Abused 11-year-old writes about her story
The following letter was written by an 11-year-old girl currently receiving long-term counseling at the women’s center. She wanted to tell her story so that other children who are keeping the terrible secret of sexual abuse would know that they aren’t alone and find the courage to seek help.
“Dear United States Person who Protects Children,
“I am looking for someone who protects children from people who do really bad things to them. I have a father who did really bad things to me. I go to counseling, where I talk about what my father did to me. Sometimes I feel better talking and sometimes I don’t, because I was told by my father if I did, something bad was going to happen to me. I think it took a lot of courage to tell because I was so very afraid.
“I did an essay contest about human rights. In doing this essay I felt like I had so many more rights and now living in South Lake Tahoe made me feel so much better and safer, but I still have many fears. I want help! I want to help others too. I want to help other children who are going through the same thing and are afraid to tell. I saw on television to tell if someone is doing something bad to you – to tell a parent, a teacher or your school counselor. If a child like one of my friends told me that a parent was doing something bad to them, that they weren’t supposed to do, I would say what happened was never their fault. Then I would ask them if they ever told anyone other than me. If they did, I would say that was the right thing to do. If they didn’t, I would say that they should, because someone can help them so that it doesn’t ever happen again.
“I want to feel safe in my life, someone to protect me, and never have my father do weird things in front of me and to me again. I am now 11 years old, and even at any age a father should not do this to his daughter. God did not want any of this to happen and so I pray and pray for hope that someone will listen. Earlier in this letter I told you about how I wanted to help other children and what I would do and say if a friend told me a parent or someone was doing something bad to them. What I want to know is – if you do tell, is someone really going to stop this from happening again? This is why I wrote this letter to you so that you could help me.”
To learn more about child abuse, contact the Women’s Center at (530) 544-2118. The 24-hour crisis line number is (530) 544-4444.
The South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center is at 2941 Lake Tahoe Blvd. The building was acquired in 1999 with a 3 percent low-cost loan through the Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC), funds raised locally and a grant from the Sierra Health Foundation, an independent foundation committed to supporting health-related activities in Northern California. The RCAC recently approved a one-year extension on the remaining loan amount of $365,000.
— Jennifer Lawrence is the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program Coordinator at the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center.
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