Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Curious

I have been deluged with e-mails from people who read my last post and wanted to tell me that I wasn't alone, that something similar had happened to them when they were young. And I noted that several of the comments noted the same thing.

It made me wonder. I'm curious. Is this something common to many of us? So...a request. And please feel free to comment anonymously. Did something like this shape your childhood too? If it's too painful, don't touch it. But, if you can...I'd be interested to know just how many of us are out there. Maybe it was like me...a near miss of an awful ending. Or something similar, but not really that close. As I said...I am thinking that there may be a lot of us out here. Care to share? No need to give grisly details, I don't want to put anyone through anything traumatic, but...judging from the response I got to this post...I am thinking that this is not as uncommon an occurrence as most people believe.

I'm listening. Well..reading anyway.

23 comments:

N said...

In 3rd grade the janitor caught me alone in the classroom one day, previously he tried to put his hands down the back of my skirt. Because he was mentally retarded I tried to forget about it but that day I was alone and I had such a bad feeling in my stomach as approached me that I ran to the bathroom screaming my head of. There was no lock on the door and everyone else was outside and all he kept on saying was "I'm going to get you girlie". I thank god everyday that the lunch lady was passing by and heard my screams and saw him trying to push his way into the bathroom. Unfortunately everyone thought I was overreacting thinking I was afraid of his disability but my mom believed me and she put me in another school. It came out a couple of years later that he was molesting a lot of girls at that school.

the only daughter said...

There have been a few. Sofia's line in "The Color Purple"~~"a girl chile ain't safe in a family of mens" kinda sums up some.

The other, being black and wandering in the wrong neighborhood at the wrong time--the rest.

Anonymous said...

When I was 9, we lived in an apartment building with a mail room on the main floor just inside the front doors. As I was entering the building, an older man started talking to me and offered me a candy. I said yes and he lured me into the empty mail room to get it. He put the package of candies in his pocket and asked me to reach in to get it. I can't believe I was gullible enough to do it, but I was. Needless to say the pocket had a hole and he was wearing no underwear. I ran out of there and went up to my apartment. I was so ashamed of my part in what happened that I was too scared to tell anyone about it and never did.

trinity2 said...

I was out jogging one day when I was in college. I had ran down the street my apartment was on and entered a park and was running on the trail. I was listening to headphones and I happened to look over and see a junky station wagon with two men in it following my progress on the road parallel to the trail. The trail eventually to ended at a footbridge to the road and I feared they would meet me there. I panicked and ran up a steep embankment away from the road and through the woods where they couldn't get to me. The woods ended at a road in a subdivision and I was safe. I ran back to my apartment shaking thinking if I hadn't looked over and saw them it would have been a different day.

C said...

well maria, you know of my stories... what you said about it being a near miss... is exactly right. i have had many, as i have posted about. but this is the thing... today in retrospect i think of it as a near miss because its a little miracle that i didnt die that time, or THAT time, or the next. and it affirmed my belief and still does, that there is a higher power that watches over us, to me its god. i dont have the answer as to why so many do die and are murdered... all i know is its how you look at something that makes a difference. if i choose to see it in anger and demand to know why god let that happen to me, all i would have in my heart is bitterness. but if i choose to see it as a miracle, that i was saved for a reason, then it deepens my faith, and validates my significance. it makes it easier on me to accept it, and move on.
i think there are SO many of us out there, maria, no we are not even close to knowing how many kids have come close... to near misses. i know i have had many in my life. yet i am still here. and i dont know why. once i started sharing my own stories over the years, i too have heard of so many others who'd been through the same or similar...
there are sadly, too many of us. and it isnt just girls, guys too have been hurt by the freaks and pervs of the world... the pedaphiles, people just up to no good.

and not to be pessimistic, but its our reality that its getting worse all the time and more dangerous for our little ones, all the time... our kids are not even safe in their own beds... or yards.... or babysitters... or church.. the agony and horror is endless.

it is shocking to get a glimpse of how many of us there are.

we have to tell our stories to bring attention to these kinds of things... to make parents more aware to keep a stronger eye on the kiddies.

i think the fact that you were liv's age when yours happened to you, must really tap into your emotions even more because you can see her for the little girl she is...and possibly associate yourself in some way with that.. where as when i was ten there is a sort of distortion as how i felt about myself and for me i know i never felt my real age back then, i always felt older, but i wasnt. maybe it was a protective mechanism.
i dunno, whatya think...

c

Terroni said...

A friend and I were jogging in a park when we were followed by a man in a Jeep. We turned off the paved road that and tore into the woods, hoping his older, fatter ass wouldn't have it in him to follow us. We were right.

Her legs were shorter than mine. When I think about it now, I just remember screaming at her to run faster.

