I just read an incredibly moving article, The Living Nightmare, Sports Sunday, N.Y. Times Feb 12 2012:
Quanitta Underwood, is a U.S.A. Olympic hopeful and a surviver of years of sexual abuse at the hands of her father Azzad Underwood. Her older sister Hazzauna had been sexually abused as well. The nitemare had started when Hazzauna was a little girl and continued until she was 15, her younger sister Quanitta was 13. That's when they bravely contacted their mother, who was divorced many years from Azzad and told their truths.
Incest and sexual abuse comes with awful side affect that don't go away anytime soon. Quanitta described feeling dirty, vulnerable, like someone could look right through her. Quanitta, floundered in H.S., and turned to drugs, became depressed and contemplated suicide. Quanitta was suffering from Post traumatic stress syndrome which contained a multitude of life altering memories and experiences of violation of her body, mind and being.
It was a miracle, divine intervention, that she turned to boxing. Her web site, "Living Out the Dream" chronicled the beginning of her healing and sharing bits and pieces of her story. It also was the space for her to dream about "being somebody" "starting over." "The dream carried me through a lot of days."
She has become a surviver and thriver and a role model for all girls that have been unmercifully raped.
This resiliency, the capacity to rise above, was chronicled in my book, What Do You Expect? She's A Teenager!. I called her Angel, 13, who found me on the Internet and shared that her Uncle violently raped her. She told her Mom but she put her head in the sand. I helped Angel over the course of a year plus to enable herself to vindicate the wrong by having her Auntie connect with a lawyer, and prosecute her uncle, based on a GYN report and a DNA sample garnered from her saved panties. I remember my passionate words of empowerment and support to Angel when she said she could't prosecute, "Never Again," I'd say for yourself and other younger defenseless children that he could harm." "Your right, Auntie Arden, I'll be strong and do and press forward."
The road back from rape is not an easy one, but Angel shared, processed, wanted to be helped and has since risen above.
SIGNS OF RAPE AND RAPE PREVENTION: For parents and children/tween, teens, young adults
- Speak to your child about funny touches and that their body is sacred
- Encourage your child to report/share any misdoings whether by a friend, sibling, extended family relative or parent
THE REALITY OF RAPE
- 29% of rape victims know their assailant
- Four in ten rapes occur in the victims home
- 43% of rapes occur between 6 in the evening and midnight
- 29% of rape victims are ages 12-17
WHAT IF THE UNTHINKABLE HAPPENS: RED FLAGS THAT YOUR CHILD COULD HAVE BEEN RAPED
- Your child doesn't seem themselves, stares out in space
- Your child is depressed, with bursts of anger
- Suffers from panic, anxiety attacks
- Unable to sleep
- Unwilling to go to school
- Self mutilation/cutting
- Develops an eating disorder: anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder
- Runs away
DON'T TOLERATE THE FOLLOWING IN YOUR HOME AND PROTECT YOURSELF
- Physical and verbal abuse
- An air of intimidation
- Being asked to keep secrets
- You are worthy and no one is to hurt, malign or violate you
- Go to an adult who will believe you and help you
- Go to the police and prosecute