• October 18, 2017
  • By Kathy@MoreCoffeeLessTalky

It took me a while to write this; even longer to decide whether I wanted to post this long after it was written because while no victim should feel that they have to stay silent, the fear of people finding out what happened and the embarrassment of it is pretty overwhelming; the fear of people finding out who know me in real life and follow me on social media is even worse.  I don't like using my blog as a platform for really personal or political issues because I prefer to keep this space light and fun but this whole Harvey Weinstein scandal brought up a lot of memories that I realized I buried for many years. 

I'm no stranger to sexual harassment; in fact, I clearly recall four times when I've been a victim - twice at work as an adult, one in my teens when a "friend" sexually assaulted me and once when I was a child.  It's the incident when I was a kid that continues to linger in the back of my mind because I was an innocent kid.  No one, especially children, should ever have to go through something like this.  I don't wish harm or misfortune on anyone but those who prey on children, women or those who are weaker than them deserve every bad thing that happens to them.  

When I was around 8 years old, I had a neighbourhood friend my sister and I played with nearly every day.  Her family had a visitor nicknamed "Acapulco Vic" - an older hippie-looking guy who didn't have much in the way of personal belongings except his guitar and a small bag.  I never knew his real/full name nor did I care to ask but I was impressed with his ability to play the guitar and his stories about his travels fascinated me.  He was friendly, funny and seemed harmless and whenever we were there, we'd all hang out with Acapulco Vic and he'd sing songs or help us make up games to play.

One afternoon, I went to my friend's house alone (sister couldn't come with me for some reason) and when I rang the bell, Acapulco Vic answered; he was the only one home.  I was about to turn and leave when he invited me in; he said he was just about to start restringing and tuning his guitar and asked if I wanted to help him/learn how to do it.  I remember hesitating while I  stood on the porch, thinking I should go home because I knew I shouldn't be alone with an adult I didn't know very well but also curious about how to string and tune that super cool guitar.  And like any kid, my curiosity got the better of me so I went inside.  

I remember the living room being dim since he didn't open the drapes but there was enough light inside for me to clearly see everything.  He could see that I really didn't know what to do in my friend's house without her so he started talking about all the places he'd travelled and asked me if I wanted to see some pictures.  When he handed them over to me, I saw that they were all photos of him naked with other naked women on a beach. I was shocked at the images. I was only an 8yr old kid who didn't know anything about the human body or sexuality; who had never seen any other person naked except my mom.  I remember being confused and scared and wondering why he was showing these things to me.  Being such a young, innocent child, I had no idea how to process or voice my confusion so I simply handed them back and stood up to leave.  Sensing my panic, Acapulco Vic quickly switched gears and pulled out his guitar, something he knew I loved.  Seeing it made me forget the photos and when he started singing, I sat down.  He motioned for me to sit closer, saying that I should get a closer look at the strings since we were going to restring and tune it. As I inched closer, he said that I should sit in front of him to get the best possible view and that I'd be able to hold his guitar in my lap. It's really hard for me to type out this next paragraph because I'm so disgusted by this memory.

When I sat in front him, he placed his guitar in my lap, started talking about the strings and pointing to the knobs on the guitar.  As I became distracted by his words and the fact that I was holding his guitar, he wrapped his arm around my waist and pressed himself up against me, continuing to whisper in my ear but by this time I was terrified.  I could feel his erection pressing against my back and I knew it was wrong; I knew what he was doing was wrong but I was so scared that I didn't know what to do and didn't know what to say so I sat there; silent and paralyzed with tears in my eyes.  It was only when his hand started moving that I jumped up and ran out of the house.  I can't recall any other memory of being in that house after that incident so I must have stopped going over there. I can't even remember if I continued playing with my friend after that because I have no recollection of hanging out with her after that day.  

Of the four times in my life that I was victimized, one of them even involved me waking up and finding someone's hands down my pants, it's this incident that has haunted the most because I was a kid;  a helpless, innocent, trusting, 8 year old little girl who was preyed upon by a vile, loathsome predator.  I thank the higher powers that be that it never went any further than it did but that has never left me.

No one knows about this; I have never said a word about what happened to me in that living room over 33 years until now.  Like the other victims, I buried it and moved on, grew up.  I didn't want to give that piece of shit power over me, I didn't want to live my life in fear so I didn't.  I moved on with my life.  I think that was the turning point in my (young) life in that I never let anyone trick or force me into something I didn't want to do.  

Now as a mother to a daughter, the fear of this happening to Kayla occupies my mind every.single.day.  How can I protect my baby from the evils of this world? how can I protect her innocence?  When I look at her sweet face, see the innocence in her eyes and hear them in her words, whenever I look at her tiny body, I can't help but feel anxious and scared.  So I do what wasn't done for me; what wasn't really done for any kid back in those days - I arm her with information and knowledge so she can learn how to protect herself when I can't.

I think of ways to tell her (in an age appropriate way) that it's inappropriate for anyone to touch her that makes her feel uncomfortable.  Anyone other than herself touching her anywhere on her body is unacceptable and I tell her exactly what to do if anyone tries.  

I never force her to hug or touch anyone, even a relative, if she doesn't want to.  

I tell her that her personal space is just that - her own personal space - and only she can allow people to enter her personal space.  No one should force her.

It's why I enrolled her in Muay Thai so she can learn how to physically defend herself and next year, I plan to enrol her in Jiu Jitsu so she knows how to defend herself standing up and on the ground.

