A Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse Speaks Out… season 1

speaksout

Tom Becka: Hello and welcome to this interview of TomBecka.com. This interview personifies what this podcast page is all about. This is an interview with a woman that, well, you might meet her on the street. You might know her. She might be living next door to you.

She’s a wife, she’s a mother. She’s a successful member of the community. What you wouldn’t know is that as a child she was sodomized by the son of a friend of her mom’s. We talked about how she overcame this childhood sexual abuse.

How she grew, and how she became a successful wife, mom, and member of society. What she had to overcome, how she dealt with it, who she told, who she didn’t tell, and all of the emotions that came with it. You’ll find this interview to be quite interesting and informative and maybe even helpful to some people who might be going through a similar thing.

How would you describe yourself?

Sexual Assault Survivor: I guess I would rather just think of somebody that just happens to be part of my past because I don’t like to…I would not want to give that person the power to have made me who I am today, I guess. I don’t want him to feel like he really affected my life, if that makes any sense.

Tom: What happened? What was your story?

Sexual Assault Survivor: My mom’s best friend had two kids, a daughter my own age and a son about four years older. They did not live in the state so they were at their grandparent’s house. I got to spend the night there and during the night the son started coming in to where we were sleeping and started harassing me to let him, I guess sodomize me would be the polite way to say it.

Tom: This is a podcast. You can say whatever you want. Whatever you want to say, you can say.

Sexual Assault Survivor: Sex is what he wanted to do. He had a cousin with him that was I think maybe a year older than he was.

Tom: How old were you and how old are they?

Sexual Assault Survivor: I was 10.

Tom: And they were how old?

Sexual Assault Survivor: I think he was 14 and his cousin was about 15. I was in the room with the girl that was about my age. I don’t know why I didn’t wake anybody up. I was just embarrassed and scared about it and I just kept thinking if I kept saying no and ignored him long enough that he would eventually just go away and leave me alone. It was probably 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning when he finally just decided that he was tired of asking so he just did it.

Tom: So, he just did it?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Mm-hmm.

Tom: You say there were other people in the room. Were you quiet during this time? Did you scream? Did you yell? What did you do?

Sexual Assault Survivor: I was crying into the pillow and the part that really made me mad at the time that while I was doing that he was almost like apologizing at the same time like telling me he was sorry if he was hurting me or whatever.

Tom: Wow. But, there’s more to the story, right? While he was doing this somebody was actually watching him do this?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Yes, his cousin sat right there next to us and just watched this happen. He didn’t tell him like “Oh yeah, you should definitely do this” but he definitely did not try to stop him either. He just was a voyeur, I guess.

Tom: Watching the whole thing.

Sexual Assault Survivor: Right.

Tom: We talk about this because in light of the Jerry Sandusky thing when the assistant coach walked into the shower and saw Sandusky doing that to the kid and then the assistant coach not doing anything about it. There was no point in time when you thought to this guy, hey, do something, stop this guy? I mean the observer, there was no time when you reached out to him or anything?

Sexual Assault Survivor: I don’t know. I don’t know why I didn’t. I just can’t explain why I didn’t. I think I was just embarrassed, I guess, or I don’t know. I just thought that he would say something. In hindsight later I actually hated him more than I hated the person that did it to me.

Tom: Really, how so?

Sexual Assault Survivor: The guy that did this, he is like a serial sexual offender. I found out later he did this to quite a few other girls, including his own adopted sister that he’d been with since they were babies. That was a couple years later that that happened.

He’s actually in prison now in Minnesota for burglary and sexual crimes. But at the time that I realized that this was just something that he did, he was just this kind of a person, I felt like it wasn’t a personal thing to me, I just was somebody that was there.

I’ve seen him since. I’ve never spoken to him, but I guarantee he has no criminal record. He has a wife. He has children. He has this totally normal life and it just really pisses me off to think of him going about his regular life pretending to be a decent human being. I’m sure that no one, other than the rapist and myself, know that he’s that kind of a person.

