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Grooming

I had no idea what was going on at the time. All of a sudden when I turned 14 my best friends uncle started paying so much attention to me. He lived at her house and I was there all of the time. My own family life was not good, but I didn’t realize how bad my friend was because her house always seemed like such a good time. Everyone drank and smoked pot (and the adults occasionally did cocaine but we never saw them, just knew about it) There were pornographic books and material all within our reach since we were 6. Her Mom even bought us vodka (starting when we were 13) and let our boyfriends party there.

I didn’t know that her uncle was a convicted pedophile. I knew he was in jail for a spell and I knew this family had secrets that even I was not privy to- but I had no idea how deep they went.

Much later on I found out that my best friends teenage cousin was in a juvenile facility for raping and molesting his 5 year old sister. And that the uncle had been molesting him (the teenage male cousin) for a number of years.

The uncle started really talking to me…following me around in their house. He alternated between complimenting me and insulting me. He took things about my life and made it seem like I was a bad girl. Like I was seducing older men. I have to say that I was not a virgin at this time. And that I had no concept of the possibility of a connection between sex and love. Things had happened to me, and with my consent, with several teenage boys. I was reckless and had zero self esteem. A 21 year old male had tried to have sex with me when I was 13 years old. This is the adult male he was referring to. I felt like a dirty person. There was no love in my home which was an abusive environment and here was a man who was very carefully building me up, and then systematically tearing me back down again. I was hooked. It didn’t take him very long to get what he wanted and it all happened in one long night. My best friend and her father were sleeping in the same apartment while I let this ma n violate me and do things that I thought I was allowing to happen. Even when I woke up the next day, bruised, swollen and broken- I thought I had let it happen, so it must be my fault. And my own mistake.

Even at 37 years old now its hard for me to look back and feel compassion for the child that I was. Even though I know that he was a grown man, experienced and even convicted for this type of action against others, I still remember accepting his words about me as fact. Like I deserved what happened that night and it was inevitable, because I had no sense of self worth.

I did not learn to say NO until I was 18 years old. I had no idea that I could. I thought that if I gave a man my time or attention in any way, that I also owed him my body. This way of thinking about myself caused me to be in so many more situations, dangerous and scary, that I am very lucky to have made it through. I am still haunted by all of those memories but my best friends uncle is the one that hurts me the most.
I would give anything in the world to be able to go back and tell my 15 year old self that some day she would know what its like to be loved & cherished. And that she should love & cherish herself in the meantime because she is just a kid. I would hug her and tell her to go ahead and trust herself. God, what I would give for that opportunity. But I think, that by forgiving myself- it is like I have.

1 comment

  • Alissa Ackerman

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