Growing up many kids believe that a bird called a stork delivers babies to new parents. As people grow up they learn that this is incorrect and feel duped by their families. I never had the luxury to wonder where babies came from. I found out about sex and babies when I was five. It was not a cute story of self discovery, but a harsh theft of my youth and innocence. I should have been mesmerized by the idea that a bird could be so essential to humanity. Instead I had to file my very first police report.
While my friends were watching Nickelodeon I was discussing my very first rape. Discussing it as if it were the morning news.
He was 16 years old at the time and his parents had recently passed away. My cousin moved in to our home shortly after they passed. My mom took him in, she opened the doors of our home to him. He was seemingly a good kid who had just been dealt the wrong hand.
It was a Thursday afternoon, I had just come home from school. My mother was cooking dinner and my sister and I were bored. A couple minutes after us my cousin came home. Later he put on a movie for us kids to watch. Having little else to do, we agreed. We walked into his room and he locked the door behind us. The bed was the most comfortable place to watch television from. He was at one end of the bed and my sister was on the other, leaving me the middle. It was not a bad thing, I could talk and laugh easily with both of them. The plot was slow and my cousin seemed restless. So restless, he put my petite five year old body on top of his. It was a weird way to watch a movie but I thought nothing of it. He began to pull his shorts down and continued with my own. This seemed odd but he was my cousin, I thought he could do me no harm. He groped my body with his rough, weathered hands and I believed it was a caress. It was affection, cousins are supposed to show affection.
We take our childhood for granted and we see these silly stories as nothing more than that. To me the stork was the innocence I was never able to have. My naïveté and wonder for the colorful world that is sexuality was stolen from me. Reality slapped me harshly on my face with the hands of someone who should have taught me about the stork. I should have believed that an ethereal white bird brought kids to happy families. The authorities, a therapist, and my parents told me otherwise. They were forced to explain to a five year old the outcomes of sex and sexual abuse. They were obligated to ask me, “Where did he touch you, and with what?” I was ordered to point at a generic image of a male and a female body.
This fable is seen as silly or even as an insult by many kids. It is believed that our parents hide the truth in order to hold and maintain power over us. The truth is that it is there to safeguard us from a harsh reality. From finding out the preludes of sexuality. My friends believed in the stork, but I knew better. I knew that a bird was far too sanguine an explanation.