Little girls (and not-so-little girls) will respond differently, I’m sure, to sexual overtures from grown up family members or friends. Most little girls know, even when they’re very, very little, even without having been told, that it is wrong for grown ups to touch them in certain places, in certain ways. Most little girls would feel frightened when confronted with an adult making sexual advances on them, perhaps. I cannot know. I was not most little girls.
I can recall, long before any inappropriate gestures, intimations, allusions, touching, etc., ever took place (that I was aware of), being a sexually excitable child. I remember masturbating at around age 4, and the explosive and deeply pleasurable sensations that could be experienced when touching certain body parts just so.
It was both implied and assumed for most of my life after, that I was the victim and the man in question the perpetrator in those instances of inappropriate contact between us. It has always been taken for granted that it was initiated and instigated entirely by him.
What most people don’t know is that I loved the attention – even sought it out. What does that say about me?
This was the man from whom I learned how to kiss. Meaning, kiss, kiss, not the pucker-up your lips and peck kind of kiss. When I was eight years old. And I was attracted to him. I loved that a (then) attractive, much older man thought me grown up and sophisticated enough to want to engage with me on an adult level. To think on it now, I am repulsed. But it was what it was and no amount of denial will make it anything else.
Of course, I have since learned that this is exactly the kind of impression that peadophiles want to make on the little girls they target. They prey on that longing for recognition and validation, grooming their mark for intimate interaction so that it seems perfectly acceptable.
Let me say here, for the record, that I was never penetrated vaginally by this man. I managed to hang onto my virginity until I was 14 – but that’s another, later part of my story (if I ever get to it). And for many, the fact that actual, full on sexual intercourse never took place puts all of this outside of the scope of “abuse”.
Certainly, I was not innocent. Clearly, I was a “vroeg ryp, vroeg vrot” case. I wonder, sometimes, whether someone, somewhere in the “system” at the time recognised this in me at the time. But as a parent, I can tell you that if I got even the slightest hint that some adult was teaching MY daughter how to french kiss and/or allowing and (non-verbally encouraging) her to rub herself up on him to get off, I’d land up in jail.
But then, I can’t say that my father wouldn’t have done the same because, when I finally drew attention of the unwanted variety to myself with regard to this man, I never told anyone the truth. Instead, I made up the most ridiculous story:
My father’s wife was pregnant at the time and, although I was old enough to know how it all works that I really should have seen how utterly stupid I would look, I went around school trying to impress the other kids by pretending that I was pregnant, too.
And of course, it was brought to the attention of a teacher. And inquiries were made. It was assumed that the man had engaged in sexual intercourse with me and I remember being called in for a chat by the school’s counsellor. She told me that, if there had indeed been sexual intercourse, the man would be charged with statutory rape and sent to jail. I admitted immediately that there had been no sex. And then I kept my mouth shut about anything else that went on between me and the man, knowing that I would get into trouble for being a little slut if anyone found out. So, officially, there was no story, no problem. Just a little girl desperate for attention.
And I guess that’s why my father thought that the best solution would be to have me shipped off, rather than confronting anyone or digging into it at all.