Before my innocence was stolen I was a happy child with a mom who followed us around with the video camera capturing precious Memories on camera. Moments like Christmas 1990 just months before I was exposed to the evil that exists in this world. Evil that would turn my seemingly perfect world upside down. You would not know watching the video of me singing Heal The World at 8 years old that a year earlier an evil coward locked me behind closed doors, forced me onto a bed, used his hands to silence my screams, and raped me. The only video of that is the one that is stored in my memory. I knew at a young age to stop trusting people. Something that has been by far the most difficult thing to get back in my life. Little did I know evil lurked in the shadows of my own family when I would wake up in the middle of the night at eleven years old to a relative with his hands down my pants. A relative who would continue to lock me behind closed doors and molest me until I was 13.
The evil I experienced led me down a very self-destructive path from depression, suicide attempt, self-injury, and an eating disorder.
So why go public when I was a senior in high school when I live in a world that places stigma and shame on survivors because I wanted to help survivors out of darkness to finding their voice but even more importantly wake up our WORLD! I do not want another child to endure the trauma I endured as a child and the pain that you carry the rest of your life. I do not want another parent to have to learn the news of what my parents learned that their daughters were molested and one of them raped. You cannot understand unless you have been in the shoes of parents who want everything for their children and then to learn something like this happened or to have your childs life taken by one of these monsters.
It is so upsetting to me to see millions in our world walk around with blinders on. So many are guilty of this including many of you reading this. You feel as if it does not affect you then why care. It was not your child hurt so you look the other way. You hear about it on the news, or read about it in the papers and think for a moment or maybe a day about that child and the parents, but after that you go on with your life because it does not affect you personally. DO NOT WAIT until it is your child that is telling you what uncle so and so did, or family friend, etc. DO NOT WAIT until it is your child that does not return home and suddenly it becomes your reality. Do something about it TODAY! Sit down with your children, nieces, newphews, or grandchildren and talk to them about what a safe touch is and what an unsafe touch is. A perfect opportunity for this conversation if your a parent is while you are giving your young children a bath and explaining to them about places no one ever touches you. Here we are in the United States in the middle of a hot summer. While you are applying sun-screen to your children explain to them the parts of their body that their swimsuit covers is a place nobody ever touches. Explain to them if someone ever tries to touch you there, kick, fight, scream and tell an adult. If the first adult you tell does not do anything you tell somebody else. Create a list with your kids of people they feel safe with that they could go to if they are ever in need to talk to somebody. Warn them that it is not just strangers that do this. People that you know, love, and might be related to could do this.
Talk to your kids about secrets. Explain to them what a safe secret is and what an unsafe secret is. A good way to explain this is a surprise party that is something you would keep a secret or a favorite toy your brother or sister is getting for their birthday or Christmas. An unsafe secret is when someone is hurting you physically or sexually and making you keep it a secret and often use threats of ( harm, death, or nobody will believe you) Make sure you tell your kids “I will always believe you” enforce that because so many get brainwashed by a predator into silence. Remind your kids that “Their body belongs to them!” There is a great book called Your Body Belongs to You a book I suggest reading to your kids. Teach your kids how to fight back if someone else tries to take them and all the places to kick, punch, pull and to not stop screaming. I have a good friend Erin Weed that has an organization called “Girls Fight Back” it teaches women across the country how to fight back if being attacked. Bring her to your kids high school or college. Someday I hope Erin Weed gets down to the elementary school levels and teaches younger kids how to fight back. A lesson my father always told my sisters and I as children and still says it to me to this day. Do not ever let yourself be taken to another location you fight with everything you got if somebody attacks you. My father never imagined teaching us this important lesson the monsters lurking in our own family and community that would harm his children and not the “Stranger Danger” that is often drilled into kids heads.
I could go on and on but I will not. I hope I have motivated you enough to not wait until it is your child or a child you know that has been hurt to do something. Mothers call up your girlfriends and discuss this over coffee on what you can do to protect your kids from ever being harmed. Parents get in contact with your children’s schools to start educating kids about sexual abuse. If I have not convinced you the importance of this matter just pick up my books Stolen Innocence & Living For Today because it will convince you. Believe me there are plenty of children out there at this very moment keeping this secret locked away in a diary the way I did.