Tom: What did you say? He was probably like 14 or so at the time?

Sexual Assault Survivor: I think he was about 15.

Tom: 15 at the time? When he’s watching this, is it possible that he’s just some stupid 15 year old kid not knowing what to do and he really is a decent person? Do you have any insight that maybe he might have been involved in other activities like this?

Sexual Assault Survivor: I don’t have any reason to think that he ever did anything like that since, but I guess just being that I actually have a son that is 15 and I have another child that is close to the age I was at the time and I know he would never ever sit and watch something like that and say nothing, I just can’t believe that if you were any decent person that you could just watch something like that and not even ignore it. At least just leave the room, but just to stay there.

Tom: Yeah. You say you’ve seen him since then. You haven’t spoken to him, but you have seen him?

Sexual Assault Survivor: No I haven’t spoken to him.

Tom: Have you thought about reaching out to him and telling him your thoughts? In other words, some sort of closure, if you will, or just some way of finding out what the hell he was thinking and why he didn’t do something? I’m not trying to defend this guy, but is it possible that he might have guilt all these years later?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Well I hope he does.

Tom: Yeah, so do I actually, but have you ever reached out to him and thought “You son of a bitch, why didn’t you do something?”

Sexual Assault Survivor: I know I could get a hold of him because my mom is still friends with his aunt, but the only time I ever saw him it actually made me so upset to see him I don’t think I could go up and speak to him rationally.

Tom: You say your mom and then this aunt, did you ever talk to them about what happened? Like, after it happened did you go to your mom and cry and say “Mom, here’s what happened last night”? Did you go to any adults?

Sexual Assault Survivor: No. I absolutely did not say anything.

Tom: Why not?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Sometimes kids will say that they thought they would be blamed or something like that. I never thought that, but even at that age, even though I had known nothing about sex I knew that, that kind of sex was gross, or taboo, so I felt gross because of it.

Also, part of me was afraid that she would want to do something about it. I didn’t want anybody to look at me like the kid that this happened to, if that makes any sense.

Tom: You didn’t want to be seen as a victim?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Yeah.

Tom: Even at 10 you knew that you didn’t want to be seen as a victim?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Right.

Tom: How has this affected you then as an adult? In other words…When I was about 10 or so let’s see because 10, that puts you about what?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Fifth grade.

Tom: About fifth grade. I guess I was young. I was about third grade. I fell off a cliff and I broke my leg. Here’s the analogy I’m making. I look back on that as saying that’s something that happened to me when I was a kid.

Can you now, as an adult, look back and that and say “That’s something that’s something that happened to me when I was a kid?” or do you look back on that and has it had a massive impact on relationships and your sex life and things like that as an adult?

Sexual Assault Survivor: I mostly look back at it as something that happened to me as a kid. I almost try to look at it as something that happened to somebody else.

It did affect me. It didn’t make me…sometimes you’ll hear people say something like this happens it makes them feel worthless. It didn’t make me feel like that. I was never promiscuous at all, but it made me have sex earlier than I would have, just because I felt technically I was a virgin, but I felt like that was gone and I wanted to do that on my own terms I guess, if that makes any sense.

Tom: How old were you when you had sex for the first time, consensual sex?

Sexual Assault Survivor: 15.

Tom: 15?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Yeah.

Tom: 15, and was it a boyfriend that you’d been going out with a while?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Yes. It was a boyfriend I had, had for a while. I only have ever slept with two people other than my husband, so it didn’t make me become slutty or anything like that. I had a boyfriend and I guess I felt like I had already done something like that, so there was no reason not to do it because I wanted to.

Tom: Your 15 year old boyfriend, you said the first guy, the guy that raped you was about 15 and he was trying to talk you in to it, and trying to talk you in to it when you couldn’t. When you said “No, no, no, no” he finally just did it. Was there any of that? I’m just trying to think about a 15 year old boy trying, or however old he was at the time. How old was he at the time?

