I was Sexually Assaulted at 12…and I am Not Sorry

1973; Wearing My New Red Body Suit

First, the disclaimer. This post is in NO WAY an expression of approval for what happened to me. That should never happen to any 12 year old. It should not happen to any person of any age.

Lynn Lake, Manitoba. 1973.

I am 12. It is a hot summer day in Northern Manitoba. School is out and the sun is shining. Life is good. A bunch of kids are getting together at a local boy’s home. His parents both work and the house is ‘free’.

We think we are cool. We are smoking cigarettes and giggling.

Then, a ‘friend’ (quotations will be obvious in a moment) calls me into one of the bedrooms.

I enter the doorway and am immediately enveloped by 6 boys, ages 14-18.

5 boys hold me down…face up, arms open to the side, legs hanging over the bed, while 1 boy (a man, technically) lays his body over me…pinning my legs.

I can still see his face. I can still smell his breath.

I am wearing a red body suit my mom had bought for me. I loved it. It had a long zipper – with peace sign pull … and was super soft and cuddly.

His eyes are mere inches from mine as he lay on top of me and I lay pinned to the bed. He begins to unzip the body suit. He has a wicked smile on his face.

I struggle. I try to move. I am immobile, incapable of making any movement with 6 boys holding me down.

He opens my top…he opens my bra…he ‘feels’ around … my developing breasts that had not been touched by anyone…and he makes lewd, strange faces as he does so…

I start crying.

One boy, finally, said ‘Stop’.

Moments later, they stop.

I run out of the room…collect myself … and make my way home.

I never told anyone about that experience. Not until I was 40 years old.

Why I am I ‘not sorry’, you ask?

I am not sorry because I have nothing to be sorry for. I did nothing wrong. I was a young girl who wanted to be cool and hang out with the cool people … and some of those cool people took advantage of me.

Just because I knew that my mother would not approve, just because I knew that smoking at 12 was bad, just because I had been raised to make better choices….I am not sorry this happened to me.

If something like this has happened to you… DON’T BE SORRY. You have nothing to be sorry for. I hope you do what I tried to do.

Use that experience as a learning experience. Use it as fuel to help other people who might also have been victimized. Use it, as I have, to fully appreciate the amazing people that will come into your life who would never, ever, do anything like that to you. Maybe you would never have noticed those people had you not experienced something so horrific.

So…I am not sorry. I wish it had not happened. I wish I had listened to my mom and not been somewhere I should not have been. I wish ‘my friend’ had been someone different than I thought she was.

But…it happened. And I am not sorry. I am going to use that experience to fuel my empathy and compassion for people I meet who wish they had decided something different at some point in time, who might be feeling some shame for something that happened TO them…

I am not sorry. And I hope you are not sorry too.

#notsorry #choosepositive #chooselife

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! A TEDx Speaker, Author, and Organizational consultant, Deri works with organizations who want to create happy and healthy workplaces for increased positivity, productivity and prosperity! 

8 Replies to “I was Sexually Assaulted at 12…and I am Not Sorry”

  1. Wow, Deri! I have always admired you, but now more than ever for having the courage to disclose this very personal experience of sexual assault. May you inspire others with your story and your call for empathy and compassion.

  2. Deri,
    Thank you for sharing, this was a very powerful and brave story to write. Very impactful and makes you realize how fast abuse can happen, and how hard it is to protect our children from harm.

  3. I AM NOT SORRY!!!! How totally perfect that this post came out on this particular day. I saw the E-mail at lunch and read the first little bit. I had to table it until later as it was 1:00 and I was sitting in the waiting room of Wascana Rehabilitation Center waiting on the next therapist to come and do the third in a series of assessments. At the end of our session she said to me how glad she was that I was there. She explained that she could see my passion for what I do in my job. She was glad that she could help rebuild me and have me tell her what part of the building makes the program difficult for patients to get there. So – I am not sorry someone ran a stop sign and caused my accident. I AM NOT SORRY – that I developed pneumonia which put me out of commission for a month. I am not sorry that together these things put me into a vicious cycle for 7 months so that today I am here at Wascana a full month earlier than my projected entry date so I can be ready for the new school year. I am in a fortunate situation in that although the therapist wants me to stop before I collapse I want her to see the mechanics of what happens when I collapse. I am articulate enough to explain what is happening to me. Each therapist had explained that they can do their job better if I tell them everything I am feeling when I feel it. They have to know what is working and what is not. Even as the therapist wanted me to stop I told her she needed to see what my employer hid from her when she came to assess the job back in May. It is fortuitous that I who am NOT known to fall on my mouth should be here in this program. It is such a blessing to me that this post came out exactly today so I that am fortunate enough to listen to the therapists with a newly opened mind and understanding to make me be more willing to listen to their teaching and accept what this program can do for me. I had the thrilling experience to meet one of the staff in the cafeteria today and truly appreciate her positive words about the program because I saw this post on today of all days!! Thank you Deri for your gift to me today so that I may be fortunate enough one day to be a catalyst on someone else’s journey.


  4. Oh My Goodness I completely forgot that the biggest blessing of this post has opened my heart to my years of sexual abuse and view them in a new light. My opened heart has created in me new eyes to see what I can be to someone else on their journey. Thank You Deri for opening my heart. Thank you for new eyes to see a brighter future.


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