A Moment In Time
I had the best mother in the world and you will catch me saying that 365 days a year, not just on a Sunday in May on social media. She did everything in her power to protect, provide for, and nurture me. And someone stole that sense of stability and safety away from me… in just one moment in time. I was not left alone with him overnight. I was not left alone with him for hours at a time. I was not left alone with him… at all. This was a crime of opportunity. This was a moment in time.
Many moments in time that led to years of my life. Years of pretending, and lying, and hiding the truth from those who could have helped me… years of protecting my abuser.
A moment in time… an opportunity… another adult went to the bathroom. Another child was present. Someone was in the next room, checking on dinner. Someone was walking the dog. Another person was always there. They say survivors of abuse experience multiple moments of sheer panic many times a day, whereas those who are not trauma survivors, experience this type of emotion only a few times a lifetime. I experience this feeling every time I shower. Every time I’m in a stairwell alone. Every time I walk out the door. Every time I walk in the door, entering my empty house upon coming home. I have seen ugly and I know how deceitful it can be.
I want you to understand, my story is not uncommon. A myth of childhood sexual abuse is that the perpetrators can’t possibly have done this because “someone was always there“. I will continue to make it my life’s work to tell you, a jury convicted my abuser, and someone was always there. And not only was someone else always there…
Most importantly… I was always there.
17 years later, many years of emotional manipulation and physical violations, a 5 year long process from arrest to sentencing, and a lifetime of fear living blocks away from him… All of this time, and, here I sit…finding myself still googling his name, following his whereabouts… where he lives, what he drives. It never stops. It is a lifelong journey. I work on it every day, but…
This story is not about me. I volunteered to share my story with you to help the general public understand this is not rare. This can happen in all socioeconomic neighborhoods, across all races, and in every home in the world. Stay vigilant. Do not be afraid to be seen as rude. This cycle continues, because we, as adults, feel it is not socially acceptable to question someone’s actions for being inappropriate. We think it is none of our business. I so wish someone made it their business to peel off the 43 year old man who was canoodling the 10 year old girl in the Ruby Tuesday’s, when the others in their party slipped away to use the restroom. Then, just maybe, as a grown 28 year old woman, I would be able to shower, without peeling the shower curtain open to reassure myself – I really am safe.