Difficult Discussions that Prevent more Difficult Recoveries
I have to start from age three to tell this story properly, so bear with me while I work my way up to the important part.
When I was three, I went to go watch Rugrats and ended up watching porn. Apparently Rugrats was NOT the only VHS manufactured with bright orange plastic. It didn't take me long to realize that. It didn't take my mom long to realize I wasn't watching Rugrats either. She came running from her bedroom when she did and cut it off. She told me that what I saw was something that adults do when they're AT LEAST 30. Can you imagine what it would be like to have your 3-year-old accidentally turn on porn? hahaha
Fast forward two years and my mom is with my first step-dad. He took me to a babysitter that I hadn't been to before. Everything seemed normal... until my step-dad left. Soon after, the babysitter asked if I wanted candy. Hell yeah, I wanted candy. Not only was I a kid, but I have always been the kind of person that eats WAY too many sweets and never has enough. I will have one of everything please.
Getting back to the point, I eagerly said yes, aaaaand this is where things got weird. He told me that I needed to close my eyes and open my mouth and he would feed it to me. I was very confused. I think the only times in my life that anyone has fed me were all times that I couldn't feed myself. So this was the beginning of my weird vibes and suspicion.
I don't want to draw out the story, but there was the sound of his zipper in a moment when I tried to trust him, then he showed me blowjobs on his computer (he had that site pulled up rather quickly for the early 2000s...) and said that wasn't what he was trying to do, and then I, to this day, feel crazy because he had us wash our hands, and I swear to god this dude washed his dick, but I looked away so quickly in embarrassment that I can't really say for sure.
Eventually, he gave up. It was a draw. I wasn't trusting him and he wasn't giving me real candy. So then he just let me play with Lincoln Logs for the rest of the time until my step-dad picked me up.
All of this to say that I consider myself lucky that I had accidentally stumbled across porn when I was three because I don't know if I would have been as suspicious of him otherwise.
And nevertheless, he never got caught. It was clear to me from mom's reaction that sex was for adults and I wasn't supposed to know about it, so I was too afraid of getting in trouble from talking about sex to come forth about what happened.
8 years later, I told my mom, but it was far too late to do anything about it.
I think there's a lot to take away from this, which is why I'm writing this and why I want to start making "Youth Anatomy Awareness" products. Knowing about sex helped prevent me from falling for his tricks (instead he just freaked me out and made me question my sanity and whether I could trust my step-dad, but you know, it could have been worse). It's kind of messed up, but since I know sexual harassment stats are high, I've always been relieved that it happened. Like "Oh, thank god. I got that out of the way. I could have had a much worse story. What are the chances that anything else will happen to me?"
Also, IF knowing about sex hadn't been taboo, then I might've said something and prevented future kids from having to go through that, buuuuut that wasn't the case.
Enter my ideas. I want to make more children's sex ed products and spread my story to help fix the odds. I'm not saying kids need to know the dirty deets, but we should explain the body enough for kids to know where they shouldn't be touched. And we should make sure that they feel comfortable talking about sex, if they don't have you for that... who will teach them?
This could really come down to a few simple conversations with your kid(s). I hope that everyone out in the world finds a way to open up the topic and does so early enough that no one can mess things up beforehand. I know this isn't a comfortable topic though, which is why I want to make products that make it easier and guided, so it doesn't seem so foreign and scary.
Of course, this is a crazy touchy topic, so it's taking me FOREVER and day to put things together for fear of crossing lines.
But we can all start today my trying to start a dialogue about it. Everything that's out of your comfort zone gets easier with practice.