*****TRIGGER WARNING AND EXPLICIT CONTENT: SEXUAL TRAUMA*****
This post is very personal and has been something I have been wanting to discuss for a long time but was too afraid to do so. However, I have decided to take back the power and choose to protect others.
I will not be naming this individual. Not because I am protecting HIM, but because I am protecting the loved ones who he has left behind. I do not wish to ruin the good memories that those people have of this man, nor do I wish to cause them any pain by realizing a man they once loved and looked up to was capable of doing something so awful.
With that being said, I will be referring to this individual as Mr. RF.
Mr. RF was an older man in my life with strong ties to my family. He was trusted and loved as an elder to my parents. He was someone who I loved and trusted. He was not someone who anyone would expect to be a red flag person.
Before I go into what happened to me, I want to first explain WHY I am choosing to share my experience.
With the recent #MeToo movement, more and more sexual assault survivors have come forward to share their experiences and call out those who have done them wrong. According to childtrauma.org, 1 out of 3 females in the US, and 1 out of 5 males, have been victims of sexual abuse before the age of 18. And according to the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress (AAETS), 30% of all male children are molested in some way, compared to 40% of females.
Based off of statistics of the criminal justice system, only 230 out of 1,000 sexual abusers get reported. That means that a staggering 770 offenders go without consequences, allowed to be able to go on and continue hurting others. My guess as to why this is happening is because either:
- The victims are scared of what the abuser will do to them or someone they love,
- The victim is afraid no one will believe them, or
- The victim has already told an adult but the adult did not believe it was true.
A friend of mine introduced me to the terminology of Red Flag and Green Flag people based off of the book, I Said No! A Kid-to-kid Guide to Keeping Private Parts Private by Kimberly King. I immediately went to our local library and rented this book. I sat down with my son, who was 4 at the time, and we read all about what it means to be a Red Flag person and a Green Flag person.
A Red Flag person is someone who is dangerous and means you harm. Someone who asks to see your private parts, shows you their private parts, or touches you in a manner that is inexcusable.
A Green Flag person is a safe person. Someone who protects you and who you can trust to tell if something or someone has hurt you. People like a parent, family member, doctor, therapist, or teacher.
The book also goes into how some people who are supposed to be Green Flag people, are actually Red Flag people. Unfortunately, that was the case with me and is, sadly, also true for most children.
I Said No! covers a variety of topics, including:
- What’s appropriate and with whom.
- How to deal with inappropriate behavior, bribes and threats.
- When and where to go for help, and what to do if the people you’re turning to for help don’t listen.
- Dealing with feelings of guilt and shame.
Making sure that your kids, and every child you know, understand that if anything ever happens to them, that they can come forward and tell you, knowing that you WILL believe them, is the most crucial thing you can do for the health and safety for your child(ren).
When I was an adult and told my mother about my experience, she believed me and felt awful. But what made it worse for her, was that she had absolutely NO memory of the fact I had told her right after it had happened.
Mom, I love you dearly and I by no means hold any anger or negative feelings about that. So, please forgive yourself. It was not your fault, just like it was not my fault.
I remember exactly what happened to me. I remember the exact house (we moved around a lot), the exact part of the house, the way the house was set up, and what my mom was cooking at the time that I was assaulted.
I have very few memories of my childhood, though I am told that it was a good childhood. Often, that fact makes my father sad. But I remember that day vividly.
And I was only 7.
My dad was sitting opposite of Mr. RF with my brother in his lap. I was sitting on the armrest of the couch, leaning on Mr. RF who was sitting to my left. My mom was in the kitchen with Mr. RF’s wife talking while she was cooking minestrone soup in a large stock pot on the stove.
Mr. RF had his arm on my right hip. He eventually moved his hand over the small of my back, then he had his hand inside of my pants, rubbing my bottom. I didn’t think much of it at the time because this person was supposed to be a Green Flag person. Yes, it was weird, but again, he was a “Green Flag.”
That is until I felt his fingers slide down and get closer to my vagina. I squirmed to try to get his fingers away from there but he then forced them through my labia and up my vagina.
I immediately got up and ran to the kitchen to tell me my mom who, if you remember, was in the kitchen with his wife. She gasped in shock, looked embarrassingly over to Mr. RF’s wife,then back to me and said, “Alyssa! That is not funny! Never say something like that again!”
So, I never did.
At 7 years old, I learned to never put myself in a situation where I was alone with him, never to sit near him, nor did I ever go out of my way to have any form of communication with him as to prevent anything from ever happening to me again.
It wasn’t until after I had had my first c-section that I had voiced my trauma again. Having been partially strapped down to a table, having no feeling and no control over my body, and a stranger touching my vagina to insert the catheter, I was having a lot of anxiety and flashback emotions of not having control of my body enough to protect myself that day when I was 7 years old.
You may wonder why I am choosing to come forward so publicly, and to answer you, is because I don’t want to be another statistic. And I most certainly do not want my children to become one as well.
While my attacker has long since died, I have only now been able to start my emotional healing. All because of having an older man from my son’s bus stop, last school year, grab my ass and try to kiss me. My anxiety attacks started up again and I once again felt the crippling fear of my childhood coming forth every night I closed my eyes. It was what forced me to seek help from a Sexual Abuse Therapist. As a result of starting therapy, I began to heal from my trauma.
I have only recently opened up to my father about what Mr. RF had done to me and how that has affected my relationship with him. He had no idea and was very angry and pained by my revelations. Only now, he understands why I have a difficult time with showing and receiving affection from him. That it has nothing to do with him, but everything to do with who my attacker was in relation to him.
As stated before, Mr. RF has passed, but the ones he loved have not. And since they loved him in return, I chose to protect those individuals and allow them to keep their positive memories, untainted by the evil that I have endured.
The most important thing we can do is listen and trust our children, or anyone’s child, when they come to you for protection. Make sure that they know you can ALWAYS be trusted and that you will ALWAYS keep them safe.
Even if it’s from someone you love.
-The Lazy Mama