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!