Sexual Assault Survivor: He was 17.

Tom: So within the range. I know a 17 year old boy, “Come on, come on, come on!” Was there anything of that, that went back to that night?

Sexual Assault Survivor: No. Well, he was a virgin also, so I just tried to put it out of my mind. I never told any boyfriends I had about it until I had been dating my husband, like a year and a half. I don’t think it affected that part of it, but the only other person I ever slept with I do think it was a big mistake. It was somebody I thought was going to a real boyfriend and now I realize it wasn’t.

I just didn’t know how to say no. I knew it was a mistake at the time, but I guess maybe because I’d had my wishes ignored before when I was in that position again. Even though I knew it was stupid at the time I just didn’t really know how to be adamant.

Tom: How old about were you on this time?

Sexual Assault Survivor: I was 16.

Tom: Yeah, at 16. We’ve all made stupid decisions at 16. So then your husband now, you must’ve dated early on?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Yeah.

Tom: High school sweethearts and everything?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Yep.

Tom: Very cool. This is a really awkward question to ask, but studies have shown that victims of childhood sexual abuse sometimes end up being predators on their own. Has there ever been a time when you’ve thought of…I’m not saying…but just had in your mind, like you wanted to act out on that?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Oh, definitely not. No.

Tom: You’ve never looked at a child and maybe wanted to maybe take rage out on them?

Sexual Assault Survivor: No.

Tom: No?

Sexual Assault Survivor: No.

Tom: It’s a weird question. I feel bad asking the question, but it is a question that…when you read a lot about sexual predators and a lot of them, it turns out that they were molested when they were children, like you talk about the guy that did it to you being in prison now. I’m sure that they’re taking good care of him in the joint because a lot of those guys that are in there were abused when they were children too.

What do you think about the way the media deals with sexual predators. In other words, it is a sensational story. You’ve got politicians that get on the band wagon with all the lists stuff like that, but any list out there would not have prevented what happened to you from happening.

How do you feel about the way that society, in general, deals with this as far as trying to prevent this from happening to other kids?

Sexual Assault Survivor: I think the way they’re all grouped together is messed up. My husband used to have a neighbor who had been 20-something and he slept with a girl, who was in high school, but it was consensual and he’s on a predator list. I just don’t think that people like that belong on the same list as people who molest a five year old.

I guess those lists are good ideas, but maybe they give people a false sense of knowing who’s…You do not know who’s out there.

Tom: A false sense of security by these lists in some ways. It also seems to me, in the research I’ve done on this, is that people that are indeed abused, in most cased know the predator. It’s not a situation of just some random guy abusing some child. They get the trust of the family and then they attack the child that way.

The Penn State story, what it seems to be about this is the silence that all went on around it. Evidently, a lot of other people seemed to know and nobody really spoke out. Why do you think that is?

Sexual Assault Survivor: I think that they were just concerned with their own careers and their own interests. That’s probably been the thing, outside of the actual crime, that’s the thing that has upset me the most about watching the case unfolding is that I just can’t even imagine being married to one of these men or being the daughter of one of these guys that knew about this because it’s just so disturbing to think that people could know about something like this.

These people who saw it, or that knew what was going on and didn’t say anything, my thought would be “If it had been me in there, would you have ignored it?” Of course I would think they’re going to say “Well of course I wouldn’t.” So you would protect a grown woman, but you would protect a child.

Obviously he’s a sick person and that’s what he is attracted to. That’s what he does, so yeah it’s disgusting and he should go to jail for it, but that’s who he is. That’s what he does. These other people are normal people. You should be able to expect that they would do something to stop it.

Tom: You’re saying you’re more upset with the people that didn’t stop it. Just looking at your face you’re trembling when even talking about this.

Sexual Assault Survivor: Yeah.

Tom: Because everybody’s so concerned about themselves they’re not concerned about the kid. It seems that happens a lot in cases like this, doesn’t it? You hear stories about step-fathers abusing the children and the mom not doing anything because she doesn’t want to believe it because of divorce or problems with that. People that don’t want to admit or acknowledge that, that really is what’s going on. How do we change that attitude?

