The other day was a big bag of emotions, let me tell you. As some of you may be aware, my wife went to an alternative high school in Springfield, Oregon, called A-3. Yes, the same school who’s long time principal, Michael Fisher, committed suicide earlier this year, when sexual misconduct/assault charges came to light about him.
Now my wife was at the school from it’s beginnings, the first year, as was Michael Fisher, in fact, he was by far her favorite teacher, a feeling shared by many of his former students, it turns out.
However, all was not as it seemed. Obviously, right? As it turns out, the victim that came forward was a friend of my wife’s. They shared a passion for drama, the department that Michael Fisher ran personally. The department, it seems, where Michael Fisher, did his own fishing, for victims.
The girl was a year behind my wife, and though she did confide in my wife that she was seeing a guy that was older, she did not disclose who. She even came to my wife for advice on dating older guys. You see, my wife was dating an older boy at the time, college age. My wife never even thought for a moment that her friend was asking for advice about dating the principal, a man 3 times the victim’s age!
It5 never dawned on her, though in retrospect, she can see all the signs now. And that, is really why I am writing this now. My wife is wracked with guilt. Crying and wondering aloud why she didn’t see it, why she didn’t realize what was going on. She had seen the excessive affection, but hadn’t seen it for what it was.
She had seen Michael Fisher’s other inappropriate behavior, but she was a kid, and didn’t know it for what it was, had even been the recipient of some peculiar, and again, in retrospect, inappropriate behavior herself.
In fact, there is a good chance that Michael Fisher may have begun to target her as well, only to change his mind, and stop the pursuit. Why, well, my wife was not secretive about her dating older men. She was not sly, or secretive at all, rather, she was braggadocios about it. Everybody knew her preferences. Someone as vocal about her dating, would not make a very good secretive, shy little victim.
You have to understand, my wife had led a sheltered, and abusive, both physical and emotional, childhood. She craved acceptance, acceptance she could not get from her peers. She felt a bit like an outcast. So when she bloomed in her teen years, and the college boys took notice, she fell for it hook line and sinker.
As such, to have a popular girl, a gifted young actress(according to Michael Fisher, my wife’s hero!), come to her for advice, well, she was completely blind to the trouble, and was more than happy to share experiences and her advice.
All of this, is now hitting my wife like a brick wall. She feels so guilty. Feels guilty for not noticing, and for inadvertently encouraging the behavior. Feels guilty about dismising the rumors going around, even then. Yes, it WAS discussed.
Try as I might, I can’t get through to her that this isn’t her fault, that she was a child. I know that she seemed like a grown woman in her own eyes, but she was still a teen. The private investigator, and her friends, have told her the same.
She is a sensitive one, my wife. She feels things, pretty deeply. She will also beat herself up over this, for a while. I am just gonna have to keep telling her, it’s not her fault, and letting her know she is worthy, every day… Not that I shouldn’t be doing that anyway.