The Compass Wednesday, Decembers, 1992 3
In this issue of The Compass an ECSU student tells how she
stmggled and eventually came to terms with the trauma of being
rap^ by her father when she was 12 years old. Such attacks on chil
dren are tragically on the rise in our nation, and they are getting
worse. No facet of our society is free from this ugly secret. Adult
victims include people in all walks of life, doctors, teachers, construc
tion workers, librarians and celebrities, including a former Miss
This year a group of New England residents appeared on a na
tional TV program to reveal that as children they had been sexually
abused by a Catholic priest. What's especially tragic about this case is
the young victims never told their parents what had happened: many
of them, like the ECSU student attacked by her father, believed they
were somehow in the wrong. In cases like these, adult family mem
bers and religious leaders are usually all-p)oweriFul and even God-like
to children, and the children are silent victims with no frame of refer
ence for a defense.
Closer to home is the Edendon "Little Rascals" case. Without
commenting on the guilt or innocence of the individuals charged, we
would like to point out many well-meaning individuals not only
refuse to face up to this ugly problem in our society, they display a
tendency to blame the victims, to refuse to believe their testimony, to
cry "witch hunt," when the brutal crimes of those who prey on dul-
dren are brought to light.
This kind of attitude only allows pedophiles to operate with
impunity. In case after tragic case, adults who could have helped put a
stop to the abuse, didn't—often out of a stubborn and blind inability
to admit that the offenders were guilty of such henious behavior.
We urge any ECSU student who has been sexually abused as a
child to get counselling, "to let the pain out," as the student writer
And protect your own children from this kind of abuse by being
vigilant and careful; never leave your child alone with any individual
whom you do not know and trust.
Possible signs of child abuse include: imexplained tantrums,
bedwetting, nightmares, and withdrawing from people. If yoi^ child
ever displays any of these signs, see a skilled therapist immediately.
The physical damage of sexual abuse can heal in days or weeks,
but the emotional scars can last a lifetime.
hy Mm1-S St'vi
Counselling The Key
to surviving the pain
of past sexual assault
Elizatjeth City State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate degrees.
Twenty-two hundred copies of this publication were printed at 45 cents per copy.
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Mark Morris, Jody Riddick, Yolande Silver, Rodney Stallings, Pamela
The Compass is published by Elizabeth City State Unwersity under the direction of^e
Department of Language, Literature and Communication, Dr. Linda Rorence Callahan, chai,
^ Mr. Stephen March, faculty advisor. . .. crci i Onv
The Compass welcomes letters to the editor. Letters should be «nt to ECSU 81^
Elizabeth City, NC 27909. All letters must be signed and include the wnter's address aM
telephone number. They may be edited for length, clarity, and taste, as well as accuracy and
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(ECSU studenf s name withheld
The main event in the shaping of who
I am happened when I was twelve years
old. After my parents got divorced, I
dedded to live withmyfattterand brother.
My older two sisters stayed with our
mother. I had been living vdth my father
for about six months when one night I
was awakened by a sharp pain, and I
realized there was a man on top of me.
I tried screaming, but he had his hand
over my mouth. I kicked, punched,
scratched—anything I could think of to
get him off of me, but he was too strong.
He finished what he was doing, got up
and went into the kitchen. I ran into my
dad's room to tell him what had hap
pened, but he wasn't there; he was in the
kitchen. He was the only person in the
That's when I realized my father had
I called my mom the next day and went
to live with her. My father told me that if
I told her what had happened, she would
be mad at me, so I just said that I changed
my mind and wanted to live with her.
I was sixteen before I told anyone what
had happened, because I thought I was
the one who was in the wn-ong. I had
problems with my boyfriend b^use I
didn't want to ha ve sex with him. I thought
that it would be like what had happened
with my father, and I didn't want that to
happen again. I refused to have sex with
him, and I also refused to talk to him
about it. He broke up vdth me because I
wouldn't talk to him about why I didn't
want to have sex. I finally broke down
and told him everything. He assured me
thatit wasn'tsupposed to have happened
and that when I was ready, it would not
be like that. He told me that it wasn't my
fault, and my father should be punished
for what he did, so I pressed charges
I started counselling a few days after
pressing charges. I saw the doctor twice a
week for two years. My father was ar
rested and stayed in jail for eight weeks
before I decid^ to drop charges. Instead
of sending him to prison, I settled for a
restraining order. He could not come near
me, my older sisters, or any girl under the
age of seventeen.
stated that he could not come near me, or
have any contact with me whatsoever
until I was twenty-oneyearsold. I haven't
seen him since that day in court.
This event and its aftermath has obvi
ously changed my life. What my father
did changed it in a bad way; it could even
have been fatal if I hadn't gotten counsel
ling. Before counselling, I had been inse
cure, shallow, and hardly had any mor
als. Now I am happy. I have my self-
respect back, and I don't get depressed as
often about it. I still think atx)ut the whole
painful ordeal every now and then, but
not as much as a few years ago.
I still don't like for any man to touch
me, except for my boyfriend of five years,
but I don't get hyp>er anymore if a man
accidentally bumps into me. Therestrain-
ing order has run out, but I haven't seen
my father in four years. I do believe that
I could stand another four. He was al
ways proclaimed his innocence; even to
this day he will teU him that it didn't
I haven't forgiven him, and I most defi
nitely haven't forgotten. It is hard to for
give someone who says that he hasn't
done anything to be forgiven for.
I would like to stress the importance of
cour\selling in helping me cope with the
pain and trauma of my experience. If I
hadn't gotten coutKelUng, I would not
have bem able to evolve into the emo
tionally stable person I am today.
If you are, or have been sexually at
tack^ or abused—by your father, date,
or even a stranger—get counselling. The
pain needs to be let out.