Friday, December 9, 2016

How I Stood Up To My Predator When I Was Eight Years Old!


Now that the United States may have a bully-predator in chief, it’s time to share my story. It comes with a Trigger Warning if you’ve been sexually abused in any way you may want to move on. This was very hard to share although I’ve wanted to for a couple years. Now is the time. So young girls—and boys know one way to stand up to their coward abusers! 

As a child, my parents had violent fights. I was eight years old and so very happy when they divorced. When that happened my mother gathered my brother and me under her protective arms and gave us “the talk”. She told us about sex and about predators, but she was one year too late.
My parents were quite young at the time and naturally, they’d go out and leave us with various babysitters. One particular family in the neighborhood had a teenage daughter who’d sit on occasion, but when she couldn’t her brother, who was 18, would come to our house. 
(My mother later told me she had doubts about an older, male sitter, but she didn’t follow through with those doubts, and apparently, my father’s need to go out drinking was paramount.)
They never noticed the gifts from the male babysitter. Never knew he would creep into my bedroom after my parents left for a night out, again and again.
At first, there were the simple requests of show and tell. And with each subsequent visit, the predator-babysitter would shower me with gifts  to keep my mouth shut and not tell anyone about our little secret.
I hated it. I hated the way I felt. I was eight-years-old and being blackmailed to keep my mouth shut and keep up the abuse.
I cowered when he opened my bedroom door. I'd pretend to be asleep. But he’d only wake me. I was subjected to viewing him naked and to his requests for me to touch him. I wouldn’t tell my parents even when he gave me the brand new Captain and Tennille record. This went on and on. How long I’m unsure? My parents were separating during those years. 
I was lost and alone, believing no one would understand. I was EIGHT YEARS OLD. And I felt guilty. 
The guilt created the worst rift in my being, an end of innocence, guilt imprinted into my brain and in my heart.
Sitting with my mom on her bed, the day after she finally left my father, I wanted to tell her about moving day, when my predator/babysitter followed us. When he pretended to help around the house, busy cleaning and sweeping up for my recently single (immigrant) mother. 
It was a bright summer’s day. I stood alone with him on the front porch after everyone had left. I’m sure he felt confident with my mom now alone and my father living on the other side of town.
When he finished sweeping the porch he leaned into the broom and casually said, “Kiss me.”
I stared at him towering over me and said, “I told my mother everything, and she knows about you and what you did to me.” It was a lie. But I’d confronted him. 
I don’t recall if he said much after that. I do remember his face. Stunned. Silent. He placed the broom against the wall and walked away without another word.
 I never saw him again. None of us ever saw him again. I’m very proud of my eight-year-old self. The bravest thing I ever did.
Soon after that, my mother moved us to Florida.
Years later, I wound up in a college not far from the town where I was sexually abused. I looked up the babysitter’s name. A college friend of mine called the number listed in the directory. When the predator picked up, my friend told him we knew what he did to children. Of course, he hung up. But he was there–and he KNEW I would never forget. 
By the time I told my mother I was thirteen years old and had already shared the story with most of my close friends.
Each time I spoke about the pain and the guilt, the SHAME released me. I began healing. It took much longer for my relationships with the opposite sex to heal. But I found the perfect partner and we’ve been together over 20 years.
I bow to my eight-year-old self for standing up to my predator. They are all COWARDS. Speak Out. 
And please, tell someone, you can always email me if you'd like.
Had my mother spoken to me sooner, would things have been different? Hard to say, but it’s probably never too soon to speak with our children about the birds and the bees. In an age appropriate manner.





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4 comments:

Ella Schwartz said...

Oh dear lord, Karen. I can't stop crying. I have no words other than to say you have emerged from this horrible experience into a beautiful person that I am honored to call my friend. Thank you for sharing your story. You strength and grace is unbelievable.

K. L. Hallam said...

Oh, dear dear, Ella. Thank you for being a friend. Thank you for visiting and reading. So much love to you. <3

Rebecca L Sutton said...

You are so brave and strong to share this story. As brave and strong as your eight-year-old self and the woman you are today! Thank you for sharing at a time when the world needs it more than ever. I have no doubt this will help others find courage.

K. L. Hallam said...

Thank you so much, Rebecca. Your beautiful words are encouraging --and make me want to cry. ((hugs)) <3