I have sons, and I watch them like I would daughters. One time, my instinct told me to stay away from a friend's husband. I didn't like the way he looked at my boys. I stopped going to their house. I always follow my instincts and don't worry that I am being overprotective.
The courage to heal:I was deeply touched by David Holthouse's story and courage. It absolutely brought tears to my eyes. I was one of those who fell through the cracks. I could never understand why an old man would touch a young girl, and to this day it still puzzles me. I was molested for three years by my grandmother's husband (my real grandfather died when I was four, and she remarried), and he molested my sister as well. When we told, they did nothing. My grandmother said not to sit on Grandpa's lap anymore, and that was the end of it. She had no idea what we went through, and to this day denies it happened. My mother did nothing, either; she just said we didn't have to visit them anymore. I know the fear of not wanting to hurt anyone, for I have read the statistics, too.
I am grateful that God has given me the strength to be the best person I can be. He has also gifted me with a beautiful son who is the light of my life. The thought of anyone ever violating him makes me absolutely sick, for I know that the bad people are everywhere, too, and they don't wear signs. I pray every night that my tragedy never befalls him, for I wouldkill anyone who violates him. The worst is having to explain to him that these monsters do exist. I try to give him space to grow, but I find that I am always watching so no one catches him off-guard.
I am blessed to have been able to talk about this, because it has helped me cope with my life now; unfortunately, not everyone can recover. My sister has never recovered or had a relationship with anyone. I still have hope that one day she can find her happiness, too.
Name withheld on request
Keeping quiet:I admire David Holthouse's strength in confronting that monster. I was raped when I was twelve by a man I trusted as a family friend. He did much the same thing, used a weapon and threatened to kill me and my family if I ever said a word. I've kept quiet my whole life for the same reasons David did: at first out of fear, because I believed he would follow through with his threats, and now because I don't want to put my parents through that grief. Like David, I know where my attacker lives, I know he is married, and I know he has children -- and on a daily basis, I feel tremendous guilt and wonder how many other children he has hurt since that time.
I believe the statistics on rape are much higher than reported. My brother was raped by an uncle when he was ten; my mom was raped at the age of five by a family friend; my grandmother was attacked and raped in her twenties by a stranger. I have four children who I know are suffering because of my fear.
I thank you for David's story, and know that I may be able to draw from his courage. But for now, it feels good to have finally told someone.