So, the year was 1985 and I’d finally remembered the things I’d suppressed six years previous. I was terrified as to whether or not I could tell my folks. My relationship with my dad, though growing stronger, was still pretty shaky.
Then, one of my brother’s friends, Mr. P, had turned up at school wanting to be my friend. To be honest, as friendly as I tend to be, I wasn’t at all sure I could trust him. Still, I didn’t want to give the impression that I was afraid, so I did my best to continue to be friendly with him and we ate lunch together at school and talked on the way to dropping him off at his house. I should mention here that I had no idea if I was giving him the impression that I had any kind of interest in him at all beyond that of pure friendship.
Around this time, I was watching a lot of a program on the Disney Channel called Welcome to Pooh Corner with Sis. My main reason for doing this was because I wanted to have a close relationship with her, even though she seemed unwilling to have such a relationship with me. C’est la vie.
Regardless of the state of my relationship with my sister, that was the year the Disney Channel did a TV special as a spin-off from Welcome to Pooh Corner, entitled Too Smart For Strangers. In this show, Pooh and Piglet discussed what to do about strangers. Toward the end, Piglet mentioned that sometimes trouble doesn’t come from strangers. They talked about the private parts of their bodies that only they were allowed to touch and sang a song about saying “no” and telling someone who tried to touch you in your special places that it was “not okay.” Finally, they said, no matter what, that if someone tries to touch you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe to tell someone you trust right away, even if the person who tried to touch you said it was a secret or threatened you or people you cared about.
When I heard that statement, it went like an arrow straight to my heart. I knew immediately that they were talking about what happened between me and Mr. X. I spent all the rest of that day trying to decide who I would tell. Finally, I decided to tell my mother. Right after the newspaper routes were done, when she and I were alone, I told her what Mr. X did to me. For a wonder, she didn’t get angry, although the Pooh Corner puppets said the person you told might do so (but if they did get angry, to remember that they weren’t angry with you). When I was done telling her, she said that she’d always thought there was something wrong with Mr. X, but she’d never dreamed he might hurt one of her children. Then she told me I would have to tell my dad. I was terrified, but she reminded me that my Daddy loved me and, if he got angry, it wasn’t me he was mad at.
I did tell my dad and I was surprised and frightened at how angry he got. I learned later that he was angriest with himself and believed himself to be at least partially responsible for what had happened to me for the simple reason that he had brought Mr. X into our house. He told me that, had he known Mr. X was touching me that way, he’d have had him out of the house so fast it would have made his head swim and had a lawsuit following him just as quickly. That made me feel a bit better and, for a while, our conversations on the way home from school had to do with what happened between me and Mr. X and how I was handling it. Just to be safe, my parents suggested I tell my bishop (lay minister for for those readers who aren’t Mormons) and my psychiatrist, who recommended I tell someone I trusted whenever the story resurfaced in my mind.
About this time, I started getting notes from a secret admirer. The notes turned up in my locker at school, in my books when I came back from getting my lunch and, occasionally, on my dad’s car. They often included poetry or just a nice thought. This person had seen something about me that they liked. I was excited. Unfortunately, I was soon to learn that my secret admirer wasn’t who I thought he was.
If you’ve ever been sexually abused, did you ever tell anyone? If so, who did you tell, what about that person made them trustworthy to you and how long did you wait before you told them?