Dear Ten Year Old Ruthie
I know how hard things must be for you. After what has happened to you, I can just imagine how confused and alone you must feel.
I know you think that what happened to you after that man lured you away at the plaza is a secret you must keep to fend off being judged or ridiculed but Ruthie please know its better to talk with someone you trust. There are good secrets and bad secrets. Bad secrets eat away at us. Holding on to bad secrets cause us even more harm. Please know in your heart you do not have to carry the shame of what happened to you that day. Not talking about it is holding on to a bad secret.
It wasn’t your fault. It was a crime committed against you. He tricked you and made you believe you were safe when in reality you were walking into danger. He should be ashamed, not you.
It is totally understandable why you went with him. You believed you were doing the right thing by doing as you were told. You trusted him. You did nothing wrong. You are not tainted or damaged because of what happened. He violated you and committed a crime against you. He saw what a sweet, trusting little girl you are and tricked you into thinking he would not hurt you. He was nice at first but he did not have good intentions. You needn’t be ashamed in any way.
He tricked you into this act for his own pleasure. He is not your friend. He lied to you and didn’t respect you or your feelings. He wasn’t concerned about your future nor your family.
You may tell yourself he did nothing wrong because you went along with it; he didn’t use force, but you were violated just the same, my dear. You may want to believe this is normal and ok so you can forget it even happened, but it’s not. It’s not ok that he lied to you. It’s not ok that he tricked you. You are precious and you deserve to be told the truth. Adults are supposed to care and protect children, not lie to them.
This man knew he was leading you into danger but he didn’t care. You didn’t know. No one warned you. There is no shame in not knowing.
You are a precious child and anyone who makes you doubt that is wrong. He committed a shameful act on you and he is the one who should carry the shame, not you. He is an adult who knows better and you are just a child who was tricked into it.
You may be reluctant to talk about it to anyone now because the assault made you feel dirty and shameful but not talking about it is the worst thing you can do.
I know your family fights a lot and you may not feel you can turn to them when you’re in need of them. I am so sorry your family and home feels so unpredictable and feels so unsafe for you.
It’s totally understandable that you may feel lost and alone at this point. How does a precious child find a way to preserve a sense of trust in people when her own mother betrays her? How can she feel safe in a house that sees violence as normal? How does she gain a sense of control in a situation that is terrifyingly unpredictable? How does she gain power in a situation that seems so helpless?
There IS a way Ruthie. You can gain a sense of control over yourself and you can trust some people. You are a loveable child and there are people who want love and protect you and teach you how to keep yourself safe and learn how to recognize it when someone is tricking you into doing something you feel uncomfortable doing. There are loving people out there you can trust. Not everyone is like that creepy man at the plaza.
Because this happened to you, you should talk about it to someone who can help make sense of it. I had a talk with your mother and she knows now that she failed you and she feels bad that she wasn’t there for you. She wants to apologize to you for that.
Life can be complicated and confusing but there is a way to sort through the confusion with help from people who know how. There are adults who have been through what you been through and they know how they can help you make sense of it.
There is no reason to hang your head in shame. You are a sweet wonderful person who should be very proud of who she is.
Hold your head up, my dear. I’m here if you want to talk. I don’t want you to feel so alone.
From: 62-year-old Ruth