Sexual Assault Survivor: I don’t know. I think we live in just such a self-centered society anymore in every way. Everybody is concerned about what’s best for them, what they’re doing, what their concerns are.

Actually, what you just said I’ve never really connected the two before, but there is nothing that upsets me more than the stories of women who have a boyfriend or a second husband that comes in and either molests their kids or abuses their kids and they take the side of their boyfriend over their children.

Tom: I almost wonder if it’s a thing where you don’t want to believe that somebody that you know and you that you think, like you talk about the guy that watched as you were being molested and you can’t believe that people think he’s a good guy.

Sexual Assault Survivor: Yeah.

Tom: But at the same time, their people that have no idea of his past and they believe he is a good guy. I’m guessing they believe he’s a good guy.

Sexual Assault Survivor: Mm-hmm.

Tom: Same thing here. If you’ve got somebody that’s a friend of yours is it a thing that you feel like maybe you couldn’t imagine somebody doing something quite so heinous and so disgusting, and so it’s a denial thing?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Yeah, I suppose it can be denial. I guess I’ve never been in a situation of suspecting anybody I know.

Tom: How do you do know when you’ve got, as a mother, as a parent, you’ve got kids and they want to do the sleepovers and they want camping trips or whatever it may be, do you freak out about that now or do you not let them do it? How does this affect you as far as the raising of your kids?

Sexual Assault Survivor: I don’t think I’m overly paranoid about it. When they were littler, I was a little more cautious of making sure that I knew the people that they were with. Obviously, not that knowing people necessarily means anything, but I’ve always talked to my kids about private parts and that you don’t keep secrets and that kind of thing.

I would have to say, although obviously, anything can happen to boys or girls, I am much more nervous and paranoid about my daughter. She’s not at an age yet that she’s spent the night at anybody’s house, but she’s getting close.

I can definitely say I’m probably going to have some issues letting her spend the night at other people’s houses unless I know them really, really well.

Tom: You say you didn’t talk to your husband about this until you’d been dating for a year and a half.

Sexual Assault Survivor: Mm-hmm.

Tom: You say at the time you never talked to your mom or anybody about it.

Sexual Assault Survivor: No.

Tom: Have you talked to others about it since then? Have you talked to your mom about this since then?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Yes. My mom and I were on a trip probably 17 years later and she happened to mention to me that she found out from her friend that he had done that same thing to his sister. I think she was 14 at the time. She just started talking about like, “Oh, that’s so terrible and can you imagine something like that happening to you”? That kind of thing.

I finally, I told her about it. I guess by that point I almost hadn’t told her because I felt like she’s still friends with this woman and I almost felt bad like I didn’t want to…it’s not her friend’s fault, I didn’t want to ruin their friendship.

Tom: How old were you at the time this conversation was taking place?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Probably about 27.

Tom: So, that’s 27 years after the fact you’re having this conversation with your mom.

Sexual Assault Survivor: Yeah.

Tom: How did your mom react?

Sexual Assault Survivor: She was OK. I think she did cry a little bit and she felt really guilty that she didn’t realize at the time, but I may have acted strangely, I couldn’t say I remember for sure.

But if she had asked me I would not have told her because I was just thinking that if anybody knew that maybe she’s want to press charges or something like that and I did not want to have to answer questions. I just wanted to pretend it never happened.

I have told other people since then, not a ton of people, but if it somebody I’m fairly close to and the topic of things like that come up, I have told people.

Tom: How do they react?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Shocked.

Tom: Do they look at you differently or anything or act differently around you afterwards?

Sexual Assault Survivor: No, I don’t think so. I hope they don’t look at me differently.

Tom: When you say you talk to people about this sort of a thing, and it comes up, do you ever get people then who come to you and say, “Here’s a similar story that happened to me”? Do you ever get anything like that?

