Due to recent events that have happened and conversations with people close to me I’ve decided to write this post in hopes that it may help others who have suffered similar sexual assaults. I, myself, am a victim as well as many of my close friends and others close to us. It seems that most females I know, and a couple of males as well, are victims of some sort of sexual abuse and/or assault and that, my dears, greatly disturbs me. How can this be? How can this happen to so many and yet, it seems, there be so little assistance from those who are sworn to protect us to keep it from happening again and to our children?
The title of my post is “Little Red Riding Hood Speaks Out” for a reason. I’ve always seemed to find the story of the young girl dark and not as merry as many have tried to write it for children’s books and stories. To me it has been more than just a lesson of never speaking to strangers but the wolf took on a more “predatory” feeling. It rings of sexual assault and abuse to me. (For a brief psychoanalytical break down look here: Psychoanalytic Approach to Little Red Riding Hood )
There are also songs written with that exact feeling put into the lyrics, such a song is “Li’l Red Riding Hood”. This song has many, many videos, and remakes by other artists, made by YouTube uses and they all portray the same sort of pictures with the skimpy, helpless, heavy lidded and occasional dark eyed helpless female that is being overpowered by the evil wolf. There are occasional pictures used as well where the woman is scantily clad in charge but, as I said, it is occasional. The running theme is that the woman is helpless and the wolf, as the predator, is in the power and she is his sexually attractive prey to be taken at will. A quote from Wikipedia, upon doing a search on the song, states:
” The song is built around Charles Perrault’s fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood“, adapted by ending before the grandmother makes her entrance, and explicitly using the ambiguity of modern English between “wolf”, the carnivore, and “wolf”, a man with concealed sexual intentions. The effect, whether intentional or incidental, is to strip away the fairy tale’s metaphorical device and present the relationship between the two characters without literary pretense.
The singer remarks on “what big eyes” and “what full lips” Red has, and eventually on “what a big heart” he himself has. An added element is that he says (presumably aside, to the song’s audience) that he is disguised in a “sheep suit” until he can demonstrate his good intentions, but he seems to be having a hard time suppressing his wolf call in the form of a howl, in favor of the baa-ing of a sheep, at the very end of the song when Sam repeats the word “BAAHED” a few times during the song’s fade. One of its signature lines is “you’re ev’rything that a big bad wolf could want”. ”
(See the song by Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs released in 1966: )
There are many cartoons as well that portray “little Red” as a sexually attractive woman, think Jessica Rabbit, that is irresistible to the wolf. In one such cartoon the wolf is a dressed up high-roller that at first can’t take no for an answer, then becomes the chased instead of the chaser. While this cartoon is funny in its slap stick humor, common in the 40’s with helpless women and such, it still portrays the view that men, at nature, are wolves and females, by virtue, are to be taken and enjoyed. Fortunately, this wolf gets a taste of what’s it like to say “NO” but have someone not listen. Unfortunately he doesn’t learn his lesson about being a gentleman. (See video here: Red Hot Riding Hood)
In any effect “Little Red” is clearly recognized by everyone as the victim of the “Wolf” ‘s lust and desire whether she is young or old. In the original tale, I believe, the red of her clothing is the representation of her innocence and hymen or lost blood upon first coupling and the young girl is the representation of her innocence before womanhood which is about to be stolen/taken by the wolf which is the representation of a man’s lust, desire, and predatory nature. So if this is a “no-brainer” why is it that the laws on sexual assault, abuse, rape and molestation so puny? Why is there a deadline for charges to be filed and dealt with, and why is there a maximum for when people who are charged with these heinous crimes allowed to be set free again, and in most cases, commit those crimes again? Perhaps there is a reason that most of these crimes are never reported and therefore the criminal is free to continue committing these crimes and, if caught, never fully be tried or convicted of them.
I am a victim, as I stated above. I was sexually assaulted as a child and due to my age, 3-4, it was listed as molestation instead of rape. My youth protected me, in a way, as my young mind could not fully grasp what happened and therefor I only have fragmented memories instead of a full recap of events to live with, as many others do. I can remember the garage that it took place in most often, and the beginning of the assault… naked, and the smell of ky jelly in some memories… but not the physical act. I am grateful that I don’t recall all of it. I can recall the floor of a truck, wearing no panties, and voices of people I could trust…. knowing if I just spoke up it would stop. For good, and never happen again… but, scared to death to do so because I didn’t want people I loved to be hurt. See, that was the “threat”, if I told he had said he would kill my family…. it worked, as threats usually do on victims. I live in regret, for not being able to speak up, now. And, I blame myself for that… for not speaking up in that moment. For not calling out for help… even though I know I shouldn’t.
As I grew up I was fearful of male teachers in grade-school. In middle-school and high-school I was fearful of male students my age and older, and could not be close to them without having that flight or fight reaction kick in. The only males I felt safe and secure around were some family members and some males that I’d grown up with, 2 that I can think of, that for some reason I’ve never found frightening or threatening as they projected a protective demeanor. I didn’t date until I was 17…. and then only by long-distance. I still didn’t want them to touch me.
Most of my childhood and teen years I lived in terror of something like that happening again to me or someone that I loved and I had nightmares the entire month after the person whom committed this act against me died when I was younger. Now I live in terror that this will happen to my children and I will be unable to protect them from it. I live in fear that they will become victims and be threatened, as I was, not to speak or tell anyone or something bad will happen. I worry constantly that if this crime occurred that proper and protective measures will NOT happen to ensure the safety of not only my children but others in the community before the tragedy happened again.
They say time heals all wounds and I’m sure in some cases there are victims this applies to, but for me there are still the occasional nightmares brought on from a show I’ve watched that struck to close to home; a calling for jury duty that leaves my stomach in knots and a feeling of nausea that stays with me for a week or more because just the recap of what we’d be hearing caused the reaction. ( I’ve always had to be excused as a juror from such trials.) I will forever live with this just as a murder victim’s family will forever live with the absence of their loved one. This type of crime, however, has no happy memories to fall back on in times of sadness & sorrow. This is not a crime that can be set right by an apology or money. (Although money can make a dent in the bill that will occur by the parent getting help for their child or the victim, themselves, seeing a Dr. ) This type of crime forever changes someone’s life and has a lifelong repercussion, not just for the victim, but for their family. And it harms the ability to be close with someone else intimately, as well as causing issues with their ability to trust their partner. I have found all this to be true with myself as well as with everyone else I know whom has been a victim of such attacks, at any age and of either gender.
This “Little Red” is speaking out. The laws need to change and become harsher. People need to become more aware and stop this. NO woman, man, teen or child should have to live in fear or terror of this happening to them or their children. Please share and pass this along as well as sharing your own experiences if you feel able to do so. I know it’s not easy to do and, for me, requires time to recoup afterwards but, if you’re able to, it is helpful to not just those who have been through it, but to those who do not understand. It’s time for all “Little Red Riding Hood’s” to speak out.
Wishing you blessings, strength and well being,