So its about 2:00 A.M and I am so upset I can not sleep. I am constantly awakened by the pain in my gut that says “Hello” the source of your pain has not been resolved. The pain speaks to me and says “There is still injustice suffocating you and you can’t breathe. Each hour that ticks by the thoughts of your grandson come back to you because he is you. He looks like you, a constant reminder of self” and so I remember.

I remember when I was about his age. We had a babysitter, she was grown and pretty. Just like I wanted to be. Our neighbor from across the hall had come over to watch us. She was nice, sweet, and funny. She played with us and watched cartoons with us.

It wasn’t long before it was time for my brother and I to take a bath and go to bed. While she was changing my brother’s diaper someone knocked at the door. She told me “Go open the door its my friend” I went to the door and saw a tall and light skinned man with a big Afro. So I did. I let him in. Then I got into the bathtub with my brother. Just like we did all the time. We played, laughed, and had fun.

When it was time to get out, she came back into the bathroom with her friend. She took my brother out of the tub but I was a big girl so I got out the tub by myself. Then I heard her friend say, “Make em do it”. I was thinking do what. We just had a bath. I obviously looked puzzled so she said I’ll show you, lay down. So I laid down on the rug in the bathroom. She then put my brother on top of me. He just lay there on top of me. He didn’t know what to do either. So she then tried to place his penis in my vagina. That hurt, her trying to do that to me. So I said, “Ow, I don’t want to do it that hurts.” So they let us get up. We put on our clothes and went to bed.

Once I was in bed I kept thinking about what had happened. Then they came and got into my bed, the babysitter and her friend. She let him get on top of her and they “did it”. After a while they stopped. Then the boyfriend told me to touch her breast. I didn’t move. I pretended to be asleep. So he grabbed my hand and placed them on her breast. He then said, “suck em”. I didn’t move so he smashed my face against her breast. I then opened my mouth and tasted the bitter taste of her flesh. I didn’t like it. I stopped. Then they finally left me alone. I remember him laughing. I remember I felt bad. As they got out of my bed she said, “You better not tell cause you will be the one in trouble. You the one who let him in” So I never told.

I was a good girl and I didn’t want to get in trouble. But I never forgot. The memory is as fresh today as it was over 40 years ago. I remember because it changed me. Because of them I knew that it was not OK to be naked in front of people. I learned that nakedness means something different to grown people than to me, a kid. I learned that grown people can make you do stuff you do not want to do. I now knew what “doing it” meant.

My innocence had been shattered by a babysitter and her boyfriend. My innocence was not theirs to take. Innocence is something that can never be replaced. It is taking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. After that day, I knew I was naked. I could never go back to a place where nakedness meant nothing. That is the innocence of a child. Nakedness means nothing. Its just a body until someone shows you otherwise.

Fortunately, she didn’t keep us anymore after that. But I never forgot. Although, I do not know if they went on to abuse other children because I never told they but I know they were not held accountable for their actions against me. This is why I speak out against Child Sexual Abuse not only for myself but for every child whose innocence has been stolen.

I am no longer afraid. I will fight for the innocence of children. I will share my story in hopes that everyone who has had their innocence stolen will share their story without fear. Tell your survivor story and join the fight against sexual violence.