I know you say you haven’t told this to a lot of people, but I’m just sort of wondering what the percentage would be if you said something like this happened to you when you were 10, does a girlfriend then say, “Let me tell you what happened to me when I was 12″?

Sexual Assault Survivor: I have had one person that did tell me a story of what happened to them. I’ve had almost all the women I know, maybe not something to that degree, but tell about an uncle who groped them or basically almost every woman I know has had something happen, not that severe, but they’ve all had something happen that was inappropriate when they were under 15.

Tom: Like what?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Like uncles groping them or brother’s friends coming in their room.

Tom: But you say brother’s friend coming in the room, again, the difference between a teenage boy wanting to see a nipple and a teenage boy sodomizing a 10 year old girl, I mean, where do you draw the line in something like that between what is just normal adolescent sexual curiosity as opposed to deviant sexual behavior?

Sexual Assault Survivor: I guess in their cases they were all situations that they looked back on and felt that they were actually victimized not just, like you said, somebody hoping that maybe you’d be interested.

Tom: They came in acting a little bit too forceful or something along those lines.

Sexual Assault Survivor: Or that they were just quite a bit older to where it would be inappropriate.

Tom: If a mother is listening right now and something like this has happened to her daughter, is there anything in hindsight like if your mom had known, how would you have wanted her to react? How do you think a parent should react if they know or suspect that something like this has happened to one of their kids?

Sexual Assault Survivor: I guess I would say first of all that you would just need to ask them straight out and not think that they’re going to come to you. I want to say that I would have said no but I think if my mom had asked me straight out, “Did something happen to you while you were there,” I may have told her the truth or at the very least I think she could have told that I was lying. The thing I would have wanted the most was just to be treated the same.

Tom: So, you advice to any mother that would know about this would be to treat your daughter the same.

Sexual Assault Survivor: Yeah.

Tom: Love her and not freak out too much?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Yeah, that was one of the other things I was afraid of is I guess that just their perception of me would be different. Not that I thought she would think I was bad, but I just wanted to be a normal kid that I was afraid that they would tiptoe around me and just think that I was somebody different. [crying]

Tom: Why are you crying? I didn’t mean to make you cry.

Sexual Assault Survivor: It’s OK. I don’t know why because I never cry about this.

Tom: Has all the stories about the Penn State been in the news so much, had it affected you in that way?

Sexual Assault Survivor: I think it’s brought up a lot, especially with the stories of the people knowing and seeing it and not saying anything because it’s honestly something that I think about every day at all.

Tom: I would point that it becomes something you don’t think about every day. I would imagine when it happens when you’re 10 it’s a big issue.

Sexual Assault Survivor: Yeah.

Tom: But as time progresses, what point in time do you think, “Wow, I haven’t thought about that for months”?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Once I was married and I was with my husband and I knew that I was never going to have to worry about telling somebody new. If you’re with somebody seriously, you feel like they have the right to know. I guess they don’t have to know, but I felt like if I was going to be with somebody seriously that they had the right to know.

When I knew I wasn’t going to have to tell anybody new unless I wanted to and I always was a little scared before that that, I don’t know what I thought somebody would say, like a boyfriend when I told him.

I don’t want to say he didn’t care because, obviously, he was horrified that that had happened to me. He was fine with it. I knew I didn’t have to tell anybody again after that. Then I put it away, I guess.

Tom: And live with it was part of just [indecipherable 29:30] ?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Yes.

Tom: Has it affected you as far as like trust issues?

Sexual Assault Survivor: I don’t think so. Luckily, I knew him but I had never spent much time with him, so he wasn’t somebody that I considered really, I had considered his sister my friend, but I hadn’t really considered him a friend. It wasn’t like a real betrayal, if that makes any sense, but I do definitely have when you get that like creepy, weird feeling, when women will get that creepy, weird feeling from some guys, I definitely listen to that feeling.

One of my son’s, who is not even a teenage yet, has a friend that as weird as it sounds because he’s young, he’s not in high school yet, he gives me that creepy, weird feeling.

