“Stop crying. Stop crying. Stop crying.”
Frustration, embarrassment, anger. Three words to describe sexual abuse. But what kind? Does it matter? Should it matter? Yes, it sure does matter. There is such a stigma surrounding rape survivor stories, and while very inspirational and brave, there’s another type of sexual abuse being left out of common conversation and media – molestation.
The book The Perks of Being a Wallflower has earned world popularity since its 1999 publication. Even more now, since its 2012 movie release date, it has been widely talked about on various social media platforms and in everyday conversation. The main character, 15 year old Charlie, had been molested by his aunt as a child, as we discover in a twist toward the end of book and film. This twist shocked most of us and also left room for plenty of discussion, but I’m not sure it’s something we’ve all discussed enough.
There is so much anger we see in Charlie throughout the film, and we don’t really understand the reasoning. We see flashbacks to one event that took place when his aunt was still alive, and we even see that scene where he’s talking to his sister and says maybe he “wanted” their aunt to die in that car crash. Charlie was so confused about the entire situation, but he knew one thing for sure- something happened. That’s all you need to know. If nothing happened, you wouldn’t remember that one thing like Charlie remembering his Aunt promising him a “present” as she slid her hand down his leg. We get bits and pieces like this throughout the film, but we don’t know what happened until Charlie finally remembers.
It’s hard to make a post on a social media site or a message board saying, “but what about molestation” without sounding insensitive about other types of abuse, but I’m saying it here. WHAT ABOUT MOLESTATION? It happens all too often, and many times, thankfully, there’s someone there to stop it, but sometimes there isn’t. Saying, “Oh, it just happened once”, “they just touched me, our clothes stayed on”, or even “I love them and they love me, isn’t this okay?” It’s not okay if it feels wrong. Many children are targets of this type of abuse, but they have so much happiness, and they are so trusting that menacing adults take advantage. Molestation goes undetected for so long, and a child is brought up in that environment thinking it’s okay, it’s normal for them. Then comes the guilt and confusion, not just from the children but from the parents. These people they trusted are monsters. The parents will say, “but they weren’t monsters a year ago!” Yes, they were. If someone molests you or someone you know, there is something mentally wrong with them. They need help. Even if they’re a family member, no matter how hard it is, GET THEM HELP.
Molestation doesn’t just happen in family homes, it can happen anywhere. It’s never okay, and it’s never your fault. If you’ve been molested, that’s just as serious as being raped or being assaulted in any other way. Please don’t let anyone tell you differently.
There are people who can help. If you or anyone you know has been molested or sexually assaulted in any way please contact 1-800-656-HOPE