He Promised to First Do No Harm. Then He Did

But please don’t call me a victim of sexual abuse. I’m a survivor of it.

Jeremy Helligar
6 min readMay 29, 2020
Photo: flickr

I never intended to talk about this in public. For 26 years, I kept it stuffed way back in the recesses of my memory where no-one could get to it. Every so often, I went crawling back there, just to take a peek. I never lingered. The recollection was too blinding, even in the dark.

The memory of being sexually abused still sparks such a wild mix of emotions and reactions — anger, betrayal, confusion, disbelief, hurt, shame — I can never quite pinpoint what I’m actually feeling. The cauldron overflows every time another celebrity is revealed to be a serial abuser of women. It happened with Bill Cosby. It happened with Harvey Weinstein. It happened with Matt Lauer.

I try to look away. I retreat to that old dependable state of denial. When allegations first surfaced that the ultimate ’80s TV dad Bill Cosby had sexually taken advantage of a number of women, I asked myself and others: “But why now? Why are they all coming out with their stories years later, at the same time.”

I thought if I could convince myself they were wrong about what had happened to them and Cosby was innocent, I could convince myself I was wrong about what had happened to me.

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Jeremy Helligar

Brother Son Husband Friend Loner Minimalist World Traveler. Author of “Is It True What They Say About Black Men?” and “Storms in Africa” https://rb.gy/3mthoj