Molestation Magnet

Submitted into Contest #200 in response to: Write a story that includes the line “my lips are sealed.”... view prompt

39 comments

Sad Middle School Coming of Age

This story contains sensitive content

**please note story begins in 1953. Molestation and rape mentioned.**

When the first of the molestations begins, I am 7 years old. I attend St. Vincent’s Catholic School. The school is located a few miles from the now infamous Kings Cross, a part of downtown Sydney, Australia.

My molester is a 13-year-old student in Grade 6…a girl. Because I’m new at the school and think my classmates might not like me, I hide in the shadows of the building. She spots me there. She smiles at me and comes over.

“Why aren’t you playing with anyone?” She asks. She is very pretty. I would love to be pretty like that.

“Because I’m scared.”

“Of what?”

“I’m new and I’m afraid no-one will like me.”

“Well, I like you,” she says. “I’ll play with you. Would you like to come to my place after school for some biscuits and milk? Where do you live?”

“14 Hardie Street, Darlinghurst,” I reply. I can’t believe this pretty girl has invited me to play after school.

“Oh, I walk right past your place on the way home. Meet me at the school gate at 3 and I’ll walk you home so you can ask your mum. How’s that sound?”

“Great…except she’s not my mum. Mrs. Nastrom looks after me during the week while my parents work. But she won’t mind.”

Mrs. Nastrom doesn’t mind at all. She’s happy to have another hour free in her day. The girl holds my hand tightly as we walk toward the set of flats where she lives, almost where Kings Cross begins. In the short time I’ve lived in Darlinghurst, I’ve heard all sorts of bad things happen in Kings Cross, but I trust my new friend. Besides, I feel so grown up walking with her. None of my classmates have a teenage girl as a friend. I feel very special. 

Inside Flat Number 5 on the second floor, I look at a couple of pictures of the girl with her mum. Her mother is very pretty too. The girl pours me a glass of milk and puts 2 biscuits on a plate. I eat them hungrily and with my mouth full of crumbs, ask her where her mum is.

“Oh, probably doing it with a fella at the Cross,” she replies, waving a fly away from her face. I’m not sure what she means by “doing it” but I don’t pry. I want her to like me. I chug down my milk quickly so we can start playing. But first,

“I need to pee,” I tell her. “Where’s the toilet?”

She takes me down the narrow hall and realizes there’s no toilet paper on the roll. “Go pee,” she says. “I’ll bring you some paper.”

While I wait for her to return, I wonder what we’ll be playing. She’s too old for dolls. Maybe Snakes and Ladders or Ludo…my favorite games.

She comes into the tiny bathroom, passes me some tissues and begins replacing the roll on the holder. Just as I’m about to walk out, she pushes the door shut and pins me up against it. In her hand, she holds the used toilet paper cardboard roll. She lifts up her skirt, holds the roll against her privates, and begins pressing her body back and forth against me. She’s breathing hard. I’m terrified. 

“What are you doing?” I yell as I begin to sob. “Let me go!”

“Don’t you like this game?” She pants. “This is a great game.” She seems excited, and she doesn’t look pretty anymore.

“I don’t like this game! I want to go home,” I sob. “Let me out!”

I grab the door handle and try to open the door. She gets really mad and pushes me angrily through the now open door, yelling, “Go on! Go home you big crybaby. Get out!”

I can’t get away fast enough. I feel icky all over as she screams,

“Don’t you dare tell anyone about this or I’ll tell all your teachers and classmates at school. You hear me? Don’t tell anyone!”

With tears pouring down my face, I run all the way back to Mrs. Nastrom’s. When she asks me what’s wrong, I look down at my feet. All I can think is I thought the girl was my friend. I trusted her. Unlike me, that girl is lucky: she can trust me. I will say nothing. My lips are sealed. 

I am nine years old when the next molestation occurs, this time at the hands of my playmates’ father. I no longer stay with Mrs. Nastrom. My parents have bought a house in Bankstown. My father considers me old enough to look after myself until they get home from work. 

After I finish my homework, I wander down to my playmates’ home.

“They’ve just gone to the shop to buy us some bread,” their father tells me. “It’s hot outside. You can come inside to wait for them if you like?”

I trust my playmates’ father. I’ve met him before. He’s so nice and friendly, always smiling. Inside, he offers me an icy cold glass of lemonade. It’s delicious. When I’m finished drinking, he asks if I’d like to read him a story. I’m happy to show him my reading skills. 

“Here,” he pats his lap. “Come sit on my knee. That way I can see the pictures better.”

I hop onto his lap and begin reading. His hand slips beneath my sundress. I feel a bit weird but tell myself not to be silly. This is my playmates’ father, after all. I trust him. His hand caresses my thigh and finds my underwear. He slips a finger beneath the edge of my panties. I shift self-consciously. He’s making me feel icky.