I don’t like him at my house much and I’ve actually even discussed with my son that I would never want him to repeat it to anybody because it’s terrible to say something like that about somebody when you have no basis for it. I just want to make sure when he’s at our house that he’s not alone with my daughter or that I want him to be with my son all the time, because I want to know where he is.

Tom: Would you ever talk to your kids about this? Obviously, some are too young, but you say you have a 15-year-old. At some point would you sit…”Here’s what happened to me. I want you to know so something like this doesn’t happen to you,” or is that too weird?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Yeah, I don’t know if I would ever…I guess maybe if there was a situation that brought it up, if something happened with somebody he knows, and he mentioned it to me. Because, I mean, we talk about anything, and I’m not shy. It’s not that I would be embarrassed, necessarily. I don’t know. I just can’t see myself bringing it up. I would probably avoid bringing it up unless I really felt like there was a real reason to talk about it.

Tom: It could be weird, yeah, Thanksgiving dinner.

Sexual Assault Survivor: Yeah. [laughs]

Tom: “Pass the mashed potatoes. By the way, let me tell you what happened to Mommy.” It would probably be a weird thing, but I wonder if that would help or not. I don’t know. I’m just thinking that would help them, or not, or if it really matters to them. You mentioned that you didn’t think of this guy as being your friend, but that you thought of his sister as being your friend.

Sexual Assault Survivor: Yeah.

Tom: I understand you not talking to your mom about it, to an adult. I can understand that. Did you talk to your girlfriend about it at all when you talked?

Sexual Assault Survivor: No.

Tom: It never came up when you were just…

Sexual Assault Survivor: No.

Tom: Because, just knowing how little girls like to talk, that it just seems…

Sexual Assault Survivor: They lived in another state, and we didn’t see them real often. By the time I saw her again, it was probably two years later, whatever, and I just was definitely in denial at that point in my life. I maybe told my very best friend about it, maybe two years later, three years later. Other than that, I don’t think I ever told anybody about it until my husband. I think I was 17 when I told him.

Tom: When you said you told your very best friend, you were 12.

Sexual Assault Survivor: Mm-hmm.

Tom: Did she keep the secret, or was it all over the schoolyard?

Sexual Assault Survivor: No, she kept the secret. Luckily, I had good taste in friends.

[laughter]

Tom: I could see that sort of a thing, being a 12-year-old telling another 12-year-old. Next thing you know, it’s all over.

Maybe I should have asked this earlier. I don’t mean to be graphic about it, but I just had the thought that, as you were being forcibly sodomized, or anally raped, was there damage? I mean, blood or anything that would be suspicious? I would just think…

Sexual Assault Survivor: Yeah. I finally fell asleep for, like, an hour. Yeah, when I woke up in the morning, there was some bleeding and, of course…How can I say this without being gross? [laughs]

Tom: Maybe there’s no way to say it without being gross. Just be honest.

Sexual Assault Survivor: I didn’t know quite what was wrong with me in the morning, because, obviously, there was semen involved. I didn’t know what that was at the time, so I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was dealing with that and blood for a while after I woke up.

I very much recall we had to get up and go to church the next day. I wasn’t sitting next to him, but I remember very well sitting in church with this person the next day and just waiting and wondering if he just shouldn’t just burst in flame right there for sitting in church after that.

Tom: Did that affect your faith at all? In other words, “God, why do you let something like this happen to me?”

Sexual Assault Survivor: I was raised to be pretty religious, and I’m not religious at all. I don’t know if that’s any part of it. I’ve never really thought about it like that, I guess.

Tom: What would you want people to know out of all of this? Out of your experience right now that you’re sharing with people, what would be the message that you hope people take from this interview?

Sexual Assault Survivor: I hope people would realize that that does not have to ruin your life. One of the things that I hate seeing is women on TV talking about something like this and saying that they’ve never been able to have a real boyfriend or have a real relationship or do any of those things because something like that’s happened to them.

