• Allan Shedlin

Where the Fu*k Was My Father?

Guest Post by Doug Erwin


An introductory note from Allan:

When Doug Erwin virtually handed me the letter he wrote below (via email), he said two things:

  1. You’re the first person I’m sharing this with; and

  2. Where the fuck was my father?! He should have been protecting me!

It is Doug's and my wish for all who have suffered unconscionable abuse that his coming forward will help reduce – perhaps even eradicate – the suffering that is caused when one human being abuses another.

After reading the letter, I told Doug I was so sorry he had experienced this childhood trauma. I told him I was honored that he felt comfortable sharing it with me, and asked him if I might share it here on the Daddying blog because it raised such important issues about "fatherhood." (We've always maintained that when we refer to fathers in our work, we refer not only to biological fathers but also to grandfathers and other men who play "fatherly roles.")

Doug encouraged me to share it and said he preferred I use his real name rather than making it anonymous. He felt it would help his ongoing process of healing. And by drawing attention to this horror and making it more personal, perhaps the obscene number of people who have suffered similar atrocities would no longer be seen only as a congregate, which has had the effect of depersonalizing the issue.

He hoped publishing the letter might lead to minimizing the chances it will happen again.

We agreed that:

  1. Because we are living at a time when there is so much attention on the issue of sexual abuse (Women's USA Gymnastics, Me Too movement, Catholic Church, National Women's Soccer League, Boy Scouts of America, teachers/coaches, etc.), it was important to add his story and provide another opportunity for healing and accountability; and

  2. Because when those in a position of trust violate its sanctity, it must be made known in the hope that it might serve a preventive purpose.

Doug Erwin, age 11

As we discussed Doug's trauma, we talked about the mind-boggling numbers of victims who have been brave enough to come forward and may only be a small per