Bear with me as my stomach is in knots writing this. I've never told my story in full.
I was 3 years old. I had just gained a new stepdad and my very own grandma and grandpa! I was so excited to have a "normal" family, though we were blended. I thought it was odd that my new grandpa always wanted kisses on the lips but I had never had a grandpa before, so I went with it. I wanted to be loved like all the other grand kids, I wanted to belong.
From mouth kisses, he started touching my behind and lingering when I would sit on his lap...which was often by his demand. Eventually, his hand would rest on my butt from under my clothing. All a secret of course. This was "bonding" and if I told anyone "the other grand kids will hate me out of jealousy" because I was "Grandpa's favorite".
I felt like I was special even though it felt wrong to me. But I had never had a father figure care about me before and now I had a whole family and I didn't want to ruin it. He told me I'd ruin everything, he put that on me. At 3.
As time went on, he started exposing himself to me. To "teach" me about boy bodies. He was an intact man and had me move his foreskin for him to see what that was like. Once he discovered that trick worked, he did it at every chance he got.
I have blocked out a lot from the years he did this to me, as it stopped when I was 6 or 7. I get sudden flashbacks at times, I'll just break down at certain triggering words and phrases. Triggers I don't know are mine until they happen.
This is my first time telling my story publicly because I'm still scared. I'm still conditioned by him to believe I'm going to ruin the family that I'm not even a part of anymore. I still believe everyone will hate me or not believe me.
It's been 20 years....and I still feel the trauma.
If someone tells their story 2 hours, 2 months, 2 years, or 20 after the assault...BELIEVE THEM.
Approximately 20 percent of girls (1 in 5) and 8 percent of boys (1 in 12.5) will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday (Pereda et al, 2009).
95 percent of sexually abused children will be abused by someone they know and trust (NAPCAN 2009).
I'm Alexis Gleason...and that's my story.