Anonymous said...

A distant uncle stayed at our house for couple of months. He made me sit on his laps and started massaging my inner thighs. I was 11 years old. He started to move higher up. I felt uncomfortable and ran away. He tried on my 18 year-old nanny. She told my mom and he was kicked out.

I now feel weird if someone tries to touch me on my inner thighs.

Maria, I have been reading your blog for a long time but this is the first time I ever commented. Thanks for writing so beautifully.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, something like that and something worse. I read about 1 million women and girls a year are raped in the usa. I probably have stayed alive from the fear and caution I learned.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I was molested in my own home as a small child. I tried to tell my mother but didn't have the words plus I felt humiliated, and she blew me off. It absolutely affected my life because I spent most of it feeling worthless. I had many relationships with people who abused me and didn't even realize that I had a right not to be treated badly until I managed a domestic violence shelter many years later. I did poorly in school although I had the ability to do very well, and most of my jobs were below my capabilities. I often think of that line from The Color Purple, too. Sexual and psychological abuse are not determined by race.

Rebecca said...

I was once wondering around our neighbourhood with a friend and our dog. I was maybe about 9 or 10. A man in an estate car stopped and asked us for directions. I, completely naively, assumed he was simply asking directions and started to talk to him. My friend fled, screaming, and belatedly I realised this guy might not be all he seemed and I fled too.

It makes me shiver to think what might have been.

Later, aged about 14, a man exposed himself to me and some friends in the park. Who does that? Who gets off that way?

Rose said...

I was molested as a child by a family member, which is a bit different than what you described in your post.

But when my boys were about 3 or 4, they were playing in the front yard of a neighbor's house with her two boys. The neighbor friend and I were sitting in lawn chairs on the drive, watching them. We live on a quiet residential street with a cul de sac at the end, and it was the middle of the afternoon on a spring day. There is rarely traffic on our street, except cars coming and going from work at the usual times. While the boys played and we talked, I noticed an older, large car creeping slowly down the street toward us. It went past the house, but it never sped up, and I could see the driver's head swivel to watch the boys playing in the yard. I kept my eyes on the car as it went all the way to the end of the street, drove around the cul de sac, and came back up, still moving slowly. I could see an older white man behind the wheel, and as the car approached again, I stood up and stared right at him. He noticed me immediately, gunned the motor, and drove quickly back out of the street. My friend fell silent, and I said, "He was watching the boys." She nodded, and later that afternoon, she called the police and reported a suspicious person, giving the cops a description of the car. Thankfully, we never saw that car again.

I have checked, and there are several registered sex offenders who live close to my house. It's so scary to think about how many people have been abused and hurt by people like this. I'm just glad my boys haven't been subjected to this. Like one reader above said, you feel so guilty when you are molested. You feel as if it's your fault, and that you brought it on yourself. No one should be made to feel that way, but we often blame the victims. "Why were you playing in the front yard?" "Why were you walking along the street that day?" And then there are the ones who never come home again.

We live in a crazy, dangerous world.

Maya said...

I also had a man expose himself while I was walking home one afternoon from playing at a friends house. I was around 11, he opened and closed his front door so anyone nearby would automatically glance over to see what was happening. Yep, there he was, just standing there with this haunting, lustful look in his eyes. I immediatly looked away and increased my walking speed ten fold. Never told anyone. Never walked by that house alone again. Still look at the house to this day when I'm in my hometown and the memory sends shivers down my back. What gets me is, when I think about it... they guy had 2 children of his own.

Wine and Words said...

It was a cable car in San Francisco...one of my first trips without a parent. Me and a girlfriend were going to do the town as only 14 year olds can do. The cable car was crowded, standing room, immovable room. He wore a gray suit, was incredibly handsome and it took a few moments before I realized the pressure between my legs was his fist. I looked to him confused, and he smiled back...wriggling his fist. I tried to turn my body within the small space, but still his fist found me. Why didn't I scream, stomp his foot, why this silence? Oh yeah....it's what my momma taught me. It's all I knew. It was a long trip. My last.

sister AE said...

I figure I may as weigh in on the other side of this balance sheet. I was perhaps just lucky enough to not be exposed to predatory threats as a child.

But I will say that I think all families are more complicated from the inside than the outside and there were some emotional pains that helped shape me and the rest of my family. Pains that I'm pretty sure were invisible to the larger community.

neetzy said...

I was raped at twelve by a nineteen year old. Not "violently" raped at knifepoint, but raped regardless. After that I lost myself for years. Extremely risky behavior, a near suicide, a pregnancy, a "self-induced" abortion. I joined a cult. I dropped out of school. I could never tell my mother. She thought I was doing all these things to hurt and shame her. I wanted to tell her before she died, but never had the opportunity. I still regret that. Now my friend's 15 year old daughter is pregnant by a 19 year old. It is all coming back to me.

