Unwanted Attention, Touching

This post contains information that may be upsetting to some.

I was in high school, the first time the unwanted attention and touching occurred. I was working at a part-time job, one of my high school teachers had secured for me. It was a pretty easy gig, I made keys and sold high-end knickknacks. As I was in grade twelve at the time, the job was perfect and the extra money wonderful (see note). I had been working there for a number of months, sometimes on my own and sometimes with my boss present. I had never felt uncomfortable with him, in fact we got along quite fine, maybe too fine in his mind.

Our conversations usually centred around my day at school, until one day he started asking why I didn’t have a boyfriend. I don’t remember how I responded to his question but whatever I did say, it wasn’t the right answer. The next time at work, I still remember quite clearly, (and this is well over thirty years ago) the slaps on my behind. I’m not sure what he was trying to tell me/do to me but it was unwanted attention, touching. Not knowing what to do or who to tell, (because when I was eighteen these things really weren’t spoken about), so the only solution I could think of at the time was to have one of my guy friends start picking me up after work, and I could pretend he was my boyfriend. As silly as this might have seemed, it worked. My boss no longer asked about boyfriends and the slapping on the ass stopped. I never thought of quitting my job because by then I needed the spending money. As it turned out, I only worked there a few more months, because in April 1979 then May 1979, I was in my first two accidents.

A number of years went by and I had forgotten/gotten over what had happened to me when I was seventeen, I had started dating my now husband. We were quite an active couple, going out to parties with our friends. One of our couple friends asked us to a large family gathering where there would be a pig roasted on a spit. Having never been to anything like it before, I thought it would be a lot of fun, and it was, until the most unexpected horrible thing happened.

Since we were spending the night at our friend’s parent’s house, we weren’t worried about our amount of drinking. After hours of partying, and just generally having a lot of fun, my back finally said it had enough and it was time for me to have a lay down. My girlfriend said it was alright if I rested on the couch in her parents living room where it was quiet and no one would disturb me. I hadn’t been laying on the couch for that long, when I heard someone enter the room. I thought it was someone wanting me to return to the party and I was exhausted, in a lot of pain, so I kept my eyes closed hoping that whomever it was, they would think I was asleep and leave me alone. Then peeking out of the corner of me eye, I saw that it was my girlfriend’s father. He came closer and stood to close for my comfort. At this point I honestly did not know what to do, do I open my eyes? I decided to keep my eyes almost shut, open just enough to see what he was up to but not enough that he knew I was watching him. Then he unzipped his pants. He pulled out his penis and started masturbating. I was terrified. I closed my eyes so tight that it hurt. He continued until he was finished, put his penis back in his pants, zipped himself up and walked away. I laid there until I sensed it was safe to move, then I got out of the house as fast as I could.

When I was outside, I looked for my boyfriend, unable to find him, I joined my girlfriend, her mother and a few other women sitting around a campfire. As I am sitting there, I’m thinking, lady, your husband who also happens to be my girlfriend’s father and your daughter, just masturbated in my face and I have no idea how to tell either of you. Then I listened, I listened to what they were actually speaking about. The mother was recalling to her daughter and the other women about the sexual abuse in the family. The expression on my face was of disbelief but no one noticed. I got up, determined to find my boyfriend and get out of this place.

After looking and looking, I finally found my boyfriend sleeping in the trailer, we were to spend the night and he was in no condition to drive. I told him what happened, but I don’t think he really understood me, though he did agree that we would leave first thing in the morning. Thankfully, when the morning arrived, very few people were awake, so we just left, without saying any goodbyes.

I never did tell my girlfriend what happened, but we saw her and her husband less and less. The next year when she invited us to the family pig roast, we declined.

What my girlfriend’s father did to me, haunted me for years and years. It was after the birth of my first child that I told my family doctor. The very first thing he said to me was “it wasn’t your fault.” It wasn’t my fault, but for years I asked myself what if I had opened my eyes? There is no answer to that question though. Later on, I did tell my parents. My father, with the utmost anger I have ever seen wanted to beat the living crap out of the man and asked me where the guy lived. I wouldn’t tell him, because it wouldn’t have done any good. My father also wanted me to press charges, but I didn’t want to go that route either, I just wanted to forget about it, except it never goes away. The experience, for lack of a better word, no longer haunts me, but it does make me worry for my children and with them, my husband and I have always been honest and open when talking about sexual abuse.

Throughout the years, my husband has always been very supportive. He has admitted he doesn’t understand why I just can’t forget about it, but regardless, of whatever I am feeling he is there for me.

Note: I remember it was the first Christmas that I actually had money and I was so pleased I was able to purchase presents for my family (particularly a gift for my grandmother, a copper vase. My grandmother was so delighted because it was unexpected. She displayed the vase proudly in her living room until her death, upon which it was returned to me).

15 Replies to “Unwanted Attention, Touching”

  1. I’m half way through writing a post about how having children creates life-long worry, not just the stuff about stranger danger and crossing roads, but whether or not you’ve equipped them to cope as adults with the crap that will come their way. I guess there is no right or wrong way to handle such episodes – you probably did the right thing for you at the time. I also have a memory of seeing a man masturbating at the side of the street as I walked home with friends. It’s not something you forget.

    1. I am sorry you had to see that image. It is not something you easily forget, you can bury it, but it is always there in your memories.

      Having children puts a whole new dimension on how to teach them to cope, if God forbid they are ever exposed to horrible acts. It was never a constant worry but it was a worry. Thank goodness though, my kids have never had to experience what I did and hopefully they never will.

  2. I’m so glad not to be alone. One of my mother’s boyfriends did something very similar to this when we were growing up. I’ve never talked about it to anyone. Maybe it’s time.

    1. I’m so sorry Jerimi that you had a similar horrible experience. You are not alone, there are many of us (sadly), just not a lot of us who put it down in a blog post. Most importantly please remember, it is not your fault, your mother’s boyfriend was wrong, very wrong.

      Please do talk to someone about it, when I did speak with my family physician years ago, he was of great help to me.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sure it was a very difficult part of your life to write about. There are too many people who are affected by sexual abuse to ignore it. I’m sure you sharing your story will help many others out there.

    1. It is not easy talking about sexual abuse, it took me a long time to talk to anyone, with the exception of my husband. As it has been said in the comments, maybe the more people do talk and bring it out in the open, the perpetrator can be stopped from harming others.

  4. Oh my Catherine what an awful thing that happened. Being able to write about it so openly is a a testament to your dealing with it so well, I hope that ‘getting it down’ on your blog hasn’t brought back too many painful memories. I’ve found often these things can be cathartic at the time but are still understandably upsetting.

    The more people are open about such experiences, in my humble opinion the better aware people will be about these things and in turn, hopefully, more encouraged to tell someone as soon as it happens to help themselves.

    I hope you are ok x

    1. It did take quite a few years before I was even able to speak of it, but now I am good. I did think putting it on my blog, might hopefully help someone out there, especially since there has been so much horrible news lately about rape, and sexual abuse. I agree with you, if people talk about it, hopefully they will get help, and more people will be apt to report it. I may be reaching for the sky, but if we don’t try, nothing will happen.

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