I’ve almost wondered if maybe because I was so young, I was able to separate it. I really wish that people wouldn’t give someone the power to ruin their life, [crying] because it definitely is something that’s always there, but I don’t think about it every day. You should not let somebody screw things up for you. You shouldn’t let somebody have that kind of power over you, because then you’re a victim for life.

Tom: That’s, as an adult woman, a great thing to say. I would agree with you on that. At what age do you think you came to that realization? Do you think you knew it right then at 10, or did it take you into your adult years to finally put it behind you and say, “I’m not going to let this a-hole control my life and ruin my life?

Sexual Assault Survivor: I was probably a senior, maybe just out of high school, when I finally…I would still think about it quite a bit at that point. That’s when I just decided, if I think about this all the time [crying] and let this person affect how I live or how I think or anything like that, then he would win. He’s a scumbag. He shouldn’t win.

I honestly would be surprised if he would even remember me or know my name. I think that it was such not a big deal to him that I was just nothing to him, so I would definitely not want him to think that he was anything to me.

Tom: I’m sorry I made you cry.

Sexual Assault Survivor: That’s OK.

Tom: It takes a lot of guts to come out here and tell this story, knowing that it’s going to be heard by strangers and that, and be able to share this with people like this, because there is such a stigma attached to it. I don’t know. There shouldn’t be a stigma attached to it, should there?

Sexual Assault Survivor: No, any more there’s no stigma to…If you want to sleep around, there’s no stigma to that. At least to most people, if you’re single and you want to sleep with whoever…

Tom: Consenting adults and everything?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Yes, then its fine. So, there shouldn’t be a stigma against that.

Tom: I’ve said this, and had discussions with women that I know that have been rape victims. If you were murdered, your name would be in the paper, but a victim of rape, and your name is not in there because it’s a stigma.

If somebody hits you on the side of the head with a lead pipe, you’re in the paper, but if somebody assaults you in a different way, sexually, you’re not. That almost puts a stigma on the victim that shouldn’t be there, because if you are a victim, you are a victim, and it shouldn’t necessarily be something that should be hidden. It should be talked about and discussed and hopefully stopped from happening again.

Sexual Assault Survivor: Yeah, it shouldn’t be more shameful than any other attack.

Tom: Do you ever feel shame with all of this?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Not now. I definitely did at the time. Even though I was little and I knew nothing about sex at the time, I realized even then that that kind of sex was…that people would think that was gross. If he had just raped me in a normal way, I would have been a lot more likely to tell.

Tom: Has this affected…Would you consider your sex life with your husband to be a normal, married sex life?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Yes.

Tom: This is a question. Just say, “None of your damned business,” if it’s none of my damned business, but I’m just curious. A lot of guys try to get their wife to do that. “Hey, honey, let’s do anal.” Would that be something even on the table for discussion?

Sexual Assault Survivor: No, it’s actually probably not a dumb question, because, yes, I have done that, because I didn’t want that to be something that was…

Tom: “Don’t touch me there.”

Sexual Assault Survivor: Yeah, and I didn’t want that to be something that only he had, if that makes any sense.

Tom: It makes a lot of sense, yeah. It wasn’t as dumb a question as I thought. I got lucky there.

Sexual Assault Survivor: [laughs]

Tom: Again, thank you for sharing this story with us. Hopefully, it will help somebody else who has gone through a similar situation and hopefully, help them deal with it, knowing that they’re not alone. You’ve never gone to any sort of self-help group or anything like that along this? You’ve never reached out to other victims in any way…

Sexual Assault Survivor: No.

Tom: …other than this?

Sexual Assault Survivor: Mm-mm.

Tom: All right. Thanks for your time, and I appreciate you doing this. Again, sorry about the tears. I know it couldn’t have been easy to do, but I do appreciate that, and hopefully, we’ve helped someone else along the way.

Sexual Assault Survivor: All right. Thank you.

Tom: Thank you.

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