Teach Your Children What To Look For And Listen To Them!
I was sexually assaulted by two teenage boys in my neighborhood when I was around 10 years old. The two incidents were independent of each other. I don’t know exactly how old I was or the amount of time that separated the incidents, but based on what I remember, I’m pretty sure I was between 9 – 11 years old when the assaults happened. From what I’ve deduced, the teenagers were both around 4 years older than me.
It was a difficult time in my young life, my father died when I was 6 years old of a heart attack and my mother was a single, working mom — trying to raise 5 boys on her own. I never told my mother about the incidents. If I had, all hell would have broken loose and heads would have rolled. She was absolutely the best mother that ever walked the earth.
The first person I told about these assaults was a girlfriend, I was 20 years old at the time. I’ve since been very open about it and have come to terms with it. I encourage anyone else who has suffered through similar assaults to get it out in the open, talk to people. So much of the pain that people carry around is because they keep it to themselves.
Although there is a difference between my assaults and the ones perpetrated by Jerry Sandusky, there are also similarities. I was manipulated by these older boys in much the same way as the victims of Sandusky. I remember feeling special that these older boys wanted to hang around with me and actually were paying some attention to me. I remember the details of the incidents clearly, but I’m not sure if sharing those details will help anyone, so I will keep it vague. I would surely hate for some pedophile to get off on my descriptions of what happened. They involved oral sex, touching and in one case an attempt at penetration.
I’ll talk about each incident separately.
Greg was an older boy, like I said, approximately 4 years older than me from my recollection. He and I were a part of a group of kids in the neighborhood who decided to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy. We were going door to door trying to collect donations and we also organized a backyard play, a sketch comedy, that we put on for the neighborhood. We charged a nickel to watch. I was dressed up as a girl, with a short skirt, nylons, makeup and a wig. The reaction I got when I came out brought the house down. I remember getting all sorts of attention from everyone. I was a cute little boy and apparently made a pretty cute girl too. I can’t help but think back and wonder if that is the reason why this older boy decided to target me for his assault.
Not only did Greg assault me, but there was one instance when he had his younger sister, who was even younger than I was, participate as well. It happened in the rafters of his garage. I remember getting the impression that his sister had done this before. And I have a very blurry memory of his older sister, who was one of my babysitters for a while, being involved in a different incident. But that memory isn’t as clear as the others. I suspect that they learned it from their parents.
From what I can remember, there were 3 instances when he manipulated me into doing something to him. His tactics were similar to what I’ve heard about Jerry Sandusky, starting with touching, playing around, tickling and gradually becoming more sexual. I don’t think I had even started puberty yet, so it wasn’t sexual to me. I don’t recall how I broke away from his influence, but I do remember avoiding him in the neighborhood for the next few years, after which my mother remarried and we moved out of that neighborhood.
The other teenager who assaulted me lived two doors down from me and his name was John. He was the neighborhood bully and loudmouth. He was taking care of a neighbor’s yard while they were on vacation and he had access to their garage. He set up lawn chairs in the garage and had been hanging around in it. Similar to the other incident, I remember him paying special attention to me and I was flattered that an older kid cared what I had to say or wanted to hang around with me. He was the one who attempted to penetrate me, but I didn’t allow that to happen. He found another way to get off.
One “non-assault” detail that I remember was him giving me a Tic Tac and trying to tell me that it was a drug or something. Tic Tacs had just come to America. I just googled “Tic Tacs” to see what year they came out and it was 1969, which would have made me 7 years old. So, I may have been even younger than I thought when this bastard assaulted me. I don’t remember a lot about that time in my life, I’m pretty sure I was in shock from the death of my father. Unfortunately, some of the memories I do have happened in that garage — two doors down from my house.
I decided to share my story because I know this happens way too much in our world and unless we talk about it, it will continue. There is no way to stop all of it, but if more people talk openly about it and share their experiences, maybe it will prevent at least some of it.
I remember how much better I felt after sharing what happened with Annie, my first love. She had also been molested by an older boy and we both cried and comforted each other as we revealed these assaults to each other for the first time.
I feel very fortunate that I grew up in a household that wasn’t repressed about sex or sexuality. I can only imagine how much guilt or shame I would have felt had I lived in a house filled with homophobia or other sexual repression.
For any young person who might be reading this, there are some things I want to share with you from my experience.
- If an older kid or adult is paying extra attention to you or giving you things, you should be suspicious and tell your parents about it immediately. Even though you may feel special or like the attention, it is a sign that something isn’t right. It may be innocent, but don’t assume that it is, tell your parents about it.
- It is NEVER alright for an older kid or adult to touch you in a sexual way or on areas of your body that are private.
- If an older kid or adult tries to get you alone — away from others, don’t let them.
- Be open and honest with your parents about anything that doesn’t feel right. If a parent or relative is doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable, tell a teacher or counselor at school or some other adult with whom you feel safe. It is not right for them to do that to you and you need to stop them from doing it.
- Don’t feel ashamed if an older person or adult has manipulated you into doing something against your will. You are not to blame, these people are sick and need help and have taken advantage of you. Don’t let them make you feel guilty for what has happened, even if they succeeded in getting you to go along with them. If they tell you that you will get in trouble if you tell, don’t believe them. They are saying that to keep you from telling anyone.
There are many resources for people who are raped and sexually molested.
1in6.org is a place where males who have suffered through this can get confidential help.
RAINN: Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network – the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization. National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.4673 (will connect the caller to the nearest rape crisis center) or: National Sexual Assault Online Hotline at rainn.org. Educates the public about sexual assault, leads efforts to prevent sexual assault, improve services to victims and bring rapists to justice. http://www.rainn.org/ The “Get Involved” page: http://www.rainn.org/get-involved
National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence: Advocates on the issues, designs and provides training, and facilitates collaboration among professionals who work with victims and perpetrators: law enforcement, judges, health care professionals, domestic violence and sexual assault advocates + local, state and federal agencies, educators, faith community leaders, media, and the military, etc http://www.ncdsv.org/index.html
Men’s involvement (whether as survivors, or as advocates): There are a bunch of organizations working specifically with men who want to address the issues of sexual violence – NCDSV has a list of links here: http://www.ncdsv.org/ncd_linksmaleadvoc.html including the Canadian White Ribbon Campaign, co-founded by the late Jack Layton http://www.whiteribbon.ca/
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles