I’m only bringing this up because it’s so much in the news. I’m embarrassed and I’ve never told anyone about it, not my friends, not my parents, not my husband. I am forty-five years old, the mother of two daughters. Thirty-three years ago, when I was fourteen, I was at a party given by a close girlfriend. It was a coed party and there were some older kids there. My friend’s parents were present, though they stayed in the background, quietly keeping an eye on things. I went upstairs to the bathroom and when I came out there was an older boy standing there who shoved me back into the bathroom, locked the door, unzipped his pants and forced me to fondle him. It was horrible! He was about to push my head down over him when someone started banging on the door to come in. He let me go, telling me he’d spread terrible rumors if I told anyone. We exited together — the boy said he’d been in there to help me find a contact lens. There were a few jokes, but I was scared of the whole thing and never told anyone. For years I suffered anxiety around sexual issues and had thoughts about suicide. But as I grew older I was able to bury the incident and move forward with my life. Now, with all this Kavanaugh stuff, it’s resurfaced. My question to you is: should I open up and tell my husband about the incident, and perhaps also my daughters who are about the same age I was when it occurred? Or do I just leave it in the past?
Thank you in advance,
Victim of a Sexual Predator
I’m so sorry that this has happened to you and that you’ve lived with it silently for so long. It is very common for women to suffer sexual molestation and not tell anyone out of embarrassment, guilt, shame, a sense that no one will believe them, or that they might even be criticized. It is a personal decision whether or not to open up to friends and family. My belief in your case is that your long ago experience now weighs heavily and that you do really want to sit down and talk to your husband and daughters. Finding the right language for that might take some time, but in the end you will experience relief and your family will come to understand and respect you in a way they never have before. Imagine how freeing to get rid of that dark secret! It is a very delicate subject, but follow your heart and you will handle it perfectly.
I wish you the best,
REACTIONS TO LOVING MOTHER
We didn’t tell our son he was adopted till he was nineteen and he was angry we’d waited that long. He felt his whole life up till then was a lie and that we were selfish and negligent parents. But after awhile he calmed down and began to understand that our intentions were good and we’d only wanted to protect him. Now our relationship is very close and loving. I wish the same for you,
Roz H., Seattle, WA
I hope you have luck with your son. We told ours he was adopted when he was in his mid twenties and he’s kept a distance since then. We’ve tried everything to bridge the gap, but he he claims he doesn’t feel connected to us, so there’s not much we can do and it’s broken our hearts. I hope you have better luck. Sincerely,
Jane W., Dallas, TX
Submit your question to Knowles Knows here.
Disclaimer: CD Knowles is not a doctor or psychotherapist. Any opinions expressed on Knowles Knows are just that — opinions.