by Gabe Berman – the author of Live Like a Fruit Fly

Archive for the category “sexual abuse”

A Letter To The Pedophile Next Door

(This blog post was written by bestselling author Rachel Thompson)

Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it? That’s what it is to be a slave ~ Roy Batty, Blade Runner

When my very good friend, author Gabe Berman, suggested I write this letter a while ago, I shrunk away and said no, not gonna happen.

But with my upcoming release, Broken Pieces, where I lay my soul bare to readers, I decided: it’s finally time.


I was eleven. Still a child. I collected Raggedy Ann dolls, loved gymnastics, and had just started to love writing.

I was eleven when you, the next-door neighbor to the left, extremely tall (at least six foot six) and big (over two-hundred something), set your sights on me.

After the first time, my world imploded. Everything I knew to be right about grownups as good and true traveled through my tainted blood, immediately making me feel like I didn’t belong in a sane, normal world where people ate, drank, and slept. Where adults were either my teachers or parents, not men who invaded my body.

The cycle of becoming an adult quickly sped up; without my permission, I was no longer a child. My life of innocence and trust ended, without any action on my part.
You gave the neighborhood kids scooter rides. It was fun. The parents figured their kids were safe since you were a responsible adult. Nobody else took that time with us. Parents mostly just wanted us out of their hair.

You took me to a secluded wooded area. You had a gun. I was eleven.

I told nobody, but I couldn’t get through the day without crying, obsessed with the fear you would get to me again.

Which you did. Two or three more times.

I remember holding my then one-year-old baby sister, in my Raggedy Ann pajamas, and thinking I’d do anything to protect her from this shaming experience. I was not only a slave to fear, but to my every day existence.

I wanted nothing more than to roll into a tiny ball and hide under my bed. I would have done anything. Except tell. Because you had a gun. You were in the army. I knew you knew how to use it.

Eventually, it all came out. As one of the older children you molested, I could give a voice to what you did. There were trials. Yes, plural: a civil trial and then a military trial. It was as difficult as you would imagine it to be.

I remember what I wore the day the military car showed up in front of our house: black, boatneck, happy stripes. I was terrified, as if I had done something wrong. My life became too much of the unfamiliar. I remember having to sit in a courtroom and swear to tell the truth on a bible, just like on TV. I remember going with my grandmother. My parents didn’t want to hear.

I told a room full of adults how and what and where and when. They wanted to hear in great detail what you did. To me. To those tiny little girls.

You got a few years in jail. You were court-martialed and lost your pension. Your wife descended into mental illness. Your kids and I avoided being in the same areas at school, knowing we had this unspeakable secret people just couldn’t comprehend. That we, none of us, could comprehend. We were now bonded in a way that made no sense, members of a club nobody wants to ever be a part of.

I still felt ashamed.

My folks did the best they could. To this day, we don’t talk about it. My mom has asked me exactly what happened but I don’t see the need to go into the sordid details of your actions. I’ve been in therapy for a while and my shrink is very pragmatic – will it help to discuss the specifics? No. So, we don’t.
We do discuss the far-reaching affects the experience has had on me. It was only when my daughter was born thirteen years ago and I had to leave her with a sitter on my return to work that my world imploded – again. Though I couldn’t verbalize it, I was terrified of leaving her alone.

Because of what you did; not just to me but to those precious, tiny little girls. Girls not much older than my own baby sister.

I do talk about the fact that it happened, not only because you’ve made it part of who I am now, but also because it can happen to anybody’s children. Sure, times are different now and parents are more protective, yet we hear my story every day.

I don’t live in fear, but I am very cautious about the people who are around my kids. Just one of your many gifts to me.

You died when I was in my late twenties. When my mom told me, I felt nothing. No happiness, no fear, nothing. Perhaps thankful, that you were finally gone from this earth and could never hurt another child.

Thankful you were now, simply, just…dust.

(This blog post was written by bestselling author Rachel Thompson)

Buy Rachel’s book Broken Pieces


Post Navigation