“What are you doing?” I ask, suddenly scared.

“Nothing to be afraid of,” he replies. “I do this to Clara and Sara when they sit on my lap. They like it.”

That surprises me because I don’t like it. 

“I think I should go home,” I tell him, jumping off his lap. “It’s getting late.”

He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a sixpence. “Here,” he says, smiling. “Buy yourself a chocolate bar. But, be a good girl, okay, and keep what we just did a secret? Don’t tell your parents and especially, don’t tell Clara and Sara, ok?”

I want to ask him why I should keep it a secret? If he does that to Clara and Sara all the time, it must be okay, right? But I don’t ask, even when he tells me:

“If you keep that a secret, the next time you visit, I’ll give you another sixpence. Would you like that?”

As much as I’d like another sixpence, I don’t think I’ll come visit anymore. I’m not sure how I’ll explain that to my playmates, but I don’t trust their father now. He made me feel icky. However, he can trust me: I won’t tell anyone what he did. My lips are sealed.

By the time I turn 11, I’ve decided I’m a molestation magnet. That’s when the worst molestation of all occurs. This time it’s the person I trust the most, the one I trust with my life, the one I believe will protect me from all harm, the one I’m sure would kill any man who abused me in any way…except when he himself is the abuser. He is my father. 

He begins molesting me each time my mother is at work. He tells me he does it because he loves me so much. When the actual raping starts, he explains that all fathers do this to their daughters in all cultures:

“It helps the daughters when it’s time for them to marry and their husbands will appreciate it.”

When I try to argue that it doesn’t feel right, that it makes me feel icky, he addresses the adult growing inside me. He tells me to consider the good I am doing for his and mum’s marriage…how I am keeping him from cheating on her with other women.

“You understand that, right?”

No, I don’t understand. I’m not an adult. I’m a child. I don’t understand why it’s okay to cheat on mummy with me. With ME! What he’s saying makes me feel worse, not better. This goes beyond icky.

He gives me a million other reasons for why what he’s doing is okay. He drums his justifications into my head every time I question what he’s making me do with him. How is it that the one I should be able to trust the most, I now trust the least? And I can’t just up and run away like I did with that girl and my playmates’ father.

And then, of course, there’s that inevitable demand, about making sure I tell no-one about what “we are doing”. At 11 years of age, it’s “we”. I am now complicit in his crime.

 And, what will happen if I tell?

“Simple: I’ll deny it.”

What if I get pregnant?

“Maybe you have a boyfriend I don’t know about?”

What if I do tell mummy?

“She won’t believe you. She won’t believe YOU, her daughter, would do this. She’ll just say you are making this up.”

Then he inserts the final needle, the one he knows will keep me silent:

“Besides, telling your mum would hurt her and you wouldn’t want to hurt your mum now, would you.”

His response isn’t a question. It’s a factual statement. No, I wouldn’t want to hurt my mummy. My lips are sealed. Forever.

June 02, 2023 16:33

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39 comments

Michał Przywara
20:53 Jun 06, 2023

What a terribly sad history :( It's made all the more painful, where each episode starts on a cheery, hopeful note, and then is turned into an atrocious betrayal of trust. That feeling of betrayal comes across well. And that ending is crushing. The abuse is already horrible, and now she's given the idea that trying to stop it would somehow be a bad thing - that she would hurt her mother. What a terrible, cruel manipulation. It is in no way a pleasant story, but good stories don't have to be pleasant, and some stories *need* to be told. I...

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Viga Boland
14:33 Jun 07, 2023

Thanks for reading Michael. I like the way you pinpointed the transition from pleasure to pain in the first 2 instances. And yes, while this isn’t pleasant reading, neither are horror stories. Yet the latter are gobbled up by readers, while they’ll turn away from ugly realities like this. 🥺😞 Well, someone has to write the truth: it is, indeed, stranger and more horrible than fiction.

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Michelle Oliver
00:33 Jun 03, 2023

I looked for a creative non fiction tag, but didn’t find it, but it reads like the truth, so raw and painful. I cannot imagine living through this kinds of abuse with sanity intact. I am so sorry for the many, many children who have been victims of abuse, especially by trusted family members. Your story is courageous and addresses issues we all find icky and would rather not confront, however the only way to stop it is to become aware of the issues, to open the secrets. Thanks for sharing.

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Viga Boland
03:45 Jun 03, 2023

That’s why I wrote it Michelle. Situations like this are all too common and will remain “sealed” unless victims speak out from under the abuse. That’s why I finally wrote my memoir at age 65. I know it has helped others do the same. And of course this is non-fiction…just this time there’s nothing creative about it. Just the truth. Thanks for commenting Michelle.

