This month, people spread awareness about the topic of sexual harassment because April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. As part of this, a mother from UC Clermont was willing to talk recently to The Lantern about her own daughter’s experience of being sexually assaulted. The following is her story:
Christy H. is a human and social service technology major at UC Clermont. She and her daughter (called “Molly” here to protect her privacy) lived together for many years. She gradually allowed Molly to begin visiting her father since Christy and Molly’s father never married. These visitations became frequent over the span of Molly’s childhood. Molly loved her father and cared for him a great deal.
One night, Molly and her father were watching T.V. before they went to bed. He began to question her about nudity, wondering if she knew what is was and if she understood it. He asked whether she believed that people should be naked all the time. She said “no.” He then asked her if she knew what the birds and the bees were. After she again said “no,” he explained. He told her that it felt good. The father proceeded to question his daughter and then convince her to take off her clothes. He then sexually assaulted his eight-year-old daughter. At that moment, her life was forever altered, and that terrible experience would end up following her as she grew older.
Not too long thereafter, Molly developed depression in middle school. She struggled to suppress her conflicting emotions. She was in the band at her school and finally told her band teacher what had happened in her past because she couldn’t hold it in any longer. Her mother Christy was then called up to the school because her daughter was upset. Molly revealed that she and her father had watched a movie together, naked, but only that. That’s when allegation against the father began. The police department questioned him. He denied that they had been nude together, therefore ending that particular allegation.
Later that year, on October 19, 2015, Christy came home to find her daughter upset and in tears. Confused, the mother asked what happened and her daughter replied, “I tried to hurt myself.” Still confused, Christy asked her child what she meant and Molly replied again, “I tried to hurt myself.” It then all made sense to Christy, and she asked what was wrong. Her child explained that her dad had done something to her—something that a father should never do to his child. After they talked and Christy heard her out, she took Molly to the hospital.
A second allegation was made against the father. The officer assigned to the case brought him in for questioning and interrogated him. Eventually, Molly’s father was asked to take a polygraph test, which he subsequently failed. At that point he admitted to touching his daughter. Molly’s father was arrested and charged with gross sexual imposition in December of 2015. He was sentenced in March of 2016 to four and a half years in prison for the third-degree felony of gross sexual imposition. He will be a registered tier two sex offender for twenty-five years, and be on probation for five years after that.
Molly is fourteen-years-old now. She loves to play games on her computer, loves technology, and is so tech-savvy that it amazes her mother. She’s also in the choir in her school. She still goes to counselors at her school and family psychiatrists, but the number of meetings has decreased over time. No one would guess now, based on her hobbies, passions, and personality, that Molly was a victim of sexual assault. That is why Christy wants people to understand why it is so important to always be open to listening to those around us, and that we should always be willing to support one another.
Sexual assault is not as isolated or rare an event as people might think. One in five women and one in sixteen men are sexually assaulted in college. Although UC Clermont is a community college with no on-campus housing, the problem still exists in other areas of our lives. Thirty-four percent of aggressors of sexual assault of children are family members of the child, and unfortunately Molly was one of these victim.
If you or anyone you know is a sexual assault victim, The Lantern and this UC Clermont mother want you to know that you aren’t alone, and that there are groups out there dedicated to offering assistance. The Ohio Sexual Violence Helpline is one such resource. You can reach them online, or by calling 1-844-OHIO-HELP. Another resource is the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Go to www.nsvrc.org to learn more.