Before we left home my dad told me to go the the bathroom. But like most kids at that moment ‘I didn’t have to go’. At that point, we were standing in line for a while. I tapped my dad on the arm and asked him if there was a bathroom near by. He sighed and said, “yes”. The tone in his voice showed obvious irritation. He would have to lose his place in line and take me. At that moment he spotted a friend of his. He asked him if he would take me to the restroom while he got our food. The friend agreed and walked me to the bathroom towards the back of the downtown restaurant. Red walls lead to a single bathroom stall. As I attempted to close the door he stopped me and walked into the small space with me.
I was 8. EIGHT. E-I-G-H-T.
…the age when things should’ve been as simple as barbie dolls and Saturday morning cartoons was now complicated and forever changed.
When we sat down to eat. I couldn’t…I attempted again at my dads urging. Vomit.
My dad took me to my grandmother’s house for the weekend. My usual bubbly and bright personality was now mute and dark and she couldn’t figure out why. Later that night after still not being able to eat or hold any food down my grandmother prepared my bath. As I lowered my prepubescent body in the tub I began to cry in pain. My grandmother ran in only to find the evidence of my destroyed
innocence. She worriedly asked me what happen and I couldn’t tell her because I was so ashamed and confused. I was not able to process what had happen to me. I had no voice. In fact I had blocked it out as if it was an adolescent nightmare. I had convinced myself that my imagination had run feral. I felt diminished.
My grandmother made a call.
At school that Monday morning I was called to the office. All my classmates giggled as I got up anticipating I was in trouble. I got to the office where a woman wearing a tan suit and glasses stood and introduced herself. D-H-R. At that time those were the only words I heard. Not knowing what that meant at the time. She began asking me questions about home life with my widowed dad. Then things got awkward and time seemed to have slowed down. She asked me about that day. Cautiously, I told her the same story I told my grandmother.
Nothing was done because I was scared into dropping the matter…
“You are creating problems.”
“You are going to be sent to a group home and foster care if you kept telling people you were molested.”
“You better tell D.H.R. you made the story up.”
“You shouldn’t be so fast and no one will mess with you”
You can not even begin to imagine what that does to a little girl….
(To be continued in… ‘Mental Health taboo and the Black Community’…coming soon)
If you know anyone that has been sexually assaulted please support them in speaking up. Do not silence them. Get them to talk to someone.
For more information call The National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or visit RAINN | Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network
Author’s note: These stories are real. Names have been omitted. I am thankful for therapy and my faith. I wanted to share this story especially with everything going on in the news regarding sexual assault. Much of this story has been shortened because honestly, I’m still healing and have not been able to bring everything to the forefront of my memory. Thank you for reading.