My story of near-rape: Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month

 

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month. I've decided to share a personal story with you, hoping it will shed a little light on a much needed Parenting topic: Communication

Shara_portraitMy near-rape story

I grew up in a home where my parents often mentioned the need for safety and making wise choices. From an early age they were talking to us about predators and about the effects that dressing in slutty attire would have on the boys/men who see us; drawing the wrong kind of attention to their daughters and so on.

Although we discussed these issues many times, my brain did not comprehend the consequences of making poor choices. Perhaps my parents didn't give me enough real-life situations to consider and mull over; I'm not sure.

In grade 9 I got into trouble for skipping class. I was given after-school detention. In that room I met a boy - an older Senior boy. He was a football player and was tall, handsome and very well built. I was tiny, undeveloped and a bit shy. He took a liking to me and began to flirt (no doubt he saw me as an easy target). I found the attention completely flattering and was drawn to his charm. We had detention together for a few afternoons. He then invited me to come over for lunch, during the school lunch hour.

I agreed.

Why did I agree? I seem to remember thinking: "This cool, popular, handsome boy wants to have lunch with me? Wow."

He lived behind the school and we walked together, crossing over the football field. Through the gate and one block over - we arrived at his house. We went inside. He took me into his bedroom. I can still remember the layout, his bed and the clock on his wall. I remember looking at the time wondering how quickly we'd need to eat lunch before getting back to school.

A moment later he was on top of me, on his bed, kissing me. I felt hot and confused and scared out of my mind. What? What is he DOING? I asked him to stop. He replied, "What did you think I invited you here for?"

I said sheepishly, "Lunch."

He laughed at me and called me a child. 

He continued to press against me, touching me. Everything my parents had said over the years rushed through my mind: "Oh my gosh. They told me what to do! They told me! FIGHT!"

All of a sudden I was filled with force. I jumped up and kicked this boy in the crotch as hard as I could. I RAN. I RAN for the door, out the door, across the football field and back to school. I don't even remember what I did after that. I probably hid in the bathroom until the final bell rang.

I never told anyone about this, other than my husband. Until now.

A few weeks after this happened, I was walking through Albertsons with my mom. I saw the boy, with his cheerleader girlfriend, walking toward me. I glared at him with hatred in my heart. He pulled his girlfriend close to him and smirked at me. Then he brushed past me as if to say, "You are a nobody."

His name was Jeremy.

As happy as I felt at that moment, that I had gotten away, I felt so stupid for having agreed to the lunch date in the first place. Hadn't my parents taught me enough? Hadn't they warned me? Hadn't they told me about boys like him?

They had.

So what made me go? Did I think I was above it? That nothing that bad would ever happen to ME? I don't have the answer to those questions. All I know is that my own children will hear my stories and they will be given real-life situations to mull over. I want them to understand that poor choices can result in hard consequences. Perhaps if I talk to them now, during early childhood, in terms they can understand - and then move up to the more complicated stories as they grow - they will know to decline a lunch date such as the one I went on.

If they do make a stupid choice like I did, at least my voice will play in their minds like my parents' voices did: "FIGHT!"

My only advice, really: do what you can to educate your young children NOW. For their own sake.

A note to the parents of BOYS

Please raise your boys to value human life. Raise your boys to care about feelings and to empathize with their peers. Showing empathy is not a sign of weakness. In fact, the best and most respectable men are the ones who do value people, feelings, women, children and peers. They are kinder, more likeable, more trustworthy and they make better husbands and fathers. Teach your boys to care about other people and to understand the meaning of the words NO and STOP. Don't let YOUR boy turn into a Jeremy. Give the world a better boy than that.

 

ABOUT the Author:

Shara Lawrence-Weiss is the owner of Mommy Perks, Personal Child Stories, Early Childhood News and Resources and Kids Perks. She and her husband co-own Pine Media. Shara has a background in education, early childhood, nanny work, published freelance, marketing and special needs.

Comments   

 
#10 Shara - owner 2011-04-12 20:19
Melissa: I certainly agree with you. I so badly want to encourage parents to raise their boys to see women as whole, soulful, worthy beings. YES!! I'm so sorry that you were raped...

No child ever deserves to be used, abused or mis-treated. I agree and I long for a world when the very thought of raping a child would disgust every human mind so much that it would over-take our culture of cyclical abuse and our tendency toward apathy.
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#9 Shara - owner 2011-04-12 20:15
Thank you, Louise. I appreciate you reading this and taking a moment to comment!
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#8 Shara - owner 2011-04-12 20:14
Lisa Marie: Thank you! I'm glad you can share the story with your kids. I hope it helps in some way! ;-)
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#7 Shara - owner 2011-04-12 20:13
Bethany: Thanks for your comment and for reading the post!
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#6 Shara - owner 2011-04-12 20:12
Hi Crystal: I'm glad that you talk to your girls and offer them tips for respecting themselves and for talking up, if ever needed. And...thank you for raising your son to respect women/females!
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#5 Melissa Wardy 2011-04-12 20:07
Shara - it is so brave of you to give voice to your experience. Every time a woman speaks up, it gives courage to another woman to do the same. We need to remove the culture of shame away from rape victims, and onto the perpetrators.

Girls and women are not raped because they wear "slutty" clothing. Nor does geting raped make them a "slut". I was wearing a tshirt, blue jeans, and flip flops the night I was drugged and raped.
There was nothing slutty about what I was wearing, and I did nothing stupid or any action otherwise "asking for it".

Rape happens when boys and men do not see women as whole, soulful, worthy beings. They rape because they can. They rape out of power, not sexual drive. Rape isn't about sex. This is most especially important when we are talking about the most heinous aspect of rape - child rape - because there is not a single thing in this world a child could do to ask for that kind of transgression.
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#4 Lisa Marie Mary 2011-04-12 14:25
Agree with Louise - big GIANT hugs to you! I'm in tears over my chicken patty over here! I'm a survivor, myself, and this story really touched me. I've tried to be open with my children, also, and I think ...I guess, I've drummed it into their heads too much! Because they actually get sick of my talking about it. This is a story that is very different than mine, though, that I can share with them. And coming at it from a different angle will be really good. Thank you for being so vulnerable and STRONG and sharing your story with us.
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#3 Fit2B Mama 2011-04-12 09:48
Oh, this was such a well-written post. Thank you for being so honest and for the reminder to we parents who are raising boys. Being in the same house with someone is not "consent." In this age of casual "hook ups" and promiscuity, I applaud this post!
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#2 Crystal Ashworth 2011-04-12 09:22
Shara...Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have 4 daughters, and the thought of something like this happening to one of them someday scares the living daylights out of me. We talk about their appearance, and things like that, and teach them from a young age that no one is supposed to touch their private areas and if they do they need to tell mom or dad right away, no matter what the person says they might do if they tell. I am so glad that you were able to get away and FIGHT! I also have a son, who will be taught that females are not objects. I'm hoping that with 4 older sisters we'll give this world a really good man when he grows up. :)
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#1 Louise Sattler 2011-04-12 08:31
Shara,
WOW.. you are to be given a huge hug and a thanks for sharing your story. I know this article will touch someone deeply and perhaps save another person from becoming a victim of sexual assault.

Thank you for taking the time to write and also educate parents of both girls and boys.
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