Shared Stories

To the Caregivers of the Son Who Sexually Assaulted Me in Foster Care

By Olivia Johnson 

To you.

If you’re reading this you know who you are. I don’t need to address you by name. I don’t think that is right for me to publicize your personal information like that. It would be legally and morally wrong. And NO this isn’t a letter to your son that assulted me. This is a letter to you, the caregivers

7 years has passed since that horrible night. A night that has been ingrained in my mind for the past 7 years. The night your son sexually assulted me. What happened that night is not something you can “just get over” or “pretend it didn’t happen” but god do I wish it never happened.

I have gone over that night an unbearable amount of times. Thinking about all the countless different ways I could have changed the outcome. Which sounds ridiculous because I had NO power to change the motives of your son who assulted me. It wasn’t MY fault. Although when I took him to court the defense tried to tell me it was my fault..that I was “obsessed” with him..I can count on ONE hand the amount of times I had previously BRIEFLY had any communication with him. I barely knew him!  And if was up to me he would have had NOTHING to do with my life but that changed the night HE decided to sexually assult me. Only after that night has he contaminated my mind. I am disgusted and repulsed by him. And NO (defense lawyer) this did not happen because of the clothes I chose to wear when I was 15. NO i did not “make it up” and NO my sleeping pills did not cause me to “fabricate a story”. NO my past mental health issues did not cause me to “create this story” in my mind. I am not as crazy as the defense made me out to be.

Back to you, the caregivers. You were my favorite caregivers. I loved being around you. You’d call me your “favorite girl” I was so happy when I was with you. I could truly be myself. Your house was my “home away from home”. A place I felt safe and secure. You were a funny, entertaining couple who from day one I just “clicked with”.You ate my favorite foods, and drunk my favorite drinks and you always made sure to have my favorite things in the cupboard for when I came over. I loved you guys. I am an EXTREMELY sentimental person but remember when I gave my favorite childhood toys to your granddaughter so she’d have toys to play with? Those toys meant the world to me but I was willing to give them to her because I valued you guys and wanted to make her happy.

Remember that time I heard you say “I check her nappy” (referring to your toddler granddaughter aka the daughter of your son who sexually assulted me) to “make sure he hasn’t toto(ed) with her” and when I asked what “toto(ed)” meant you replied “touched”. You were already SUSPICIOUS.

W H Y would you be even remotely shocked when I came foward and told the police that he sexually assaulted had your suspicions..what happened to me just CONFIRMED them.

Let’s say the defense was correct(they weren’t) but let’s just say I did “fabricate this story”…what exactly would my motive be? What exactly would I have been gaining?
The answer is simple.

N O T H I N G.
Doesn’t that mean anything to you? Doesn’t that make you think “oh maybe she did tell the truth”.

I gained nothing but lost so much. I lost my favorite caregivers. I lost my home away from home. I lost the people who made me laugh, the people who I could be myself around. I lost you. And more importantly I lost control. I lost my 15 year old self. I lost my sense of trust. I lost me.

Despite thinking of myself I thought of you. When I told someone what had happened I defended you and said it wasn’t your fault. I never attacked or blamed you if anything I did the opposite I defended you from day one. 7 years later I still don’t have hatred for you. I hate and dispize your son but I do not hate you. Because it wasn’t you who touched me.

Once upon a time I was your favorite girl..then that night happened and from the moment you found out I was a disgrace in your eyes as you stood by your son. You chose him over me. I know that blood is thicker than water but by you supporting him you are telling him that what he did was OK and (I hope to god this doesn’t happen again) but what if it does?  What if it’s already been done to your granddaughter…that same granddaughter you were worried about..will she end up like me and become a disgrace to you too?

For years I have wanted nothing but to talk to you, to explain to you every detail and to just have you hear me out. Because in my mind if you just listened to what happened from me directly maybe you would believe me and see the ugly, disgusting, smart, cunning monster that your son is.

I’ve spent a long time trying to understand why you made the decision to support your son. I can only speculate..maybe you know what happened to me and you know it’s true but you don’t want to believe it, maybe by you believing it it would cause too much pain maybe it’s easier for you to just pretend it didn’t happen and just pretend I was some “mentally ill foster kid that made a story up”. Writing that sentence breaks me heart because you of all people knew the type of person I was. Notice I used past tense because you have no idea of the person I’ve become.

