- Published on Tuesday, 12 April 2011 07:03
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
My 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.
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?
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.