I look at lil lady who'll be 16 on Friday and wonder what I'd do if someone violated her in any way. As one who's been on the down side of that issue, I know my gut instinct would be to shoot first; ask questions later. Naturally, that wouldn't serve either my daughter of myself well seeing as I'd end up indicted because I wouldn't be able to conjure up Johnny Cochran (RIP) to get me off.
Since lil lady was 18 months old, I began teaching her about "good touch' bad touch" because she was enterting pre-school and I wanted her to know that people couldn't just touch her any old kind of way. I told her that neither an adult nor a child could touch her under her clothes, between her legs, or in any way that made her uncomfortable. Fortunately, lil lady was quite a talker at an early age and seemed to comprehend what I was saying and was vocal (in her own way) in asking about what I meant. I checked her over daily and asked if anyone had touched her when she went to the bathroom. Thank goodness there were no negative reports, but it never gave me room for pause because I know how quickly and easily these things can occur.
As she aged, I continued to educate her about "good touch; bad touch" and reinforced how important it was to tell me or another adult she trusted if someone did anything to her. I also reinforced to her that she could talk to me about anything no matter what it was because I would be there to support her through everything. Again, I was and continue to be fortunate that nothing bad has happened to her and I pray that it never will. I feel good as a parent that I take the time to talk to my daughter about not letting anyone do anything to her or be in a position where she could be violated or compromised in any way. As a survivor, I speak from first hand knowledge to lil lady so I don't sound text book, so she can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'll be there in everyway, and that I'll always advocate her safety and well being. I refuse to be that parent who doesn't speak about sexual crimes to their daughter or son for that matter. I refuse to think that it couldn't happen to mine. I also refuse to accept that she should remain silent God-forbid something happened to her. We've discussed the importance of speaking up, coming forward, and enlisting the law if necessary. Forget embarassment and such; sexual assault is a CRIME!
I wasn't fortunate to receive all the warnings, advice, and information that I provide lil lady. I also didn't have the confidence in telling anyone what happened to me until much later in my life. I was blessed to receive strong pastoral guidance, the care of two great counselors, and a few compassionate friends to aid in my recovery and survivorship. I'm in a wonderful place in my life and have put that past very far behind me. It's my goal to help anyone male or female through the recovery process of sexual abuse. It's a heinous and ugly crime that is inflicted far too often.
Whether we realize it or not, we all know someone who's been a victim of a sexual crime. Sexual crimes are not crimes of violence; though the act itself can be; it's a crime of deviance and control. We must not allow this to continue. I ask that each of you get in touch with a resource center and see what you can do to help those affected by sexual crimes. We react to the raping of children in other countries with disgust and passion, yet fail to react when it happens in our homes or communities. Though it's a global epidemic, we must take care of home first. We need to rebuild our communities and prevent this dysfunction and the silence from continuing. We must attention to the behavior patterns of our children. We must stop using sex as a tool or a weapon of mass desrtuction. We have to encourage open dialog on this topic and stop shying away from it. That uncle whom we know it a little "off" so we stay away from him must be confronted if his behavior is that questionable. We can NOT ignore the signs that are often very much obvious.
I'm not embarassed to air my past because I feel that by doing so I'm letting it go and also helping someone else work toward their own healing and recovery.