This memory popped up on Facebook for me this morning. And it struck me as front and center as this movement was a year ago, we don't hear about it much anymore. I thought it a worthy reminder so I am re-posting here. And I will re-post this as often as I need to.
PS - I also re-read through every. single. one of your comments from last year. Thank you all for being so supportive and loving.
You aren’t going to like what I have to say.
Hopefully, for most of you it will be because of what I say. Not because of who it is about. I’m tired of protecting your feelings.
The first time I was in the 5th grade. We lived in a trailer park in South Carolina and my parents wanted an evening to themselves. So my sister and I went to spend the night at Spencer and Gayle’s (friends of the family). Spencer had received bad news that day – the man who raised him died – but my sister and I were welcome to come over anyway.
I’m unclear on what the sleeping arrangements were supposed to be (because it was a very long time ago) but CeCe went to bed with Gayle long before me – Spencer and I stayed up watching a movie and I was going to sleep on the couch anyway.
At some point he checked to see if I was asleep and even though I wasn’t I thought it best to let him think I was. Maybe that was a mistake (see? Still blaming myself at least a little bit).
I remember rolling away to face the couch hoping he would go to bed. Instead he came over.
I remember trying to squeeze my legs together as tight as I could but it didn’t stop him.
I remember being shocked it was happening and more shocked that I couldn’t figure out how to make it stop.
I didn’t say anything. I just pretended to be asleep the whole time. And when he finally stopped I got up and moved to the bed with his wife and my sister. And cried.
The next morning I couldn’t wait for my parents to get there so I could tell them what happened. I told my mom first – I ran out the door to tell her. She called my dad out and told him. And then he confronted Spencer. Right in front of me.
I will NEVER forget what happened next. “ah man. I was drunk and thought she was Gayle.”
My dad then SHOOK HIS FUCKING HAND and said “That’s okay”. This man molested me, didn’t deny it, and my own father stood there and shook his hand and said it was ok IN FRONT OF ME. It felt like he was congratulating him.
I lost my innocence that day.
Less because of what Spencer did and more because of what my father did. And my mother because she bore witness to all of it and said nothing.
After that my father seemed to think it was not only ok but appropriate for me to watch porn with him. On a near nightly basis, after my mother and sister were asleep, he would wake me up and make me come and watch porn with him. This continued for YEARS. Any time I said something to my mom about how inappropriate it was she would respond with something along the lines of “he’s just trying to help you” or “it’s not a big deal” or “you’re over reacting”.
No. He was a disgusting pervert that thought it appropriate to parade around naked in front of his two daughters well into their teenage years. And while I am no prude, the amount of pornography in the house was beyond reason. He didn’t even bother to hide it.
All of this is fact.
I have not changed the names to protect anyone.
Some of you have even heard this story before – or pieces of it - because I wanted you to understand why I have no warm and fuzzy feelings about my father. Why, although I did not wish death upon him, I wasn’t sad when he died. I cried more at the funeral because the man everyone else seemed to think he was wasn’t the one I knew. I was angry at everyone telling me how much he loved me. Not only did he not say it, but actions speak louder than words.
For years I tried to maintain a relationship with my mother but it became more and more difficult once I became a mother. With each passing year I would think about how I as a mother would have reacted in this situation. And while I know everyone reacts differently I can promise you that if anyone ever touched my boys in an inappropriate way that person would have needed hospitalization at the very least. And I would have done everything I could to see him or her in jail. I would not have looked the other way.
And I would have NEVER shaken their hand.
This social media campaign of #metoo has brought all of this up again for me. Not that I ever forgot it. It’s always there, lurking in the corners.
I actively remember these events as if they happened yesterday.
For years I have been reluctant to fully share the details with my own kids or family members because I didn’t want to taint the way they see (or saw) my parents. Because they have good memories of them who am I to change that?
But that kind of silence enables sexual harassment or abuse to continue.
And I won’t be silent anymore.