No Longer Silent
After a religious, child abuse awareness program, an older woman approached our presenter and shared how
her grandfather had abuse her and her cousins as children. This woman kept her secret as a child, a teen, a young adult, a wife and through motherhood. Only after her cousin mentioned the abuse on family road trip did the four 60-somethings disclose their secret shared experiences. It took 50 years for this woman to be heard. She shared that no one spoke about “these things” when she was young. And since no one talked about it she felt very ashamed and alone most of her life. At 66, she was finally able to have someone acknowledge that it was not her fault, that she did nothing to be ashamed of and that she was not the only person this had happened to.
She was grateful the adult program was offered to people working with children and even more grateful that children were learning things she wished she had heard from someone just once over her lifetime.
One Brave Little Girl
When I was young - maybe 5, I was out playing with my friend and we found a small dog. We thought we should walk the neighborhood to find its owner. We searched for quite some time when a teenage boy pulled up in a truck beside us. He was nice and said he would help us look. We climbed in the truck; my friend sat beside him and I sat by the door.
We drove around the neighborhood ... then he turned down an alley. I'll never know why, but my friend, only a couple years older than me leaned down and whispered in my ear, "If anything happens, pretend you're tired and go get my brothers and bring them here." I whispered back, "OK".
Something did happen. He stopped the truck and asked my friend if she had ever seen a boy's peepee - while simultaneously unzipping his pants and reveling his. He asked her to touch it. As I watched what was happening my friend looked at me and I knew. I rubbed my eyes and said, "I'm tired, I'm going home." I opened the truck door, got out, walked to the end of the alley and then ran as fast as I could to her house, and told her brothers what was happening.
I remember speaking with the police about the incident and I know he was caught, but what I don't know is how she knew what to do. I don't know how she must have felt when she put all her faith in a 5 year old. I don't know how she felt when I left her alone with her abuser. I don't know if she knew she was protecting me. What I do know is that she will always be the bravest person I will ever know.