Don’t tell your mom. OK. You need to keep it a SECRET.
Is what I heard as a little girl. Being told that constantly you believe that you are suppose to do and what you are told. I was a shy girl. Very introverted. Two braids with fair skin and freckles. And buck teeth.
I look back at my life when I was a little girl and wondered why didn’t I tell anyone the biggest SECRET of my life. I had so many opportunities. But I lived in a bubble. Trapped. At least that IS what my life felt like. Little did I know that all I had to do was speak up and tell someone…anyone and they would have helped me. I had the power to stop it. I truly believe that there were people who were suspicious. There was the time in fourth grade when the Nuns at my Catholic school called me into the Principals office without my mom knowing and asked me what was wrong with me. They expressed sincere concern. They questioned me until no end but I wouldn’t budge. I never told them the truth but oh I wanted too. The roaring lion inside of me wanted to come out. Or how about when my favorite teacher in high school asked me if something was wrong. Mr. Cohen was very concerned. Little did he know that my life felt like it was falling apart as a senior in high school. I had just told my mom what my dad did to me. We were all still living together under the same roof. I ran away for three days. Yes, Mr. Cohen knew there was something wrong and he was right! But I did not have the heart to tell him. I was ashamed. The real kicker is that I had a very close relationship with my grandparents and family but I didn’t tell them either.
Why did I keep a secret? Why did I hold it in for so long? Why did I not stop the abuse sooner?
The abuse started at age 3 (from what I can recall but I think it was earlier) until age 16 —
My father sexually abused me.
In my Home
In his Truck
At Railroad tracks
I think because it started when I was so young, I became so accustomed to the abuse that it became apart of my life. You kind of stop thinking and fighting for yourself. I thought that if I told anyone, then “my family would be broken up” and I didn’t want that to happen. I didn’t want to be blamed or the reason for breaking up our family. I didn’t want anybody to be mad at me. I seriously believed a ridiculously, crazy and absurd lie! I figured it was better to endure the abuse so my family could stay together. As crazy as that sounds, it was true! Yes it sounds unbelievable but most children in my situation actually think that they are responsible for the abuse and develop a fear of being responsible for breaking up the family. I also felt weird telling my mom (this is a story in and of itself so we will save this for another time pinky promise). I felt ugly.
I am only touching on this topic but please talk to your child about child sexual abuse and feeling comfortable to tell you if someone touches them in their private parts or when someone tells them to keep a secret. I would suggest talking about this topic many times and call out the body parts specifically their names. You can roll play different scenarios so that they will understand what you mean and what you are teaching them. Don’t take for granted that your child will know what you are talking about. Children only know what you show them, tell them, and teach them. So, by role playing or drawing pictures helps to teach effectively the message you want to get across to raise awareness and to protect your child. I think that it is really important to spend a lot of time playing and talking to your child. Your child needs to feel safe and secure with their parent so they understand that you will not get mad at them. Your child should not feel they need to hide bad things but rather run to you to tell you anything.
Children who are abused are most often left alone with their abuser.
I was close to my grandparents, they were always there for me as a saving grace and they gave me much peace. My grandparents were my pillars of strength and encouraged me to be strong. I don’t have any memories of wanting to tell them about my abuse. I just remember how I never wanted them to know. I wonder what my life would have been like If I had the courage to tell someone. I was so close to my nana and thatha and they loved me so much. But they never knew I was being sexually abused by my father. I saw them almost on a daily basis yet they still did not know. I don’t want parents to think that this evil could never happen to their child. If it happened to me then it can happen to any child. I was super close to my nana and thatha and they never found out about my abuse. It is my hope that I can raise awareness to educate parents on this taboo topic that no one likes to talk about. So many people sweep it under the rug and don’t know how to talk to their children about child sexual abuse. I encourage you my friend, please talk to your children.