Sexual Abuse

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This drawing was done by Jordan Dellinger. This what she wrote about it. “I’m not sure if you can tell in the scan but the little girl is blowing away statistics dealing with child molestation. I suffered sexual abuse as a child so this is a cause that I feel very close to. I think statistics don’t really teach an outside reader much about a situation. For example, if I say to you – ‘There are 60 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse in America.’ or ’95 percent of molested children know their perpetrators.’ Or, ‘The average number of victims per molester is about 117.’ or ’1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls will be sexually molested by age 18.’ It is hard for it to register. When you read these statistics you have to look harder to see that each of those numbers represents an individual child, in a lot of cases more than one, who has been hurt. Each and every one of the children abused will feel the effects of their abuse for the rest of their life. These numbers can’t tell you that. Keep in mind, these statistics only involve sexual crimes against children that have been reported.”

 Too many people have to go through this and like many others I have had to deal with sexual abuse and harassment in my own life. For me it started when I moved to Idaho my sophomore year of high school. Almost immediately I had guys I didn’t know start teasing me about my body and one who dubbed me Double-D Cenzy. I was the new kid and a naive self conscience 15 year-old girl who had never been kissed or had a boyfriend and for the most part I dealt with it by being much more reserved and just tried to ignore the comments. When I was 16, I went on an FFA trip with my school for the state competition. On the way there we stayed in some cabins overnight that were along the way. Once we got there, I went and got settled in and had a younger kid in the group that knocked on our door to tell us that the other cabin was going to watch a movie and invited us. I was the last one to arrive. I looked around to see where to sit. The cabin had one couch which was completely filled and behind the couch there were two beds that each had a boy sitting on it. I decided to just stand behind the couch and kind of the by the doorway. The movie started and it wasn’t long until the boy on the bed closest to me told me I should sit down on it. I didn’t know much about him other than he was a senior, I had never even talked to him before that. He smiled at me and I figured there wasn’t any harm in sitting down. He started to get close to me and said something about how I looked tense and offered to massage my shoulders. I thought it was really weird but I said okay. He massaged my back for about five minutes and than stopped. It got to a line in the movie where a character said something to the effect of “Bros before hoes” at that point the kid looked at me and said “I would have picked the girl” and he than pulled me down to cuddle. I felt really uncomfortable at this point and whispered that I couldn’t see the movie to which he replied,”that I could come over anytime and watch it at his place.” I started to freak out and tried to push away from him but the more I pushed the tighter he squeezed me. I should have yelled or said something but I didn’t want to make a scene. He started to touch my thigh and than my stomach and I became paralyzed. I couldn’t believe this was happening there were other people in the room, there was a guy on the bed next to us, I kept praying that one of them would turn around or just say something, or that I could say something, but it didn’t happen. One girl did walk into the cabin towards the end of the movie and gave me a weird look when she sat down but her attention was than glued to the movie like everyone else. The movie finally ended and I was able to sit up. My head felt like it was spinning, I felt like I couldn’t figure out what had just happened. The boy whispered to me that he wanted to walk me back to my cabin. I felt sick and knew I didn’t want that to happen so I made sure we left when everyone else did and pretty much ran into my cabin. The rest of the trip I tried my best to ignore him. He would wolf-whistle to me though and kept trying to get me to go on walks with him or go hang out with him and would walk up to me and start trying to massage my back. Luckily the girl who had walked in that night and gave me the weird look and started to tell him that if he tried to touch me she was going to push him off a bridge. After the trip I totally avoided him. I called my best friend back in Washington and cried while telling her what happened but I never reported him to anyone or told my teachers or parents.

 In the years since that first big incident I have had other incidents. I had a guy in Oregon in my apartment complex that followed me one night and before I went in he tried to kiss me and he groped me. He was totally drunk and was with his buddies and at that time. I was furious instead of scared and found the strength to report him. I have had to deal with a boss who wouldn’t stop asking me out in front of my coworkers and having his brothers tell me things like I should give him a lap dance. I never reported them since they were the owners. It just got to the point where I quit. This last summer I was a door to door saleswoman and had a married guy politely decline the product I was selling. He continued to chat with me about his wife and kids and about my husband. He asked if I needed a glass of water or if I needed to use the restroom at all. I accepted to use the bathroom because he seemed nice and normal and I assumed his wife and kids were home and when I got in the bathroom I had a really weird feeling. So I just hurried up and finished and when I got out of the bathroom he was there. He started to say something and I told him I needed to get back to work and thanks. He just told me to wait and and than asked me if I had had fantasies of being with someone after knocking on there door. I was shocked and he continued with saying that his family and wife was out of town I told him no and I had to go to which he responded that his wife would be gone a week and I could come back any time. I left quickly and was so confused and hurt. I told people I worked with but never reported this.

All of these things were awful and caused me a lot of heartache and confusion, but I know I am lucky that they weren’t worse. I feel sad that things happen to children, other women and sometimes men but hope that those who have go through similar experiences can feel that they aren’t alone and that it is okay to speak out. My biggest regret and for most of these incidents is not reporting them at the time. Most of the time I felt ashamed or like it was my fault and so I didn’t speak up, but for those who are harassed or abused it is not your fault. I also hope that by sharing things like this people will realize it happens more often than they think to real people and it is more than just a statistic.

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