I ask because of a personal experience that occurred almost 40 years ago. This is the first time I’ve ever mentioned it in any way. I was 6 or 7 years old, and my best friend was 4 or 5.
Our neighbors were close-knit.
We all felt like family. As kids, we loved hanging out with the adults, too, sometimes. One man, who always gave us kids his time, lived nearby. He’d let us help him garden and set traps for the moles. He’d create woodwork items for us. He taught us how to bird watch, and he’d be our guide as we hiked in the forest behind the houses of the neighborhood. He was a friend. This neighbor and friend had so much good in him, and he and his wife were a fundamental block of our neighborhood family.
Yet there was this one time…
My friend and I knocked on his door as we often did, wanting to know if he “wanted to play”.
When he answered the door, he was standing there with only a towel wrapped around his waist. We honestly thought nothing odd about it. I’m sure we assumed that he would go change and we’d be off doing something fun. His wife was not home.
We followed him to the bathroom where he proceeded to brush his teeth, getting ready for the day. We chatted away, as always. Then, I needed to use the toilet. He said, “Go ahead.”
I suddenly felt awkward. I had assumed he would step out for a minute, but he didn’t. My friend then said, “I have to go too. My sisters always see me pee.” She proceeded to pull down her underwear and use the toilet.
Soon, teeth brushing was finished. Time for him to get dressed, or so we thought. He went into his bedroom and lay down on the bed. I followed my friend in after him. I didn’t understand why he wasn’t getting dressed. Then, his towel slipped open, and all was there to see. My younger friend whispered, “You can see his peepee!”
I don’t recall any more of that event. I have no memory of leaving the bedroom or leaving the house.
I feel quite positive that he had to have known he was exposing himself to us. How could he not, if only for a draft of cool air?
Nothing else ever happened. Nothing was said. Just nothing.
As a child, I didn’t think any more of it either. It was only as an adult that when I thought back I wondered…what the hell?
If I had a daughter who entered a grown man’s house…and that man was wearing only a towel…and that man said it was okay for us to to pull down our panties to use the toilet in front of him…and then had lain on a bed, exposing himself to her in his bedroom…I’d be a pissed off mutha!
So, again I ask:
Is there a minimal amount of sexual indecency with a child that isn’t a big deal?
When attempting research of statistics, it’s almost impossible to dissect. Where does sexual exposure fit into the mix? Is it considered abuse?
Actually, it is.
Sexual abuse is defined as: Any sexual activity between adults and minors…when one forces it on the other. This includes sexual touching and non-touching acts like exhibitionism, exposure to pornography, photography of a child for sexual gratification, solicitation of a child for prostitution, voyeurism and communication in a sexual way by phone, Internet or face-to-face. It is a crime punishable by law that must be reported.
Should I have spoken up as a child?
Yes, I should have said something. But at the same time, I’m not sure I would have been believed…or if I were, that it would’ve been brushed off as an “oops”. This was a beloved man of our neighborhood clan.
Luckily, nothing ever happened again. I can only assume that it was an isolated instance. Not even my best friend has ever said anything; and with her being only 4 or 5 at the time, she may not have any recollection.
Without bringing politics into the conversation, I do want to point out the actions of Joe Biden…for all to see. He touches the faces, hair, and shoulders of little girls. Often you can see the uncomfortableness of the child. He wraps his left hand around their waists…and lays his hand gently on their bellies. He kisses or attempts kissing, as well. We know all this to be true; we have video evidence…which includes the young girls pulling away. Yet, as far as we know, not one adult in that setting has ever said that it wasn’t okay. Not even Jill Biden herself.
So, if with video evidence, no one protects those children, where does that leave the rest of us behind closed doors?
Shouldn’t any sexual indecency with a child be a big deal?
Copyright © 2020 Alicia Rust. All rights reserved.