I was a teenager when the police took him to court on my behalf. I was a teenager when I gave my testimony to the court room. I fought for myself and spoke honestly. I was articulate and when I left the court building that day do you know how I felt? Amazing! I spoke my truth while being doubted and nit picked on every tiny detail by the defense. But I stood my ground. The verdict didn’t matter to me. I knew in my heart i spoke the truth that day and I’ll forever be able to live with myself because I don’t have guilt of lying in a court room.

I fought for not only myself but also for anyone else who has been a victim of sexual assault or for anyone else that may become a victim due to your son assaulting them -past, present, future.

Although I felt amazing after the two court cases. Reality of life after a traumatic sexual assault slowly began to cause devastation on my life. But now years later I have been receiving help for it. I am starting to think of me and putting MYSELF first NOT you. I am starting to see my life again. And starting to LIVE life again. Because for the past 7 years I’ve lived in fear.

Despite being burdened by what happened that night seven years ago along with the PTSD that has come with it..I have grown and changed so much as a person. I have overcome things that I didn’t think I’d be able to cope with-but I have. I am not where I want to be but neither am I where I used to be. So much has changed but one thing that has remained the same is the painful memory of that night and the two court cases that followed. I am a work in progress. One day I hope that memory is a little less painful. One day I hope it has a little bit less power and control of my mind. One day I hope it becomes a distinct memory one that does not bring tears, greif and heart ache. Ultimately I hope one day that night means nothing to me..that him, you and your family mean nothing to me. No more pain. No more hurt. All I want to be is left with is a peaceful mind where you and your family play no part in. One day I will overcome the devastation of that horrible night.

Tonight 15/5/2017 marks seven years. Today seven years later I tell my story.

As I said in the beginning. To you, the caregivers. All these years have passed. I hope you understand the gravity of this situation. I hope you question that night and this helps put the pieces of the puzzle together. I wish you well although I believe you don’t wish the same to me. I hope you know what happened that night DID happened- whether right now you believe it or not I hope one day you see the truth. I don’t believe you directly are bad people and I don’t wish harm on you.

Although this letter isn’t written to your son. I hope he remembers that night for the rest of his life and I hope that the guilt of him lying eats away at him. He was an adult I was 15. What he did was sick, disgusting and horrible. He is a disgusting human being but he made his bed. Time for him to lay in it.

To this day i still suffer from the traumatic events that happened 7 years ago. But I am doing well, considering. I still fight for the truth of that night. I fight for my freedom from the PTSD that remains long after the assult. I fight to be heard. I fight to be taken seriously and not labeled as “mentally ill” and have my story disregarded or have my mental health used against me. I refuse to “keep quiet” in order to make others comfortable.

[To anyone who knows this family. Don’t contact them. Don’t harass or attack them. If they read this then so be it if they don’t it doesn’t matter. I wrote this because it’s what I’ve wanted to say to them. I’ve said what I wanted. It’s done]

-From Olivia, your ex foster kid.

Shared Stories

It has made me feel hatred and paranoia about men

By an Anonymous Contributor

One day, during a 6 month stint travelling around South East Asia with my long-term boyfriend, we stopped off at a beach for the day. We set up in a quiet area directly in front of some fishing boats. Whilst I was reading my book, I noticed a man leaning on one of the boats and looking at us. I tried to ignore him, but soon after I noticed that he had his penis out and he was masturbating whilst staring at me. I quickly told my boyfriend who jumped up, but the man ran away. I know that this is not a terribly horrific story, but it has made me feel hatred and paranoia about men, and I hope that the process of sharing my story will help me to overcome it.

