Inland Empire Girl gave us the following sibling assignment.
Robert Frost said,"Good fences make good neighbors." Think back to all the neighbors we had growing up in Kellogg. Choose a memorable event that involved neighbors and share your memories.”
Defining moments. A moment in life that is decisive and critically important. It is a moment that changes things for us. Life changes in a split second. This story is about one of those defining moments in my life.
At first reading, you would expect us all to have some warm, fuzzy stories about the wonderful neighbors we had growing up in our little hometown of Kellogg. You will find these stories at ING's blog here, and RP's blog here.
Unfortunately, this assignment made me think of a very memorable event that happened, but it wasn’t a pleasant memory. Some events that have happened in my life lately, as well as the prompt IEG gave us, has made me realize the following is the story I would be telling.
I guess it is my turn to have the dark side of this week’s sibling assignment, an honor which is usually reserved for Raymond Pert.
No warm and fuzzy neighbor story for me.
No, unfortunately, the memorable event I remember most about a neighbor happened when I was 11, and it was a defining moment in my life.
Growing up, we did have wonderful neighbors on either side of our house. But, as they grew older, their houses were put up for sale, and they moved on.
We had a variety of neighbors come and go on each side of our house. Before my sixth grade year in school, a family moved in to the house to the west of ours. They had four kids around my age, a boy going into ninth grade, two daughters going into seventh grade, and another daughter going into fifth grade. So I developed a friendship with them, and hung out with them occasionally.
One day I was playing over at their house with the youngest daughter. Her brother was home, but the rest of the family was gone.
As we were playing in the house, the brother came up with idea to hide in the closet in his bedroom and scare his mom, who was expected home soon. So the three of us got inside the closet. While in there, I was molested by the boy.
Yes, I was touched in those improper places that a bathing suit covers up.
When we got out of the closet, he brought out some pornographic magazines from under his bed to show me.
Then I remember going home.
I also remember being really mad.
I didn’t tell anyone. I dealt with it on my own. I knew it was wrong what was done to me. Even my body knew it was wrong. I remember I skipped my period that month.
Besides the violation that was done to me that evening, what bothers me now is the fact I didn’t tell anyone, or even knew that a crime had been committed against me. That knowledge was not there.
In fact, that didn’t really dawn on me until much later, as an adult, when I covered the courts for the newspaper. Then it finally dawned on me. I was a victim. He was a criminal.
I knew morally it was wrong. But it never occurred to me to tell an adult that a crime had been committed against me. I guess because I handled most of my problems on my own. I remember telling a friend at some point, but we just kind of laughed, and didn’t do much about it.
As an elementary student, you were warned of strange men in trench coats who could come after you and entice you with candy.
We knew not get in a car with a stranger.
But nobody warned us about the teenage boy next door. Nobody warned us that you are more likely to be molested by a family member or a friend of the family than a stranger.
As I look back on how this moment affected me, I think it actually gave me a strength I didn’t have before. I think the anger created a type of alertness and kept me on my guard.
I knew I never wanted to be a victim again.