There has been a secret you’ve been concealing, that’s most likely eating you up inside, however, you now have mustered enough courage to tell someone you trust. It’s rough, and you’re just a kid.
Protection and trust have already been shattered by your abuser; you just couldn’t take it anymore, now it’s time to receive compassion, tenderness and told you were so courageous for coming forward and that person will be punished.
It may perhaps have been very positive for you, you were believed, acknowledged, obtained love, affection, sorrow and apologies for this ever happening; possibly counseling. You went on to recover with perhaps some difficulty, but you received support.
Instead, it was the most regretful day of my life.
A brief detail of my abuse. Our neighbor (Fred), whom I adored, trusted, showered me with gifts and termed me his “princess”, began sexually abusing me at around five or six years old for about 2 years. He had free rein while babysitting my (baby) brother and me a few days per week, as well as, taking turns at his house while his wife was upstairs.
The nights of sexual terror became more recurrent and I could cling on to this “secret” no longer; ultimately breaking down and “telling”. My parents confronted him, which of course he denied any wrongdoing. Confusion and my head muddled, I was ordered to apologize to this person for causing trouble.
So, on a sweltering, hot afternoon, I walked next door. Standing there unaccompanied, frightened, bewildered, yet furious, I behaved like the noble little girl – rapped lightly on the back door. When he appeared, I respectfully stated “I’m sorry for the trouble that I caused”, with him responding, “that’s ok we all make mistakes”. Those words make me well up with tears to this day.
This is the way I surmise my parents reacted to my “telling”:
~~I can’t believe this, Fred, of all people, he adores her and would never hurt her
~~Sexually abusing her, doesn’t seem right, there is no way, she must be making this up
~~I think she is getting him back for something, she’s spoiled rotten
~~She always has this wild imagination, always in her room dreaming up stories, a loner
~~He’s always buying her gifts and showering her with love and now she does this to him
~~Well, I don’t believe for one minute this happened, do you?
~~I don’t know, possibly he touched her and she interpreted it wrong
~~We better confront him, although I feel bad, almost embarrassed, but we want to get his side
~~Well, I am so angry and embarrassed. He said there is NO way he would ever touch her.
~~I totally believe him. He said he cares for her too much to ever do that
~~She is an embarrassment to this whole family now, accusing him of this horrible thing
~~This is the worst thing a kid could ever do to an adult
~~That’s it, no more contact between him and her, and no more babysitting for sure
~~I’m so mad, I’m spitting nails, what happens if the other neighbors find out, we are going to be shamed. She is grounded for at least a month.
~~The only thing to do to smooth things over is for her to apologize to Fred. Get her to go over NOW
~~And, we should invite them over on Sunday for dinner, and I’ll make my special potatoes. What did I do to deserve a kid like this?
I felt I was doing the right thing by telling my parents, but when they didn’t, believe me, I was dumbfounded. The day I apologized was the day my soul was broken, taking years to trust anyone again. I remain in therapy until this day healing from both sexual and emotional abuse as a child.
Written and copyright by Deb McCarthy 2017