Why Women don't tell
In my memoir CHOICES: A Story of Survival, I reveal that I was raped at 15 years old by a relative. It took me 60 years to tell my story. Every young girl or woman that has been raped has their own reasons for not telling, and I'm sure those reasons are all different.
In my case, there were several factors that prevented me from telling my mother or my sister. One factor was that it was my sister's husband. She was pregnant with her second child and I figured there would be one of two outcomes. She would want to leave him but would have nowhere to go. Two, she might blame me and hate me, which I would not be able to bear. As it was I asked her for the money to buy a bus ticket to leave Lubbock Texas and go back home to Oregon. She gave it to me.
When I got home I was afraid to tell my mother because I thought she would blame me. We were Southern Baptist and the religion suggests that anytime a woman is sexually molested it must be her fault. She may have been wearing the wrong clothes or she may have given off hints that it was ok. I slowly sunk into a depression. I saw my life as worthless and did not know where to turn and had no one to talk to. This is when I made the first significant choice that would affect the rest of my life. I got married at 16 to a budding 18-year-old alcoholic. I saw no other future in the haze of my depression. I had my first child at 19 and by age 25 I had three children and a full-blown alcoholic husband.
When young girls and young women have experienced the brutal assault of rape it impacts every future decision. The victim is made small and powerless. Self-esteem is destroyed often creating a trail of bad choices in an attempt to rebuild a life that can establish an identity that will lead to a re-emerging self-esteem and success. Rebuilding your life takes tremendous resilience. In my next blog I will follow up with more on how this can happen.