One young man asked if he could speak. His poignant words became even more powerful as I realized that was the first time he had ever spoken publicly. He chose to remain anonymous on this post because, "It's still so new to me."
Below is part of his story, "I Was Sexually Abused as a Child."
* * * * * * * * * *
"I was sexually abused as a child."
It has been a year since I first uttered those words. Before then, I hadn't told a soul. I'd always known the tragic events that took place, but I couldn't admit to myself that I actually was abused and that I was a victim.
Before I admitted the events of my past, I shrugged it off as "not that big of a deal" and moved on. I now know the great impact it really had (and still has) on my life.
This is what I remember:
When I was in elementary school, I often had to stay late and wait for a ride home from a teacher who lived near us. Our school offered K-12 grades and 10 to 15 other kids stayed late like I did with little supervision. I remember being annoyed that I wasn't able to go directly home after school and play like most of the other kids.
I had to stay outside until four o'clock with all of the other kids, even though I knew my mother's van wasn't coming around that corner and pulling into the parking lot to pick me up.
There was an older student who said I was a pretty cool kid. He sought me out, talked to me, and made me feel important, like one of the "big kids."
One particular afternoon was no different. I remember so many details about staying late after school, but the important details are extremely blurry.
I was in the lobby with the usual students. The older boy asked me to follow him and, being a trusting child, I did. We meandered down a couple of hallways and ended up in the boys’ locker room. He described in great detail sexual acts he did with girls. With a pencil he drew pictures of the female anatomy on the white, brick wall.
I remember thinking that something wasn't right and if anyone came in we would get in big trouble. I had the same paralyzing feeling that I have now as I write about this.
I don't remember exactly what he did—that's blotted out. But he did something to me. I'm clear about that.
The next day when he asked me to follow him to the locker room again, I firmly said no. I'm thankful for the courage I had to stand up to him at such a young age.
The pencil drawings remained on the walls of that locker room for some time, presumably because they were faint and obscure. I continued to see them over the years and they reminded me that what happened was real.