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Harold Aylworth

A letter from his sister sparked Harold’s journey toward healing from years of abuse at the hands of his parents.

Sexually and physically abused by both his mother and his father, Harold and his two younger sisters were warned never to tell anyone outside the family. Harold escaped his family at 18 by joining the Navy. There, he found much needed structure, and “managed to avoid becoming a drunk.” From the Navy, he went to college, got his degree, and also got married and started a family. He supported his family, but found that as his children entered adolescence he could not relate to them.

Then, one of his sisters wrote him a letter in which she openly described the sexual abuse they had all suffered. That letter opened the door to his long-buried memories, and soon Harold began his own process of confronting their legacies. He began working with a psychologist, grappled with PTSD symptoms, and slowly began to recognize how much he had been affected by the abuse. Ultimately, his marriage did not survive, but his relationships with his children did, and they grow deeper with time. Harold volunteered at his local rape crisis center, and the hard work on transforming his trauma is evident in the warm and open relationships he shares with his daughters and grandchildren.