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A few weeks ago, I watched a program on the Dr. Phil show. It presented Sarah Jakes, who is the daughter of T.D. Jakes, one of America’s most beloved ministers to hit the media. At 13 years of age, she became pregnant and became a mother by age 14. She went on to have the baby, graduate from high school, and be accepted into college. However, at 19, she dropped out of college and started to dance nude at a local nightclub. Sarah claimed she had very low self-esteem when younger and any attention was better than no attention at all, no matter how degrading or offensive to her.

This show was meant for me. In fact, it is freeing after over 40 years. I too had very low self-esteem as a young teenager. Making good grades in middle school (practically straight A’s in every subject), my grades started to decline in highschool. What was worse than poor grades, were my parents’ attitude toward me. When I was 13 years of age, I was approached and sexually molested by a family member (not blood-related). My parents tried to keep it quiet and conceal it from the public, but I was psychologically damaged.

Once I told my parents what happened, the response I got was repulsive. “We stopped it,” was the response. The person who victimized me told my mother it was my imagination as if I made up the whole thing. But I did not, and I have a witness to it.

I didn’t get pregnant nor have a baby. Neither did I drop out of college nor dance nude in a nightclub. I did suffer internally for years, sought professional counseling, and even dated and married an attorney. But truth be known, the psychological damage traveled to my marriage. It caused problems with me and my husband. One reason I am divorced today with no children.

I believe I majored in Abnormal Psychology in college to better understand myself and what I was going through at the time. No wonder my self-esteem was so low. I felt like crap. Adults have a hard enough time with sex. Just think about children. They don’t have the maturity or mental capacity to understand fully what is going on, although children are expected to act appropriately.

When your children speak to you, please listen. Don’t shovel it under the rug, as if to hide it. You are only hurting your child more. Be a protective parent. It happened, but I can not change the past. I can only be aware that it does exist and in wonderful families too.