LL Cool Joe said...

No, I never experienced anything like that. My mother was violent and beat me and my brother. The badness all came from inside the home, not outside.

OurBig said...

Changing the subject slightly - Maria has a new article at Our Big Gayborhood: http://www.ourbiggayborhood.com/2010/03/uncle-lenny-doesnt-live-here-anymore/

tracer123 said...

This is not quite the same, but something happened to my mother that she didn't mention to me for a long time because, I think, she thought she was either imagining it, or it was her fault.
My mother used to walk early in the morning and a man in one of the houses on her walk route used to expose himself to her. She just casually mentioned it to me one day, and so, the next morning I walked with her and sure enough there he was, stark naked and standing at the end of his driveway. I walked up the driveway towards him and he disappeared into his backyard. He never did it again to my mother, but I wonder how many other people he was/is doing it to?

Goddess Mel said...

I blogged about my experience...just in the form of a fictional story.....

Anonymous said...

When I say I was raised by wolves, it is probably an insult to the wolves. Yes, this sort of thing happened to me, both inside and outside of the home. I have aspergers, which was never acknowledged, but it leaves me without the ability to read social clues thus leaving me even more vulnerable. This has basically led to a lifetime of self-hatred, and I am ready to die now.

Anonymous said...

There was a novitiate in a town close to where I grew up. My parents were involved with the group (through the Catholic church we attended). For the most part, the experience was good - my mom baked and generally took the young men under her wing. There was one in particular, from England, who was so cute - looked and sounded like a Beatle to my 8 year old eyes and ears. He would take me on walks around the facility, which was an old hotel on the bluffs. Very cool, mission style architecture, lush gardens and grounds. One day, he took me into a barn to see some lambs. We sat in some hay to watch them and he put his hand into my panties and fondled me. I was confused, but not particularly traumatized - I somehow decided in my mind that he was doing 'research' for a class he was taking. WTF???? Not long after, he left the novitiate and returned to England. I was not sad about his leaving and my mother coundn't understand why. I didn't either, for reasons I didn't have the capacity to process. Mom later visited his family in England and was told that he had gone missing. They wouldn't discuss him with her, which she found odd. I have wondered many times what became of Aiden and if what happened with me was the result of his own sexual suppression or genuine evil. I never told anyone until my husband.

My mother told me, when I was a child, that her older brother 'botherered her' when she was little. She never went into any detail, but after she passed, her sister told me that he had tried to rape her when she was 7 or 8 (he was 10 years older). He was a bachelor that lived his entire life with my grandparents.

The fact that she let me, and my little sister, stay with them for weeks at a time over the summer bothered me much more than the incident with Aiden. I never spoke with her about it.

Secrets. Always secrets.

Anonymous said...

It was springtime toward the end of the 7th grade (@ 1975). I was hanging out in an abandoned mobile home with some boys & girls from our small town. Some the kids were roughhousing. They grabbed a boy, threw him on one of the beds & tried to "de-pants" (as they called it) him. He fought them off & got up. They grabbed me. I was not so lucky. I don't remember if I fought them or just let them, but I was "depantsed." I think they let me up once they had accomplished their goal. I don't remember if it was boys or girls who did it. I don't think they touched me other than holding me down to remove my pants & underwear. I didn't know what to do so I pulled them back up & continued to hang out w/ them- cutting up & smoking cigs & trying to fit in. . .

That night is the first night I remember not being able to go to sleep. I woke up my mom & told her. She became livid & told me she was going to call the kids' parents RIGHT THEN. I begged her not to & she complied. She gave me a bit of her valium & I went to sleep. I don't remember if we ever talked about it again.

I thought the worst was over, but I was wrong. Word spread like wildfire throughout the junior high school I attended. Certain kids teased me relentlessly in the halls between classes. I was teased on the bus. One girl who I thought was a friend even sang a song about me. It was sheer & utter terror for me day after day & I had no one pull me aside to tell me I was okay.

I was never so glad when the end of the school year arrived. I spent the summer alone hoping they would forget by the time 8th grade started.

Different from your story, but sucks nonetheless.

Fast forward to now. I am a strong, wonderful, capable, loved woman who feels okay most of the time, but still remembers. . . And wonders. . . Why?

Anonymous said...

Sup im new here. I find this forum very useful and its helped me out a lot. i hope to be able to help out and help other ppl like its helped me.

I do enjoy [url=http://watch-family-guy-free.warlordz.co.uk]watch family guy online free[/url] this helps burn abit of time.

Cheers, See you around.