My Dad Believed When No One Would
He wanted me, there was no mistaking it. He didn’t say it in words but you could cut the pure desire in his eyes with a knife and still wouldn’t cut through. This was the classic case of action speaking more than words……He wanted to know ALL about me….couldn’t think straight I suppose….he would invite me to his office and talk to me about almost everything under the sun……Some I understood because I have always been wiser than my years. You see, I was only 16 and in those days, 16 was really 16 or less in exposure. It’s wasn’t like nowadays. I had just been allowed to use make up and my gosh, did I experiment? It was not unusual to see different types of “artwork” on my face. And perhaps, because I was young fresh and UNTOUCHED, the contrast was exciting to him. Did I mention that I was a PYT(Pretty Young Thing) if I may say so myself……..
I will admit I enjoyed the attention and we would spend hours talking about almost everything. I lived a pretty sheltered life and had attended an All-girls school so this was really my first experience in boy to girl advances. The only one major difference was that this was no boy….he was a MAN of 50years and my father’s friend; who also was our landlord! Someone my parents trusted! Someone whose daughter was my best friend for that season! No one could have known or guessed and I didn’t tell because I felt no one will believe me or perhaps there was nothing to tell …….yet.
His office was right between our house and his so it was easy to walk in and out. I was enjoying the attention alright but I guess I really didn’t understand what I was doing. There was no money or gift involved. It appeared there was something missing in his life that my being with him, listening to him gave him. I could see he wanted more but was perhaps too afraid to ask(I have always been very bold with a sharp mouth. On the other hand, I had a very close relationship with his daughter who would inform me of how the Dad wakes her up in the middle of the night to ask about me and what I said, how I talked, how I laughed etc. She also started getting uncomfortable and would ask me pointblank if there was anything going on and I would answer No!
Then there was this day that we went for a family visit to theirs and midway on the table, he started playing footsie with me. I thought it was very dangerous, hilarious and ridiculous but it was clear he was totally obsessed and just could not control himself any longer( hmmmm, now come to think of it, I wonder how he found my feet under the table with so many feet there style='font-variant-ligatures: normal;font-variant-caps: normal;orphans: 2; text-align:start;widows: 2;-webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;word-spacing:0px' alt="😀" draggable=false class=emoji v:shapes="_x0000_i1029">)
There was a particular day he came to our house at night and I went to open the door. I had no idea my Dad was coming behind me and neither did he. As I opened the door, he attempted to kiss me leaning forward , I stepped back immediately and saw my father. My father may have wondered what was going on that I stepped back and I am sure it would never have crossed his mind that his very good friend could be obsessed with his daughter.
My friend, his daughter informs me on one of our girls talk that her father advised her to stay away from me because I am a very, very bad girl. I couldn’t believe my ears. I was too upset for words. I stormed to his office and shouted him down. He had been preying on me as an older man and then had the temerity to bad mouth me. I asked him to tell me in what way I have been bad. I screamed and screamed and left his office and went home.
Later in the afternoon, my Dad came home for lunch and I served him as usual. Everything appeared normal or so I thought. By the time my Dad came back in the evening, I was summoned to a meeting and there I was asked what happened between me and him. Apparently, fearing that I would report him, he had called my father to tell him that I was very rude to him. When my Dad came home for lunch and I didn’t say anything, he didn’t know what to think.
So out came all the gist from the beginning. My Dad was very angry but not with me…there were insinuations that I may have been a tease or even encouraged the attention but my dear Dad would have none of that. According to my Dad, his friend was the adult in this situation and should have known better! To cap it all, my friend corroborated my story and even told about all the times her Dad would not allow her sleep just to hear about me. It was a very messy period and situation but one thing I would forever appreciate is the fact that my Dad BELIEVED ME AND STOOD BY ME. ThIs uncomfortable situation led to a series of unpleasant events for his family but launched us speedily to our own home shortly after.
My Dad’s friend later wrote him a letter of apology and I have never seen him since then. It was my first experience of obsession(many stories still remain untold). He was ready to risk it all for me? Throw it all away for a 16year old uninterested girl. I wonder what possessed him because it wasn’t me. Perhaps there was a yearning in him that craved to be sated but it wasn’t gonna happen with me. Though physicaLly, NOTHING HAPPENED, a lot had happened to my mind as an innocent 16year old. But what if anything had happened as I know it did for a lot more people.I shudder to think of what happens to the mind of those who experienced abuse at younger ages. It’s an experience I am yet to forget fast forward decades later. These are part of the past issues that still hider/hamper wholesome and healthy relationships today.
Though my Dad stood up for me on this occasion, thus write is not for only fathers. It’s for every parent who has children they are responsible for. Parenting is much more than 9months pregnancy. We owe our children our listening ear. Let’s learn to listen and believe our children because a lot of bad gets done and abuse thrives because NO ONE WILL LISTEN, NO ONE WILL BELIEVE OR I WILL GET THE BLAME.
Lastly, many atimes, we erroneously believe the abuser is someone we don’t know or a stranger but the abuser is usually a relative, cousin, spouse , sibling, friend etc someone we won’t expect or suspect. Let’s be very vigilant but most importantly, listen to our children. When we listen and believe our children, we give them the gift of boldness, courage and trust that money cannot buy.
God help us all.
God help us all.
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