Ques­tions arise years af­ter rape

The Mercury News Weekend - - LOCAL NEWS - Amy Dick­in­son got what I de­served? — Woman, Shamed for Life Email Amy at askamy@ amy­dick­in­son.com.

DEAR AMY » When I was 11 years old (al­most 12) I had a huge crush on this guy

He was 18, but he was like Fonzie and liked hang­ing around the younger crowd.

Some­one we both knew told him I liked him, and one day he said he was go­ing to camp in the hills where I lived. He asked if I wanted to come up and see him while he was camp­ing, and I did.

Af­ter talk­ing for a while, he asked if I wanted to play “Chicken.” He would put his hand on my leg and slowly go up it un­til I said “chicken.” He got to my knee and I said “chicken,” but he didn’t stop. He had his hand un­der my shirt be­fore I knew it, and I was strug­gling to get away.

I couldn’t get away from him. He pulled my pants down. And he took ad­van­tage of me.

I screamed and I was cry­ing so hard, but he wouldn’t stop. The af­ter­math was shame­ful.

What just hap­pened here? I didn’t say yes to any fondling.

Af­ter all of these years, I won­der if I was raped, or if I

DEAR SHAMED » Yes, you were raped. No, you did not “get what you de­served.” No, you should not feel ashamed for be­ing the vic­tim of a vi­o­lent crime. But shame is an un­for­tu­nately com­mon re­ac­tion for peo­ple who have been sex­u­ally as­saulted.

You were a child, raped by a preda­tor. He was an 18-year-old guy hang­ing around with younger kids, and he found a vic­tim.

Pic­ture that 11-year-old girl, who had a crush on an older teen. You can­not blame that girl for what hap­pened to her. That lit­tle girl did not get what she de­served.

Imag­ine a dif­fer­ent child hav­ing the same ex­pe­ri­ence. Would you blame an­other child for what hap­pened to her? I don’t think you would. You would view that child with sym­pa­thy and com­pas­sion. Now, you need to ex­tend this same com­pas­sion to­ward your­self.

Telling your story and ask­ing these ques­tions is a good first step to heal­ing. I hope you will con­tinue to talk about this. Call the num­ber at the RAINN.org (Rape, Abuse & Incest Na­tional Net­work) hot­line, 800- 656- 4673, to talk to a coun­selor, who can di­rect you to lo­cal re­sources. This man should be pros­e­cuted, if pos­si­ble; a coun­selor can help to guide you through the process of de­cid­ing whether to try to charge this child rapist for this crime. Your query has likely helped other sex­ual as­sault sur­vivors to­day; thank you.

DEAR AMY » In your re­sponse to “Want­ing Ro­mance,” you sug­gested that this wife who wanted hearts and flow­ers should rec­og­nize her hus­band’s ef­forts as ro­man­tic ges­tures. Fair enough. But how about sug­gest­ing that “Want­ing” be­come a “provider” her­self, so that her hus­band doesn’t have to break his back work­ing 50 hours a week? He might be more in­clined to ro­mance if he wasn’t ex­hausted all the time. — An­other Per­spec­tive

DEAR PER­SPEC­TIVE » Great ad­vice. Thank you.

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