Firstly, I have put off writing this for so long now because of not wanting to sign my name. I didn’t want this being broadcast, again. I didn’t want any attention coming towards me, or my children, over this.
I talked with friends, with family, and even with one of the parents involved about writing this post/letter. I didn’t want to detract from what I thought needed to be said, and I really didn’t want to make things worse for the families involved.
Everyone said, “Yes. Write it. Tell it. People need to know.”
I kept waiting though… I wanted to remain anonymous. I was not ready to put my name down… I’m still not. But this needs to be said… So, I’m writing it.
Secondly, Yes, I’ve told this “tale” before. You may have noticed a connection between a prior post I wrote, Little Red Riding Hood Speaks Out, back in 2013 and the name of this post.
In that previous post I told how, to me, the story of Red Riding Hood was predatory and reeked of stolen virtue. I spoke about how, at the tender age of 3, I lost my innocence to a male that was around the same age as the person involved in a recent event.
And so, I’ve entitled this post along the same lines. There is a reason for that.
So, without further ado….
Little Red Has More To Say
Some things have changed, other’s haven’t. Some for the better… Some for the worse… Most of it being my opinion on which is which, but I think you will agree that one of the things that is not for the best is that it hasn’t changed with these types of horrific acts still occurring with our children, the young… the teens… even the adults (a child is a child in their mother’s eyes, no matter the age).
But, recently (OK, not so recently)… this past school year (2017-2018) there was an incident that came to light that resonated deeply within me. It involved a few people, most of them are very young… some are adults… It brought back some very unpleasant memories I had hoped to have finally sealed away, or at least dealt with…
those feelings … those triggers … they never really go away. Not when things like this happen so close to Home. To people you KNOW … to children so close in age to your age when it happened to you …
It’s brought it’s own set of panic attacks, anxiety attacks, reoccurring nightmares (new and old), and gut-wrenching fear to me. It was almost identical in certain ways as to what happened to me, all those years ago….
Almost… but not quite. Thankfully.
Writing about this is not easy. I abhor opening myself up to these thoughts, feelings, memories. I’m dreading sleep…
In that previous post, I spoke of how laws are extremely unfair concerning this type of crime. That they should be made harsher. The victim in these types of crimes usually has to live with it for a life-time. They have no happy memories to fall back on afterwards, unlike the families of other types of crimes where something/someone was stolen, ripped away, or killed.
You see, the memories that these victims get to deal with … are living nightmares.
- I remember, being told that if I told anyone what was happening to me that he would kill my mom, dad, and newborn baby brother.
- I remember, sitting in my parents room, on their bed, while my mom asked me … pleaded with me … reassured a crying, trembling, scared little me that everything would be ok, if I told her what had been happening.
- I remember, the smell of KY Jelly … it still makes me a little sick to smell it.
- I remember, the feel of the cold, hard cement floor against my back and bare butt.
- I remember, the feeling of it starting, and the terror … I do not, thankfully, recall the acts themselves.
- I remember my Uncle showing up by the truck I was hiding in …
I wasn’t hurt that day because of that. You’d think that was a good memory, but ….
The guy that killed my innocence had taken me in his truck to get some hay from a haystack below his house and had been about to start removing my panties when he saw a vehicle coming. It was my Uncle, with a pickup full of friends, and the guy told me to hide and not to say a word. I obeyed… I was to scared to pop-up and say anything to my Uncle. I knew if I did that I would never be hurt again… that he would protect me … but I was petrified to do so.
I continue to blame myself for that. Logically I know better, but I still do… all these years later, I still blame the young child for not speaking up.
When I have the nightmares, I yell at myself to speak up… berate my young, little self for being such a coward and not speaking up … for not changing it … for allowing it to continue …
There are other memories, too, but those are the most vivid, and recur the most in my mind, and nightmares.
I also remember when the lady who took my statement came… the “special” dolls she used to help me tell her every thing. The dolls were all “anatomically correct”. I remember her telling me that her daughter had made them specifically so that they could help kids like me tell her when bad things happened to us.
