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A Family Affair

My father has always been very active in charitable efforts to save the world in his own way. He attracted many fans who attended his lectures and eventually ended up part of our social world. My parents were essentially absent from my life as a child and my connection to them and to my siblings was weak. But I loved school and I bonded well with teachers. So when something bad happened to me I felt confident that I would be cared for if I told my parents.

I told my mother that a man they knew did something I didn’t like. I couldn’t describe it. She gave me an odd look and walked away; at that moment I knew I was alone in the world. The man continued to come to our home and was treated like family. Over the years he continued to touch me inappropriately and some of this was done in the presence of others, especially my mother. When I was 12 my mother became very hostile and blamed me for my inappropriate behavior with him and that was another moment–a confirmation that I was not going to get sympathy.

Over the next two years, I tried and failed to stop him until at age 14. I physically assaulted him and told him it was over. I told my father.

He continued to remain a family member and although I have told every single member of my family everything he did in detail, I have received little if any sympathy.

The role of my parents in allowing this man to not only walk free but also continue to interact with family–this is the hardest part to accept. It is difficult to go into detail without fear of being identified… But I want to say that my parents shamed me, blamed me, treated me as a flawed person, put their own needs first and mostly didn’t believe me. They took no responsibility at all for putting me in danger. They offered no apology.

I honor mothers and fathers who support their children and do everything they can to keep them safe in a dangerous world. And for that reason I refuse to speak with my parents. If they had only said the things I needed to hear, I would have healed from this. Most of the healing work over the last two decades has been dealing with that betrayal. I am only now starting to deal with the memories actual assaults and how it affects my sense of personal safety.

It is a long road.

— Survivor, age 47

1 comment

  • Maryrose

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