Too often, the crime element in sexual assault gets overlooked, ignored, or pushed away. Too often, the victims feel they're guilty for seeking justice. And how many six-year-old boys will insist they were raped when adults tell them, "You have too active an imagination," or "Your cousin couldn't have done something terrible like that."
That throws a heavy burden on the survivors. As bad or possibly worse is when the victims keep silent, which allows the perpetrator to continue the assaults.
I never told anyone about my two perpetrators. Although I was too young to reason it out, my adult voice says, "It wouldn't have done any good."
As one of victims at the trial of Jerry Sandusky said, "Who would believe a kid?"
Or perhaps shame held me back. The old man who molested me hugged me and told me what a good kid I was. "You're special," he said, which were words I yearned to hear, and yet, deep inside I think I knew they were false.
Or maybe I didn't want the abuse to be real. I was so starved for attention and affection, I blamed myself.
What if I had spoken up? What if my parents had believed me? To speculate on that doesn't do any good and my perpetrators are both dead.
And I, the victim, paid for their crimes.