This I Believe

Andrea - Dayton, Ohio
Entered on September 26, 2007

For me, it wasn’t long after I started a term paper assigned on the topic of my choice, that I discovered I was a victim of sexual abuse. While the possibility of being a victim had been lingering in my mind for nearly a decade, I selected the topic because I felt that it would shed light on my experience and reassure me that in no way was I a victim. I discovered, however, that my past occurrence was more serious than I had interpreted it to be. Suddenly, the actions that I spent years trying to forget became a reality once again.

As a young child, I could easily determine right from wrong, but at the age of six, it was still difficult for me to say no to people that were older than me. This was because I was taught to give adults the utmost respect. I consider this my downfall. Not only, had I looked up to my perpetrators as role models, but I trusted them. In fact, I never thought twice about what was occurring because at that point in time, I was scared.

Following what happened, I didn’t tell anyone for years. In fact, I made it through much of high school before it started to strongly impact my life. It was only after random flashbacks and sleepless nights that I was able to fully understand why I was struggling with relationships, and began to reevaluate what had happened years ago.

In the news, I hear about cases of sexual abuse and assault all the time and as a victim, this has a large impact on me. Much of the time, I can’t help but think of the fact that if children were being educated at a young age, sexual abuse would not be as prevalent. In fact, 10 percent of children being sexually abused are preschoolers (Children’s Hospital, D.C.). This caused me to question how many parents really educate their four and five year olds about sexual abuse. Currently, I am a senior in college and have a sister that is in elementary school. The thought of her being exposed to the things that I was, has motivated me to take a stand. I know that I can never fully get my childhood back, but I can keep other children from losing theirs. This is why I believe in educating school-aged children about sexual abuse.