Brian Siska—Child Sex Abuse Survivor
I am running a half marathon Saturday April 4th in Chicago. The reason—Child Sex Abuse Awareness. In 1987 when I was 5 years old, I was sexually abused by a neighbor. I know it happened at least 3 times. I couldn’t tell you if it happened 100 times or just the 3 times, but unfortunately it happened. Why now, why am I telling this story now? After 30 years of not saying a word? My kids…... Plain and simple. My kids.
When I was younger, I always knew something bad happened, but thought it was my fault, or just thought I was a weird kid and wanted to do these things at the age of 5. I completely blocked these memories out of my head until I was about 21 years old. This is when I had my first girlfriend and started, well, to be blunt having consistent sex. At this time in college, thoughts and memories starting coming back in my head. I was like wait, did that really happened? Did I want to do that at 5 years old? All very confusing. I came to realize that something bad did happen, and no matter what, I was going to take this to my grave. I did not want to be known as damaged goods to anyone. Nor did I want to be called a liar. Well around this same time, I had my first panic attack at Eastern Illinois University. I was sitting in class and just thought I was going to pass out. I know today why I have anxiety and depression. But had no idea what was going on in my mind back then. After college I got on medication but that still was not enough. I needed something to numb my pain of all these horrible memories. And my drug of choice was GAMBLING. Sports gambling, blackjack, anything. I became a compulsive gambler around 22-23 years old. I mean anyone who knows me, knows I have a gambling problem. And anyone who knows me a little, knows I am a little weird. Who else punching themselves in the face after losing a bet? But gambling did help out a lot with numbing the pain I was in. Just like someone numbs the pain with drugs or alcohol. The problem is it started destroying everyone around me.
September 1, 2016 was one of the greatest and most anxious days of my life. My beautiful, amazing, funny, loving daughter was born, Libby. I was like holy shit, she is perfect, I can’t believe she is my daughter. When Elizabeth was born, she had some medical problems. She was in and out of the hospital a lot for the first year and a half of her life. My wife and I had many trips to the ER for her breathing problems and spent many nights at Christ Hospital. I could not imagine something bad happening to her. I kept thinking in my head, what if something happened to her that happened to me when I was a kid. I have so many nieces and nephews and kept thinking, what if something happened to one of them. Why don’t people talk about this? This shit happens, and still happening.
I broke down a couple years ago and told my wife, Courtney, what happened when I was a child. I told my family, and recently told a few close friends. I need to talk about it with someone. I want to get the message out. This happened in the 1980s and it is still happening today. I am not looking to press charges against anyone, or get money, or be the poster boy for child sex abuse. I just want parents to be AWARE that this happens still TODAY. I have so many friends and family with young children. I am in no way telling anyone how to parent or try to freak out any parents. Talk to your kids, tell them what’s right and wrong. Get to know the parents of your kids’ friends. Get to know your neighbors.
I know it’s so cheesy to say, but if this helps one kid, if writing this helps one parent, maybe second guess something, or think maybe another parent is a little off, it’s worth it.
I wanted to tell my story for about a year now, but just didn’t know if it was the right thing to do. But if it saves one child, it’s worth it. My kids are my life. Libby and John are the best things that have ever happened to me. Also, my wife will get a special place in heaven for putting up with all my shit over the years.
Most people that know me will read this and say, yeah this makes a lot of sense. I was never always the most normal person but deep down I am just a quiet, generous, ok person. I also think boy I wish we never moved on that block in Evergreen Park 30 something years ago. But besides what happened to me, this neighborhood and block had to be one of the greatest of all time. All of these families within a block of my house, all boys my age. Moriarty, Morlan, Drumm, Lyons, Panfil, Gray, Dwyer, Boudreau. Still friends with most of these guys 30 years later. It’s hard to find that anywhere.
My point of writing, is let’s talk about this shit more. We all have our own problems. People just don’t become alcoholics, drug addicts, or compulsive gamblers for shits and giggles. Its bullshit and not fair that this happened. These people took away a lot from me, but all I can do now is get better and spread the word.
The good news in all of this. My life is not over. I am 37, I have an amazing family. I have awesome friends; I have my own company. I am training to run a half marathon April 4,, 2020.
Working out, running or doing Treadfit Palos Heights helps my mental health so much. This article is also written by a 5-year EIU graduate with a Family and Consumer Science Major, whatever that is…so please be nice with any spelling errors. Thanks everyone for the support.
Two incredible documentaries to watch. “The Keepers” and “Leaving Neverland”
If you can’t donate, come join me. Unlike Forest Gump...LET’S RUN FOR SOMETHING. Email me if you want to run. Bsiska25@gmail.com.