Children Can't Express
by Name Undisclosed
I was researching child molestation online the other day because I wanted to know statistics. I wanted to know I was not alone.
I don’t let this define me, but adults need to know this happens, and that children never talk about it.
What do you say when you are eight years old and an older cousin touches you inappropriately? You know it is wrong, but you don’t know what to say. You don’t even know the words to describe what happened. So, you get out of the situation. You run away and stay away. But it would have been better if you had told someone.
I’m sure it probably happened to someone else, and I could have stopped it, but at eight years old, I didn’t know that. I just wanted it to stop happening to me.
It doesn’t haunt me every day because it was a single incident. But it still disturbs me. I was eight, he was eighteen. I thought he wanted to play. After all, at eight years old, we want adults to play with us. But what he did was not fun. It was uncomfortable. It was wrong. I struggled to get away and ran up to the beach and stayed there, right next to my mom, the rest of the day. I never left her side, but I never told her what happened. I wish I had.
This cousin went on to have two daughters, and later in life I wondered what he might have done to them. I’m so sorry if they were abused.
Later when I was eleven, I lived next door to a family with older boys that had a father that worked on hot rods. It was cool. I like the cool cars they worked on. But the father was not a nice person. He pretended to be nice, and asked me to help him work on the car. What eleven-year-old wouldn’t want to help work on a hot rod? But he was a pervert. He said he couldn’t reach the screws that were under the carriage of the car and asked me to lay on my back under the car and reach the screws he couldn’t reach. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but accepted his instruction. While I laid there, he took advantage. Touching me inappropriately. His wife even walked in on him at one point, and he was very uncomfortable.
I remember telling my step dad that he was queer. I didn’t know how to express what he was. After all, I was only eleven. My step dad scolded me for using a bad word, and told me never to say that word again. I can’t blame him. If I was able to express myself, I have no doubt my step dad would have kicked his a**. But I didn’t know what to say.
I knew it wasn’t right. I left as fast as I could, and never went back. But...I never told anyone. I didn’t know how. I didn’t know how to tell someone what happened.
Children really don’t know how to express abuse. They know it isn’t right, but can’t express it to an adult. How do we change this?