I’ve started and erased this post at least five times. This Topic is a difficult one for me to write about, and yet not, at the same time. You see, I’m a molestation survivor and a trained sexual assault prevention educator, so I feel like there’s a rather large responsibility on my shoulders to write a very well thought out post. What I think I’m going to do is just write from my heart.
This is a very serious topic for me and many many others. I was doing a little bit of research, because I tend to do stuff like…ya know….research on topics that catch my eye or have some real meaning to me. In this case the topic of molestation hits home because, you guessed it, I was molested starting from the age of about 7 or 8.
Like I was saying, I was doing a little bit of research and found out some really surprising things. For instance, did you know that there are an estimated 3 million children molested in the United state each year. Think about that for a second, 3 million children. I’m sure your thinking something along the lines of, “But most of them get help and are saved from something as terrible as being molested….right?”
Wrong. In 1998 for example there were about 103,000 reported and confirmed cases of child molestation in the U.S. That means something like 900,000 children who were being violated were NOT rescued, were not helped. This is not alright. This is, in my opinion, disgraceful.
I don’t know, and really can’t know what the reasons for all those other children not coming forward are. I do however know from my own experience why I didn’t come forward. The simple answer would be that I was afraid, not only of the man that was doing the molesting, but also of how I would be looked at and treated if someone found out.
The last part of that statement is what really bothers me, I was afraid of how everyone else would treat me after they found out. I knew that my mom would love me no matter what, I knew that my family would understand and show me compassion. My friends though? Are you kidding me? I could never let them know. I could never let my teachers or parent’s friends or anyone else for that matter know what I was going through, what had and was being done to me.
I already felt dirty, worthless, and broken. What would everyone else think? Would they think I was unclean? That I was disgusting? Would they shun me and turn their backs on me and push me away because I was the freak that had been contaminated by a monster? These were all questions that I asked myself. These were all questions that were answered, at least back then, by the people around me.
I remember very clearly in Middle school having a guest speaker in one of our classes that was talking about Molestation and Sexual Assault. I remember how the boys in the class, many of whom I called my friends, snickered and outright insulted the stories of men that had been raped, male children that had been molested. To them it meant one thing, and one thing only, If you were molested or raped by another man, you were a fag, queer, homo, ect.
I vividly remember that inside I felt two strong, and utterly contrasting emotions at the same time. One was a heart stopping dread, fear coursed through my very core, I could never let these people know what was going on. They would ridicule me and make me feel worthless. The second emotion was Blinding Rage, How dare these people, most of which I’m sure had never experienced these terrible things, laugh and call those victims names? How was that alright? The simple answer was that it wasn’t.
That it was wrong didn’t change the fact that the way people acted wasn’t going to change. I suppose that some people would say that it’s in our nature as humans to mock and ridicule that which we don’t understand. Even if it’s at the expense of those around us that might be suffering already.
Something needs to be done about this. Something needs to change in the way things like molestation are spoken about, not something that whispered among adults and never fully explained to children. It should be something that is spoken about often, that is taught to young people early on so that they might avoid ever feeling isolated if something like this happens to them. In ever aspect of life people should be accepted, and topics such as this one should be explained and made out as a reality, not something that could/would “Never happen to me/someone I know.”
I’m still dealing with some of the issues that developed from my being molested, and to be quite honest I’ll probably be working through these things for the rest of my life. It took the man that was hurting me dying, and my own frustration with the ridicule I was hearing everywhere to come forward and say to anyone that would listen, “I was molested, and if it happened to you, or is happening to you, tell someone. You aren’t alone.”
So I say to my readers, You aren’t alone. There are people that have gone through the same things and are alright now. There are people that can protect you and keep you safe, people that can help you heal. I would ask those of you that read this and haven’t been touched by the dark shadow of molestation to help inform your friends, let people know that this is a real problem. This is something that you can get help for.
Most of all readers, Let yourself be one of the people that can help.