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Delbert Griffith
21:00 Jun 02, 2023

Aghh. Creepy and terrible. My dad did the same thing to my sister. What she tells me about this (decades later) sounds like what you wrote. My sister still deals with it, although it's been fifty years since. I would never speak to my dad after that. I wouldn't even be in the same room with him or else I would have beaten him. Courageous tale, Viga. Very courageous. You're a strong woman. Cheers, my friend!

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Viga Boland
03:41 Jun 03, 2023

Your sister has a twin in me. My lips were sealed until I was 65. Hugs to her from me.

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Helen A Smith
08:42 Jun 04, 2023

Hi Viga You show abuse can come from more than one person. And then you reveal the worst betrayal of all, one that is there permanently, no matter how much a person appears to put it behind them. It is not possible to forget such memories, but you have moved forward and that takes strength and sheer determination. A daily determination to overcome. That you will not be crushed. The father was a pathetic weak and destructive man who needed help. He may not have seen himself as he really was, of course. He will have justified his actions to ...

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Viga Boland
13:27 Jun 04, 2023

Thanks for your very astute analysis of all parts of this story Helen. You have nailed the key points and identified the characteristics of the primary abuser so well. Yes, this is, in some respects, the hardest part to accept and understand i.e. the father’s weakness and justification fir his actions. It’s also explains what victims want most from their abusers and never get: an apology. That absence can be the deepest cut of all.

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Wally Schmidt
01:19 Jun 04, 2023

Oh Viga I can't stop feeling this pain for you. I am glad that all these years later you have a loving family that mean the world to you and that cherish and love you back. Be well. Live in Peace

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Viga Boland
02:30 Jun 04, 2023

I’m fine Wally. I’ve had over 60 years to put this behind me and move forward. Sure, my lips were sealed…even from my husband and children…but at their urging, I wrote my memoir and published it at 65 years of age. I’ve received thanks for writing my story from 100’s of victims worldwide. That, to my way of thinking, is something good coming from something bad. I’m way past the pain, but the memory never leaves.

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Mary Bendickson
21:46 Jun 03, 2023

So sorry this is painfully true. Thanks for being so brave, Viga.

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Viga Boland
21:50 Jun 03, 2023

Thanks for reading it, Mary.

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Paul Simpkin
06:43 Apr 17, 2024

Very powerful. I can see that you have written books about your experiences which I am sure must be helpful for those who have survived such terrible abuse.

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Viga Boland
12:36 Apr 17, 2024

You must be referring to my first published book, “No Tears for my Father” and the 2 other books in that series. Yes, that first memoir was the secret I told no-one, including my husband of 40 years and I was 65 when I finally opened up, thanks to the encouragement of my daughter. She encouraged me to tell my story to help others who can’t find their own voice to speak of sexual abuse. She was right.

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Paul Simpkin
06:36 Apr 18, 2024

Yes I have bought your first book on kindle. You should be very proud of your work. I don’t think I have ever really understood what that experience of abuse is like before.

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Viga Boland
08:11 Apr 18, 2024

Thanks ever so much Paul. I don’t know how far in you are so far, but brace yourself. I mince no words. I tell it exactly as it was and well, it ain’t pretty 🫤

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Paul Simpkin
05:55 Apr 20, 2024

Thanks. It is very honest.

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Viga Boland
14:47 Apr 20, 2024

Paul…I don’t know if you like poetry or photography, but since you’ve been so supportive by buying my book, just wanted to let you know that the ePUB (Kindle) version of my latest project, WHERE SHADOWS DANCE, is FREE for download until midnight tomorrow night. You can get it same way you purchased NTFMF from my Amazon Page. I made it Free for 5 days in the hope that I’ll pick up a couple more reviews. Marketing is everything for anyone in the arts 🙄

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Amanda Lieser
04:17 Jun 24, 2023

Hi Viga, Oh my goodness, the story is heartbreaking! You did an incredible job of tackling some really intense themes, and I think that you did the very best you could to honor the characters of journey. You balanced the brutality of her world with the deep, ethical implications. You told a story of trauma while also raising awareness to a tragic issue.

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21:54 Jun 08, 2023

This is so painful to read. I see from the comments that this is true and something you survived, so I thank you for having the courage to share your hard truths and give your perspective to readers who should be able to sit with discomfort of knowing this ugliness is in the world. I find the idea of a molestation magnet very true—the victimizers know how to find the least protected among us. I’m so sorry for your pain.

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Viga Boland
23:56 Jun 08, 2023

Thanks very much for reading this Anne and sharing your thoughts. Yes it’s all true but thanks to the love of my husband of over 50 years and my daughters, life has been good to me since. I just wish I could say the same for so many other victims. Many never come back up from under the abuse. That’s why I believe in sharing such stories. If some are offended or can’t handle reading it, that’s unfortunate, but it’s reality gor far too many.

