Today's blog post features another guest blogger, Patricia Singleton. I have had the pleasure of following her on Twitter and she has been an inspiration to me as well as so many others. I think that it is so important for us to suport one another and to give survivors a chance for their voices to be heard. I hope that her story is also an inspiration to you as it has been to me. Below, Patricia reflects back on her memories as a child:
My story as an incest survivor begins with my memories of sitting out in my front yard on a hot summer night with my uncle and my younger sister. Our chairs are lined up in a row, my uncle's, mine and then my little sister. I don't remember the conversation, if there even was one? My mother is busy in the house. My daddy isn't come yet. What I remember is that I was wearing shorts because the weather was so hot. Daddy didn't let my sister and I wear shorts anywhere but at home. I remember being scared and not understanding why my uncle put his hand down inside my shorts and panties. I felt very uncomfortable and was afraid to say anything. I just sat there not knowing what to say or do. As a child, I was told to mine all adults and to do whatever they told me to do. I remember back a few years before this that I got in trouble with this same uncle because the neighbor told me to do something and I didn't. This uncle yelled at me that I was supposed to mine all adults and call them aunt or uncle when I was speaking to them. All adults had authority over me as a child.
The night was dark enough that no one could see what my uncle was doing with his hand. I don't remember him hurting me. I just felt uncomfortable like something wasn't quite right. I didn't understand. I was 11 years old. Next, I remember my mother calling me into the house for a few minutes. I was relieved to be away from my uncle. I didn't want to go back outside. I didn't want to sit beside him again. The child that I was didn't even think about telling my mother.
I went back outside and sat down beside my uncle. Why? Because he was an adult and my uncle. I didn't know that I had the right or ability to say no to what he was doing. Mainly, I didn't want to hurt his feelings. I was taught to aways be nice to others and to take care of their feelings. I never thought that my feelings might be important. I was just a kid after all.
Why did I choose to share the above memories? Because I wanted to let you know how easy it is for a child molester to get to your children. A child molester can be a stranger but they are more likely to be a friend or a family member like my uncle.
This uncle talked my mother into letting me go fishing with him the next day. I didn't want to go but I wasn't asked. It was like I was invisible during their discussion. We didn't fish that day. He drove down to an isolated spot on a point of land along the creek bank.
In the back seat of his car, my uncle raped me a number of times. Then we got dressed and he took me home. That night he talked my mother into letting me go home with him to visit my grandmother who he lived with for a few years. Again, I wasn't asked. I would have said no.
When we got to my grandmother's house, she was away for the weekend. My uncle had lied about her being home. I spent the weekend being raped at his convenience. I remember being so sore that I silently cried through each rape. I had already learned to suffer in silence. My pain was being ignored. I learned that I only had value as someone else's sex object.
When I was a child, my feelings were never of any consequence to my abusers. My parents never gave me choices of any kind. Everything was decided for me by the adults in my life. My dad was a dictator in my family. A few weeks later, my dad started to sexually abuse me too but that is another part of the story of incest. This post is about the first memories that I have of being sexually abused.
Parents please do a better job of protecting your children than my parents did. Please talk to your child about sexual abuse and teach them the following things that will help to keep them safe from molesters like the ones that were in my childhood.
1. Children have control over who touches them. Discuss what touches are okay and which ones are inappropriate and tell your child what to do in case someone does touch them in an inappropriate way. Use language that your child will understand. Don't wait until they are 10 or 11 like I was. That may be too late.
2. Tell your children that they can tell you anything. They can talk to you about what ever they need to.
3. Feelings matter even if they belong to a child. Let your children know that their feelings are important. In my family feelings weren't safe so I stuffed them or denied that I felt them. As an adult that created many problems for me.
4. A child needs to know that they can say no to anything that makes them uncomfortable. Just because an adult or an older child says something is okay doesn't make it so.
5. Do what is necessary to keep your children safe from child molesters. If you think that something may be wrong, it probably is. Don't second guess yourself where the safety of your children is concerned. Ask them questions. Learn to read body language because sometimes children are afraid to tell you the truth the first time you ask.
6. Your children are not here to meet your adult needs. Be a parent to your children. Don't expect them to parent you like my parents did. A child's responsibility is to be a child. You are the parents.
7. Secrets between children and adults are not healthy. Secrets allow children to continue to be abused. So tell your children to say no to secrets. Molesters look for children who will keep their secrets.
8. Teach your children that they can trust you and their own "gut" feelings to protect them. Listen to your children when they talk and when they play. Stand up for your children and don't let them be bullied by others.
9. If you child tells you that they have been touched inappropriately or that someone has sexually abused them, believe them. Do not invalidate their pain or downplay their pain or their story. Let them talk as much as they need to. Don't shut them up because you are uncomfortable. Nurture your child as they need it. Judgments from you can do more damage to your child if you blame them than any physical abuse can ever do. Do not ignore what happened to your child.
10. Most important of all is parents do not sexually abuse your children. Incest is a lifetime sentence for a survivor.
Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker