The Best Thing
By Mike Pistorino
www.mikepistorino.comBeing raped is the best thing that ever happened to me.
No, that’s not a typo. Suffering the horrible, traumatic, painful, devastating crime of rape over and over again as a little boy is the best thing that ever happened to me. Because of my horrible past, I am saving the lives of countless children today. Because of the dark and awful places I’ve been, I am showing other survivors the way out of hell. Because of all the pain I endured, nothing can hurt me now.
I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Why would I?
Don’t get me wrong. I can say that I wish that I’d had a family who loved and cared about me. I wish that I’d never wandered to my neighbor’s house in search of love and attention. I wish that neighbor hadn’t raped me hundreds of times. I wish I’d never touched drugs. I wish that I’d never felt like stealing and hitting and using people until they felt as bad as I did. I wish I’d never experienced jail or prison. And I wish I’d never spent more nights on subway trains and park benches than I did in my own home.
Wishing to change the past is a freaking waste of time!
I won’t forgive or forget what happened to me, but what I am doing is using my past to change the world for the better. I can’t go back in time to save little Mikey, but I sure as hell can save kids who are being raped and abused right now, and I can help protect kids from suffering like I did. It’s already happening. People of all ages are telling someone they’ve been raped and they’re getting help because they heard me speak. That makes every bit of pain I’ve experienced in my life worth it. Every bit.
Survivors tend to get caught up in the grief and the sadness of what they’ve been through. I get it. Losing my childhood in the cruelest way was a stab to my soul and that scar remains today. When I think about children today suffering the way I did, it makes me emotional. But you know what? I wasted so many years of my life trying to escape the truth and hide from the pain. The harder I tried to deny it, the more it consumed me.
There was no drug, no amount of hitting or scamming people that was ever enough to keep the pain away. In trying to run from the pain, I was actually making it my best friend. The only way out was to face it, and the only way to make something of my life was to use it.
Being raped as a child has become my superpower.
There is no more fear in me, no more hiding from the truth, and no more shame for what was not my fault. Today I’m a successful business executive, married father of three, marathoner, and public speaker who is reaching tens of thousands of people with my story. Survivors are coming forward to break their silence and get help, adults are learning how to better protect the kids in their lives, companies and individuals are donating supplies and money to organizations that help survivors, and school districts are adopting sexual abuse prevention programming – all because I am utterly fearless with the truth.
I don’t inspire people because I’m a survivor. I inspire people because I’m a freaking ray of sunshine! I’m alive when I really shouldn’t be, and I’m saving children from the horror that I experienced. I can’t help but be happy about that!
The worst thing that ever happened to me has become the best thing. I wouldn’t have it any other way.