Yes… I’m nearing 40, and I still remember that. Showing the legal representative, sent to get my statement, what all had happened to me with dolls that were anatomically correct… including penises, vaginas, and rectums… and I wasn’t even 5 yrs old at the time.
My age protected me from a lot of memories, thankfully, but I still have some.
I have enough that I have had to quite watching shows because of content… nightmares came back.
And, for once, I’m actually glad I have reasons to not be able to serve on a jury for certain cases. I could never handle that process if it came to that type of trial for the children now effected by a life-altering experience… just hearing the charges makes me physically ill and gives me anxiety/panic attacks. The nightmares come back, too.
But more on that later, let’s get back to what it felt like, as a victim of childhood sexual abuse, to hear rumors of an undisclosed number of 5-6yr olds (Kindergartners!) being sexually abused at school. (Yes, you read that correctly…. AT SCHOOL!!!!)
At first, I felt angry. Not the anger that you feel because of the innocence of the child has been ripped away, but the fury of Artemis when a male dared to even attempt to touch one of her maidens.
I was furious that this had even happened.
I was furious that this had happened to not only one child, but it had happened to several… and not just once.. but multiple times.
I was furious that this had happened in the one location that ALL our children should at least be safe!
I was furious that the adults in charge of that age-group seemed to think they had done nothing wrong in the safe-guarding of our children.
And… I was furious that people still dared to say that the individual that was purported to be behind these attacks was a “Good Kid”.
You see, the place this happened is in a small town. By small I mean around 1k population… livestock outnumber the people, type deal. So, the rumors flew like wind-swept sparks igniting dry grass into a massive wildfire of speculation and hearsay.
No-one was supposed to know about it, hush-hush, but that tends to mean that everyone has heard some version of it by the end of the day. That’s never good for the victims, or their families….. damaging actually.
You see, I still remember what it was like all those years ago when the rumors flew about, like great black clouds darkening the sky, when it came out what had happened to me. Yes…. I remember….
Some people swore I, a child of 3, had made it up… he was a “Good Kid”. Not sure how that one happens, but Ok. (I didn’t know that was what they were saying at the time, but you know how it feels when people think you are a liar.)
Some people just wanted to talk about all the “juicy details”…. mhmm…. my family’s and my pain obviously meant nothing because questions were asked…. in front of me. But, I’m just going to chalk that one up to the morbid fascination humanity has always had with the more sadistic and terrifying side of life.
I remember people always seeming to be whispering…. or talking about something then shutting up as soon as we came near.
I remember feeling extremely anxious about being out in public because it felt like I had done something horrible by telling, even though I was continuously being told that I had done nothing wrong.. the feeling was there.
I remember that it seemed like my (extended) family was split over something.
I remember feeling like I was on display….
I remember feeling dirty.
And worse of all, I remember feeling like I had hurt my Mother by saying anything at all and wishing I had said nothing.
My Mom told me later when I asked what happened, because I didn’t remember a trial ever happening, that she had chosen to not put me through more than I had already dealt with. That she didn’t want me to have to go through a trial as well since it was bothering me enough with the talking, and she wanted to put it behind me quickly. I also found out she wanted the guy to get help… she hoped that it would be better that way. I know she regretted that choice later in life because of things that happened.
Thankfully, one of the things I do not recall anyone ever saying to me was that I needed to just “get over it and move on”. There is no way in the world you can speed up the healing process. There is no way for a victim, of any crime, to just move on without that healing process. And it is a process.
The very notion of someone, anyone, ever thinking a child could ever just get over something so horrific, and move-on in this short of a time period is beyond comprehension. These words are exceptionally cruel and hard-hearted to me. It will take years to happen.
