I've known this woman for over twenty-five years. I know her well. She has lived and does live a joyful life. So I asked, "Why haven't these events paralyzed you in your adult life?"
"It's how my parents handled each incident that has made all the difference," she said. "They listened to me, believed me, and took action every time. I have little memory of the first incident. I know I told my mother about the inappropriate touch, she took me to the doctor to make sure I was okay physically, and she and my father protected me from the perpetrator. They dealt with him.
"I remember the second time well," she continued. "It was awkward, but my friends and I ran and told my dad, he took us to the police station immediately. The police caught the exhibitionist and he went to jail. We found out later that this man was a wanted on other sexual charges.
"And the third time, I ran home and told my parents. They took me to the police station and we ended up with a court case. I had to testify. It was scary, but my parents supported me the entire time. The older boy was charged and sentenced to prison.
"But do you want to know what happened after that? What's really amazing?" she asked.
"Sure," I said.
"Being a tiny girl and a racial minority in a large public high school, I used to avoid the cliques of students standing outside the front of the high school each morning and slip in a side door to avoid any kind of taunting or bullying. After I won the court case . . . I used the front door."
I can't promise you by following the six steps to protecting your kids, in my previous posts, that your children will not experience a violation. It happens to one out of four girls and one out of six boys before their eighteenth birthdays. But what my survivor friends will tell you is that it's not the sexual act or violation that does the most damage to their hearts, minds, and souls. It's the isolation. It's the secret. It's the not being able to tell, or worse, not being believed.
My friend was blessed to have amazing parents who listened to her, believed her, and took action. She knows this and thanks God for them. And she has allowed me to share her story with you so your children can use the front door too.