My Own Childhood Abduction and Sexual Incident

[Note: I also describe this incident at the end of this video.]

Back in 1966, when I was four years old, a seven year old named Freddie took me into the woods. My mother had just started permitting me out of my yard without her if I was accompanied by a neighborhood kid older than me. He walked me into a deep dirt pit, had me (somehow) take off all my clothes, and then he climbed out and up an adjoining tree with my clothes. He stared down at me for over an hour.Eventually, a neighborhood posse fanned out and a seven year old girl found me naked in the pit.

The next day, Freddie was grounded and I was outside playing again with a big lesson learned, more street smart than before. The other neighborhood kids watched over me more, so my bonds with them increased.

I’m soooo glad I didn’t have one of today’s Palo Alto parents back then. Instead of being imprisoned in my house or shuttled around in a furlough program to various activities, I was able to enjoy my neighborhood even more than before.

Seriously. Not all negative experiences are bad for a kid.

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2 Responses to My Own Childhood Abduction and Sexual Incident

  1. Lori says:

    I had something similar happen to me. I was about 5, and my cousin was about 10. We always used to go to his family’s house for Christmas Eve. The one time, he took me into his room (where he sometimes let me play with his cool Star Wars and Lego toys) and we both sat cross-legged on the floor facing each other. He told me to close my eyes and put my hand out and he would give me a big surprise. Of course, he put his penis in my hand. I was totally grossed out and ran out of the room. Then I told my mom, possibly after we got home. She spoke to his mom and it never happened again. While technically this counts as sexual abuse, it was really minor and nothing ever came of it. Except perhaps that I learned to trust my mom to listen to me, believe me, and act on my concerns.

    Another time, when I was older (about 8) and we lived in a neighbourhood where all the kids played together outside all the time. This one teenager had invited a bunch of us over to his place (nothing unusual about that), but then he took the littlest boy and girl into his room, took off their clothes and had them lie together as if they were having sex (they were 3 or 4) and then had us all come to see them “having sex”. I was ticked off and went to tell my mom. My mom went over there and read him the riot act, and I don’t think he ever did that again. I don’t think she actually told his mom at the time – they were extremely conservative Christians – but I think she threatened to tell her if she ever heard of him doing anything like that again.

  2. Lori says:

    This particular piece has touched me deeply and I felt a need to respond.

    Thank you, Mike, for opening an important door.

    I am a survivor of sexual abuse. My children are not aware of this — but are aware, sadly, of “good people / bad people / good touch / bad touch / who to trust / who not to trust”. I think this is an important lesson all children need to be taught at appropriate stages of their lives. We cannot count on only our schools or churches — we, as Parents must recognize the dangers and risks. And, it is not only adults. Curious, ill informed children can inflict “innocent” trauma — that both they and their victims must then live with.

    My children’s father and I made a commitment to our children — and through every emotional, financial, and constructional headache — we found, what we feel is, a safe, nurturing neighborhood. Yes, I think it sad to shuttle our children to and from activities – but my Children go nowhere outside my neighborhood unless I have met the parents, have the phone numbers, the address and am aware of planned activities. Not everyone has the same morals and values.

    My children do not own cell phones, but we have a family cell phone. When the children go out in the neighborhood — to the lake, the barn, handball court, ride bikes, etc., they must take the cell phone. I trust my children. I do not trust the unknown. My children understand this.

    I am not sure if the world has become more unsafe or that we just hear more about it.

    Children need less time on video games, TV, COMPUTERS (yes, much needed for school these days — but need to be monitored closely, I have blocks on mine and installed programs to filter out anyone trying to get in (I have a 13 year old), cell phones and the such. More time on bikes, ball games, camping, swimming, skiing, sledding, baking cookies, hiking, music, pets, silly / crazy stuff — makes — us all fell young again!

    Teach your children well. They are so precious to all of us.

    Thank you.