[WARNING: The subject matter of this article may not be appropriate for children to read.]

When my mother was a child, she was manipulated and sexually abused multiple times by two different men, one whom she highly respected. Like so many children, she did not tell anyone about the incidents until several years later. She attempted to block the memories from her mind, as if they never occurred. To this day she is convinced that one reason she recalls so little about her childhood is because for years, beginning early on, she suppressed her memories.

When my first cousin was growing up, she was sexually molested numerous times. From what I understand, she was the target of a man whom she trusted from the time she was a toddler until she was a teenager. No one will ever know how deep her emotional scars were, or the extent to which her perpetrator’s acts warped her mind. What I do know is that she died of an apparent suicide (drug overdose) years later.

When I was about the same age as my youngest child (7), I recall a respected leader in a local church asking me to accompany him to a small restroom in the back of the church building. I do not recall why he said he wanted me to go with him, but I did not feel any need to doubt that he had a good reason. Sadly, once in the restroom, he locked the door with a high-reaching latch, lowered his pants, and asked me if I thought there was something wrong with his private parts. I said “no,” immediately stood next to the door, and waited for him to let me out. Before leaving, he looked at me and said, “Don’t tell anyone about this.”

For about three years, I never said a word to anyone about this incident. I don’t know why. I do not remember being scared after it happened. I do not recall continually thinking about it. I suppose I suppressed the “very awkward memory” somewhat like my mother had done years earlier with her much more painful memories. One night while on vacation, during a conversation with one of my older brothers about the man in question, I mentioned the incident. My brother immediately took me to our parents. What I eventually learned was that my brother had been a target of this same homosexual pedophile on three different occasions.

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