.
The deficiencies of his childhood home left Das searching for a mentor, a person who could provide him with some of what his parents could not. A high school teacher exploited that need, became that mentor, and then betrayed and sexually abused Das. The abuse was always present in a corner of his consciousness, but Das hid from the emotional reality of what had been done to him. One summer during his teen years, in the midst of a summer romance, his girlfriend, Amanda, disclosed that she had been sexually abused. Das froze on the edge of his own disclosure, remained silent, and thereafter saw his silence as a profound betrayal, of himself and Amanda.
Years passed, years that included addiction, avoidance of male mentors, and isolation from the emotional legacy of the abuse. Decades after that summer moment, Das began to confront those long-buried emotions, a confrontation that sparked a long-buried memory of the lost moment with Amanda. He wrote to her, to apologize. She responded. They corresponded, and then met, and the connection that was interrupted so many years earlier was restored. Today, Amanda and Das are renovating a house together, just as Das has restored the balance of his life through therapy, meditation, reflection, and a commitment to never again betray any part of himself.