And when she's a bit older, I'll define sexual harassment. I'll give it a name because when I was younger, no one defined it for me. No one warned me about it so I didn't know what to do when it happened. Back in those days, we didn't talk about stuff like that but I won't be making that mistake with my daughter.  Since I can't be with her 24/7, the best I can do is arm her with knowledge and the physical skills to defend herself.  

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  1. I wasn't going to comment. I was and then I wasn't and then I started crying -- that you had to experience this, that this is so prevalent, that I don't know any woman who can't say "me too", that I have the same fears for my own daughter, that it took me about the same length of time to tell anyone of a similar experience that happened to me (by a family member and repeatedly until I was about 7 years old), and so many other reasons. I hear you. And I stand with you. And #metoo.

  2. I'm so sorry this happened to you. No one, especially a kid, should ever have to go through that. But thank you for being brave enough to share.

  3. I'm so sorry that you experienced something so awful and haunting especially as a child, but I love that you never force your daughter to give anyone a hug if she doesn't want to. The workplace harassment is rampant, and hopefully with all this awareness will subside. Because it is not ok.

  4. I'm so sorry to hear this. I know it took a lot of guts to share this, and I absolutely understand why you are encouraging your daughter to know how to defend herself (as she should) It really really sucks that this happens to so many countless women in the world, but know that at the end of the day it's not your fault and something you should never be ashamed to share. Although there's so many levels of sexual harassment it is NEVER right. #metoo

  5. I am so sorry to read something like this - I don't know a single woman who can't say #metoo, and while I'm not as brave as you are to share them, I can commend you on yours. You do an amazing job with Kayla, and I hope that with your knowledge and her badassery, she will never have to experience her #metoo.

  6. The amount of bravery you have to share something like this shows you how strong of a person you have become. I am so sorry that you had to go through this. I don't know a single woman who doesn't have at least one #metoo story to share and that breaks my heart. Like you, I don't want my daughter to ever experience any of this. I don't even know how I am going to go about preparing her for this type of stuff when she is old enough to understand, but I know that I have to. You just want to protect them forever.

  7. I absolutely applaud you for sharing. These posts have been so sad and disheartening to read. I wish we would all do our part to educate everyone on what's okay and what's not okay when they're young enough to be able to stop this before it starts. It's heartbreaking to know this happens to kids, and has been happening to kids for so long.

  8. Sharing is the most difficult part because it is so painful to relive, imo, so thank you for exposing your vulnerabilities to all of the internet. You are an amazing role model to Kayla and she is lucky to have such a strong woman as a mother.

  9. Wow. What a terrible, awful, abusive piece of shit. I know sharing this was anything but easy. How we forget family vacations and birthday parties but remember things like this so vividly is totally unfair. This should never ever happen to any child- or woman or human. How lucky Kayla is to have a mom who knows what lengths she needs to go to to keep her baby safe in this messed up world.
    I hope that sad excuse for a man got bitch slapped by karma at some point in his life.
    Thank you for sharing this Kathy.

  10. I have only a hug and tears for you and a nod to your bravery.

    So many people have stories that have literally never been told to anyone for so many of these reasons. So many people had that experience as a child. You are doing so right by Kayla.

  11. It's crazy how this movement has made people voice something they've kept hidden so long... & to see you're not alone. I so appreciate you sharing your story.

  12. Thank you for your courage in sharing your story. It breaks my heart to read stories like this. I cannot imagine how painful it was to relive this horrible experience with us but thank you for your bravery. Thank you for helping create awareness. To give courage to those who have suffered silently, thinking they are alone. Or wrong. Or to blame. No one should experience abuse of any kind and having these difficult but needed conversations is how change begins. Much love to you, my friend.

  13. I'm sorry you went through such a traumatic thing that no child should EVER have to deal with. To steal a child's innocence like that is sick and twisted. Thank you for sharing and opening up.

  14. Brave is what comes to mind . . . and I'm so thankful you recognize that it wasn't your fault. I appreciate the courage this took to write and hope you feel the love far and wide. Peace to you and your family . . . you deserve it after walking through this again. Take care my friend.

  15. Holy shit, what a vile human. I am so so so sorry you had to experience something so traumatic, so painful and so horrible. I am so with you, people who pray on children should have horrible things happen to them.

    Kayla is so lucky to have someone like you looking after her and arming her with information. And ways to defend herself. I was just talking with my husband about this last night. How our child will take a martial art so they can defend themselves if needed and also know when it is appropriate to defend themselves. I admit, you've opened my eyes with the 'hugging'. I remember you posting about it before and having such an AHA moment. I never, ever thought of hugs in that way and am grateful for the way you worded everything. Something I'll have in the back of my head when we have kids.


  16. I don't even know what to say other than I'm sorry that this (and the other incidents) happened to you. No one should have to experience this at any age, much less a child. It makes me sick reading it, knowing that you, or anyone else, had to go through that. You are so brave for sharing your story, even though I know it has to have been hard to type it out, let alone hit publish because of the shame associated with it. And it's shame that YOU shouldn't have to feel because you didn't do anything wrong. I wish there was something I could say or do to make this better for you, and for all of us who have experienced our own things with this.

  17. Oh my gosh, this makes me want to vomit. I'm so horrified that you had to endure that. I'm so grateful that you were able to run away, never went back, and have known exactly how to stick up for yourself since then. Even more grateful that you are teaching Kayla how to protect herself and respect her body, etc. Thank you for sharing this, I'm sure there are a lot of moms who will benefit from you sharing how you are teaching Kayla. I'm sure this was so hard to type, and so brave of you to share. Hugs. XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things