I was actually glad I had time to process that intense and immediate fury… and that I had someone I could speak to that had a much better way of knowing more than the idle gossip when it comes to the school, although I have no clue how they do… but they do, because I was able to hear enough of the truth that I could ignore the more vivid of the rumors. I initially wanted to do some very stupid things, and say some incredibly irrational things to all the adults that I felt had done an incredible disservice to every child in the valley, but especially those who were harmed.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t until after I had been given a jury summons that I was able to get out of being called. It was also about that time, though, I realized I knew a parent of one of those children and was able to speak with them about what it felt like to me, and about the idea I had brewing in my head to write this piece. We spoke as parents of little kids, and I shared with them the things I had gone through and hoped that they, with their spouse, could ward off with their child. We spoke about the individual that had caused this horrible event in the first place, and how certain people still thought they were a good person…. as well as the adults that still thought they had done nothing wrong.
In short, we spoke at length about a few things. I’m not sure whom helped who the most… or if I even helped them at all, but I know it helped me a lot to get certain things off my chest and to know that at least one of those precious souls is receiving the best care they can to be able to combat the years to come.
Proper therapy is important. There has to be some. Anyone who has ever been abused needs to be able to talk about it, and it’s usually easier to tell someone outside of your immediate circle that someone in it. Without the proper professional/careful help future relationships can/will be damaged. There is no doubt in my mind, now, that middle school/high school would have gone a lot smoother for me if I had been open to counseling/therapy.
(I say usually, but there are times that isn’t the case. Use your best judgement on which is better for the individual/situation if you’re seeking counseling/therapy for you or someone in your care.)
In hopes of helping myself ‘deal’ with my past, once I was ready to actually talk about it later in life, I asked the questions every victim of any crime asks, “Why me?”, “Why did he choose me?”, “What made me so special?”
The answers to my questions? “She tempted me.” “She was beautiful.”
I took a psychology and sociology course in hopes that they might try to help me understand that. I came to understand the logistics… but I still do not understand. I still feel hurt, injured, like my innocence was murdered. My childhood, stolen… ripped away.
Perhaps I would be better off if I had been put into counseling for it at an earlier age. But, I don’t know. My Mom tried a few times to get me into different types of therapy settings a few times during my teen years, but I wasn’t ready/open for it. It wasn’t until I was out of school and no longer living at home that I finally was ready to open up to a trained professional… and that only lasted a couple of weeks the first time.
Either way, there is no point in trying to second guess the past. All you can do is learn from it. That’s why I’m sharing more of my story here. In hopes that those who read this realize it is important to get that help from a professional.
Burying it as though it is a dirty little secret helps no one… least of all the child. If you need examples, here’s a few:
- I never dated in HS until I was around 17. I was scared of the boys…
- I was scared of most of my male teachers in school, all grades. (Because they were older than me.)
- Any male, in HS or that was older than me, usually scared me just by being around me. Only a select few made me feel safe, or didn’t bother me. It did eventually get better, with time.
- The only relationships I had for a long time were long-distance. I was scared of being touched… even a hug.
- I was really over-weight in school. I did lose a bunch a couple of times, but I’m still scared to lose all the weight.
I know it’s ridiculous, but… even counseling has not helped with it. It’s like I’m excited and happy to be down to a certain point… then I start to panic and have nightmares because I don’t want to lose my protective shell.
I also get to live in fear of this happening to my own children… And I feel helpless to prevent it. I know just how easily it can happen.
While I don’t know if this post will helped anyone, I do find some comfort in knowing that in talking with others about writing it, I gained some comfort for me. I gained some piece of mind, as well, in knowing I have an amazing support group of friends, and family. Some of us have formed a sort of support group for ourselves, those who have either been victims of childhood sex crimes or have children who were victims, but are working on the logistics of opening up a group for others to join where they can remain anonymous if they desire. Once we do, I’ll post the link here.
There is also a motorcycle group that I follow on FB that is an international organization, Bikers Against Child Abuse International; their page is view-able even without FB. They have local chapters all over, and their sole mission is to create a safer environment for abused children. To protect and give them encouragement as needed. It really is a fantastic group and worth checking out/supporting.
It’s time, I think, for ‘Little Red’ to end this post. I can not think of anything else to add at this time that may be of interest or worth saying.
Be safe, Be well and know you are loved.