We knew about free love in the ‘60s, but we never heard about sexual abuse of children. I’m sure it was there, in fact, if I had not been a quick thinking young girl, I might have been a victim myself.
When I was 12, I was tall and developed, and I could have passed for 16. I lived in a small town in the Catskills. One day, when I was
taking a 2 mile walk to the next town on a road with few houses and no sidewalks, a car stopped and the man driving asked if I wanted a lift. I recognized the guy as a mechanic in the garage in my town. My father was very friendly with the owner, Mr. Lungen. Although I was not friendly with his children, I knew them, and they knew me. It was a very small town.
I got in the car, and, after taking off, he suggested that we go for a ride down another road. I told him I knew who he was, which is why I got in the car, and, if he didn’t stop immediately and let me out, my father would call Mr. Lungen and have him fired. “Let Me Out!” I think he was surprised at my composure and the determination with which I spoke. He stopped. I got out.
I had a lot of common sense as a kid and was mature for my age, but lots of kids would not talk up like I did, especially to a teacher, a coach or someone they knew better.
Children who are abused are not at fault. Parents have to be held accountable, however, for not educating their children in what to do when someone is
acting inappropriately. They have to create a sense of security and support so that their children will be willing to talk to them openly. I didn’t tell my parents because I didn’t want the guy to lose his job, but I knew that I could tell my parents anything.
Every home, every religious institution, every social organization and every educational center has to address this problem. And, maybe, the press in their reports needs to address kids and guide them on how to handle such situations.
A little play acting could earn them an Emmy or two.