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Susan Catucci
16:21 Jun 08, 2023

Hi Viga - this is a bold, beautiful testament to survivors of abuse. You lay out in splendid fashion what happens in the shadows that most people, I should like to think "most", never imagine could be real, could happen in real life. This story is much more than necessary; it's imperative. At least let's wake up and keep an eagle eye on our children if we ever hope to keep them whole. Not that that's a guarantee certainly but it's something. The thought that ran through my mind as I read was, how will she ever know that none of this...

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Viga Boland
00:09 Jun 09, 2023

It took me almost all week to gather up the courage to pour this one onto the page here, Susan. Ironic, isn’t it, how popular horror and crime shows, books and stories are, yet many will avoid reading something like this. But, just like my published memoir, I knew I had to write this, and reading comments like yours, along with others here, tells me I did the right thing. You are so right: writing stories like this is imperative. I can’t express how much I value what you wrote above. How eloquently you have captured my “raison d’etre” for ...

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Susan Catucci
00:28 Jun 09, 2023

A true pleasure, Viga. Sisters and brothers know who they are. The story I wrote was more of a view from the person I became, with hindsight. You, on the other hand, have written a "this is how it happens" reality check. You can't be surprised if it's not well received - and why should it be? It is, you chose the perfect word, icky. It's not like you asked for the privilege of spreading the news. We can't control what happens to us (bet you've heard this a million times) but we can control how we respond to what comes our way. O...

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Tom Skye
23:44 Jun 07, 2023

Bravo for tackling a difficult subject like that. It was a tough read, but enjoyable nonetheless. Really good job bringing in the "lips are sealed" line at the end to bring the whole thing together with a tragic predicament. Unfortunately that dilemma is probably very common. Edit: it seems from some other comments that this was not fiction. I commend your bravery

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Viga Boland
00:15 Jun 09, 2023

Yes Chris, it is, indeed, non-fiction. Thanks very much for reading and leaving your comments. Much appreciated.

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Glenda Toews
23:25 Jun 07, 2023

Oh, Viga... I'm so, so sorry.

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Viga Boland
23:42 Jun 07, 2023

Oh Glenda…don’t fret. I came to grips with this decades ago. I just never talked about it to anyone until I was 65 and my daughter convinced me to write my book. Best thing I’ve ever done for both myself and others like me. 😉

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Glenda Toews
00:02 Jun 08, 2023

the power of the written word! Keep speaking!

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Joe Smallwood
15:53 Jun 04, 2023

Hi Viga, What can I say but add my words to those of others who have commented here? This stuff never leaves, it isn't something you recover from. Reminds me of plants having to grow through and around rocks twisting their roots or trees that grow practically sideways because of high winds or to catch a piece of clear sky. Life deals us rotten cards and we make do somehow, we survive. I say we. I know of what you speak. Different of course but just as life threatening. I wrote about it in a piece that was so dark that it was not published: M...

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Viga Boland
19:35 Jun 04, 2023

Hi Joe Thanks for reading my story despite its unpleasant theme. I write a mixture of humour and creative non-fiction, so Reedsy followers never know what to expect from me. But I believe stories like this one need to be written. It’s a reality that must be faced, like it or not. Some of us need to be a voice for those who can’t or don’t dare speak for themselves. I’m sure your unpublished story, “My Stealth Assassin” would do the same for others. Why not try out the Reedsy community and see what happens? BTW, this part of your comment is ...

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Joe Smallwood
03:13 Jun 05, 2023

Hi again, Viga. Yes my story is listed with all of my twenty odd ones I have done here. I did try to get it published here on Reedsy but it was rejected. Of course they don't give you a reason. But maybe it read more as poetry, it was too dark or the catagories I chose for it did not suit it? It would be great if you read it and gave me your opinion. The abuse I suffered growing up very nearly killed me. Anyway, no obligation. It is a very intense story.

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Viga Boland
17:09 Jun 05, 2023

Hi Joe I did read your Stealth Assassin story late last night. Maybe I tackled it too late. I got completely lost! I will have to return when I have more time and am alert enough to give your writing what it deserves. A quick note on why your story might have been rejected: it doesn’t seem to capture the prompt directly. So perhaps that deterred judge.

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Joe Smallwood
21:11 Jun 06, 2023

Hey no sweat Viga. Yeah I would go with something like that. More like a poem than a short story, very dark without a "dark" tag etc. Anyway, I'm so glad I read your story. I will remember it.

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Susan Catucci
16:33 Jun 08, 2023

Hi Viga, Joe - I hope you don't mind if I crash the thread here. I was reading comments (I had to with this one because Viga's story Molestation Magnet is so compelling). I'm interested in seeing Stealth Assassin. Abuse is something I know about and struggle with, so was drawn to your exchange here. Thank you both for your candor and courage. There's a hint of my experience in "The Christmas Poem" that is part of my Reedsy writes. Bravo, Viga and bravo, Joe - great stuff going on here.

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