Shared Stories

Love’s Cry

By Diane Kaufman

When I read that Gessica Notaro’s ex-boyfriend had thrown acid in her face and she might go blind, as if her being attacked might not be merely enough violence to warrant a headline, as domestic violence is so commonplace, I was galvanized to write a poem. Or put another way, the poem was galvanized to have me write it. I had been reading of women being assaulted and women being murdered by their ex-boyfriends, lovers and husbands for years. I found myself within the last six months saving articles about women being hurt and killed. All those stories of these women, all those words and images stirred wildly inside me. A chaos trying to organize itself into some kind of meaning, even if that meaning might feel like “meaninglessness,” at least now it has a shape, a container, and can be shared with self and others. This is how “Love’s Cry” entered the world. It is a poem about domestic violence that has such powerful energy. This poem is alive and its intent is to do good in the world. The sickness which is violence must be cured. It must be prevented from ever happening. I found images to go with the poem and collaborated with other artists to have it become embodied as a poem video to prevent domestic violence. I am a poet, a child psychiatrist, and a humanism in medicine awardee. As a child I was molested. I grew up afraid. Of all that I have ever done, I am most proud of Love’s Cry. Please help Love’s Cry be heard around the world.


Shared Stories

I am not a test, I am a human who deserves respect. Do not make me feel guilty.

By Andy 

My body was paralyzed and it seemed like an eternity before I was able to move again. The rush of adrenaline circulated my body and I was alerted by what was going on. The wetness of his lips moved its way down from my lips to my neck as I attempted to move him away from me. I attempted to run, but the strong grip he had around my arm pulled me back to where I was as I faced yet again the sloppy unwanted kiss. I felt his hand around my waist as his cynical smile gleams down upon me as I repeat the words “stop, no, please” over and over again. His hand began to slowly move up from my waist to the inside of my under bra where he attempted to grab my breasts. I pushed his hand away and yet again, another faint whimper as his fingernails dig into my breast, leaving a mark of displeasure. Tears began to swallow up the image of his face. I push him off, only to have myself get pushed to back onto the wall behind me. Where was everybody, in a school of 1800 and not one came along to try to help me?I gather all my strength as I give my final push and run to the staircase. I run down to the first floor, in hopes that he had not seen where I ran off to. I drop to my knees and begin to cry, I didn’t want to look at anyone for the next 3 days, I thought if I made eye contact with someone they would realize what had happened.
I didn’t speak to no one. Days later, I decided to tell my transgender group counselor about it. I was rushed to the dean, who then later called the superintendent who then called my parents. “Did you want to do it? Was he your boyfriend? Are you sure you didn’t ask?”, they all kept saying. I was given a restraining order, but what use of it is it if every time I walked out of school he was standing there looking at me? I called my detective but all I got was, “If he doesn’t make contact, we can’t do anything.” My guidance counselor said that this was bound to happen to him. Do I look like a test monkey to you?
The system is broken, I was not granted safety in my school and to make matter worse, this case was not accounted for. I lived under the shadow of their abuser and forced to live with the memory of that night where their dignity was ripped away from them. Constantly crying in the shower and having nightmares of that day. Everyone deserves to be safe, no one should be a product of abuse. I am not a test, I am a human who deserves respect. Do not make me feel guilty.

Shared Stories

He had assaulted me physically. He had assaulted me emotionally.

By an Anonymous Contributor

He wrapped his arm around my neck, held me close and put his ear very near to my right ear. He was drunk, married with one child and 20 years older than me, and most of all, I didn’t like it at all. It was so disgusting that I hated my guy friend in front of me who wouldn’t do or say anything.

I hated myself to let something like this happen to me again. After all that had happen to me in the past? How can I let someone do this to me again? Why am I so stupid and hopeless?

I couldn’t forgive myself. I told my sister about it. I doubted myself because the unpleasant gesture wasn’t dramatic. She said, “Big or small. You didn’t like it. Then it’s sexual harassment. And, it’s not your fault. He is the asshole. He is to blame. You? Not even a little bit.”

Yeah. She was right. It’s not my fault. He had assaulted me physically. He had assaulted me emotionally. His repression made me believe it was my fault when it wasn’t.

Today, I found a new group chat. There were 5 people in it. I opened it and he was asking me how I was and where I was, three years after the incident. He called me a few days later after the incident then as if nothing had happened and he was in a good mood. I hung up right away and we never spoke. At present day, drunk again, he complained about this divorced life and how the dating app wouldn’t let him sign up because he was too old. I quickly got out of that group chat.