Warning: The following post contains accounts of assaults and sexual harassment. It may trigger some.
“There can be a deep loneliness that comes from not having a family that has your back. I hope you can find supportive people who show up for you.” ~Laura Mohai
Many sexual assaults and harassments have caused me extreme sadness and anger in my past.
Seven years old was the first time that I was sexually assaulted. I was at a friend’s birthday pool party. My friend’s dad put his hand down my swimsuit and grabbed my undeveloped chest, then said that once “these” grow, I’d be irresistible and a hot f*ck. It was seven when I started to remember.
After that, my stepfather bought the first pair of “sexy” underwear I ever had, when I was ten, and made me model them for him, among other things.
These were some of my earliest formative experiences. I felt the need to run from the world.
My mother was brutal and did not protect me. My stepdad was going to look after me so she knew I would hide in my closet. She just sneered and told me that I wasn’t special or that pretty. As a result, I learned from a young age that I didn’t matter, that I wasn’t going to be protected, and that I wasn’t special. This backward mentality allowed me to fall prey of other men, including a teacher.
I was sexually harassed and assaulted numerous times by a “valued” community member. Mr. S served as my high school band director in my senior and junior years. He was very rude with me as a student. He ought to be imprisoned. Yes, jail. He is not the first female to experience his advances, I’m certain.
Mr. S, as the students called him, preyed on the fact that I was very naïve and beaten down, came from a single-parent household, didn’t have much of a relationship with my father, and wanted to be a professional musician.
My senior year of high school, I had early release but didn’t have a car. Due to my mother’s work, I was often required to stay after school in order to receive my pick-up. I used to go to band halls to practice for early release. Every single day, Mr. S would hide my clarinet somewhere so I’d have to come and ask him where it was. This was his method of controlling and harassing me.
He would leave lengthy typed “love” letters and lifesavers in my case every day. He was absolutely shocking. I asked him to stop. He never did the same and I didn’t want that kind of attention. He was just trying to learn clarinet and I knew that, but he preferred to play with me.
Before he would “allow” me to take my clarinet from him and go practice, he would make me sit with him in his office. He would pull his chair up to me and sniff my hair, telling me to never change my use of Finesse shampoo, as he associated me with that “lovely” smell.
He would ask me if I read his love letters, and then he’d pester me as to why I never replied or reciprocated. I was very shy and didn’t say anything. It scared me. I felt ashamed, though I didn’t do anything wrong. I was embarrassed and knew many kids noticed that he gave me “special” attention, and I hated it.
He set the time I was allowed to leave his office. He knew I had no transportation of my own, so if I tried to leave to go to a practice room or to the library, he would tell me that I couldn’t because I still had lots of time to be with him.
Sometimes he would help me with music. It seemed that I was only there to do that. It wasn’t. I was his obsession. He was obsessed with me as I approach middle age. I hadn’t told anyone until last night that he used come to my Spanish class to pull me out and take me to places. It is impossible to know how this happened.
Mister S would inform my Spanish teacher about Drum Major duties and tell her it was urgent. She would then allow Mr. S to take me home. It was horrible.
He used to take me along with his wife to Lake Lewisville where they owned a sailboat. After he got me in the boat, he’d tell me about his plans to sail around the globe with me. Yet again, I was quiet. Fear made me feel afraid.
I would be forced to lie down with my legs together and he would put his arm around my neck. Then, he would pull me back, telling me it was not fair to refuse his affection and advances.
It makes me want a bowel movement just by typing this sentence. It’s repugnant. This behavior is unacceptable to the woman I’ve become. I was 16 years old, and didn’t have any guidance or self-esteem.
Retrospectively, I find it difficult to understand how someone who has a wife and children could be so disgusting and cross boundaries and still be creepy.
In San Antonio, All State, he took me by the hand and held my body next to his. Fear set in, I got away from him and ran to my hotel. The whole night, I cried.
I needed to be saved from his cruelty. “Can’t everyone tell he’s a creep and I’m miserable?” I would think to myself.
You are probably thinking, “Why didn’t you tell someone?” I was afraid. He brainwashed me into thinking that if I told anyone, he wouldn’t write any recommendation letters for me and no one would believe me (I know this is not true now). And he would remind me that I didn’t want to stress out my mom, who already worked a lot. I was shamed and guilt-tripped by him.
It wasn’t until college that I eventually told someone, a childhood friend who attended the same school I went to. I gave him all the letters that Mr. S had written, and he told me about them. I was furious with my friend and he threw away all of the letters. (I wish that I kept those disgusting letters to publish them.
He would phone me in college to tell me how much he misses me. He kept calling me until I gave up, even though I had told him not to call again.
Mr. S was a child predator and should not have ever taught children. Many years ago, he tried to become my Facebook friend. That was immediately blocked. It was nerve-racking. No shame, no conscience. It is tiring to be silent. His peace will not be sacrificed if he keeps this silence any longer. Can you imagine the pain he caused to so many teenagers? I’m not going to speak any more.
The above abuses and others caused my judgment to be clouded and for me to take routes that weren’t always best for me. Because I was afraid of Mr. S. and my stepfather, I declined a Baylor University full scholarship to Eastman. To escape Texas I borrowed money to cover college costs and flight expenses. This put me at risk of losing my financial security.
Too many times I’ve beaten myself up over my bad decisions and survival methods. I won’t continue to vilify myself for finding ways, good or bad, to try to be and feel safe. It was my best effort, and now I’m proud to be able to say that I survived. Both as a child, and later in life, I should have had the opportunity to be loved and protected. I didn’t get any of these things.
To all those who experienced abuse or were not protected and who weren’t valued or cherished by others, this is what you need to know. You matter. Discover your truth. Abusers will try to confuse you. You have the ability to move on with your life because you’re intelligent and courageous.
Give me kindness and love right now. This is something you are owed. These are things you should have known before. But now, they’re yours. You mustGive them to yourself. You aren’t the only one who needs to be your biggest cheerleader.
Cora is originally from Texas but now lives in CO. She enjoys writing, volunteering, hiking and spending time with animals. In her opinion, many people mistakenly assume that every parent loves and supports their child. She wants to provide hope, community and support to all those in need of the support and love they are entitled to.
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Tiny Buddha published The Truth About Mr. S.: The Sex Predator From My High School Band.