Unfortunately, enduring sexual abuse as a child has become a far too common experience for many women but it’s not often that victims reveal their abuser was a woman. Vanessa Williams has opened up about just that in the latest issue of People magazine, and the details of the abuse she endured at the age of 10 are described in her upcoming memoir, You Have No Idea.
Vanessa wrote that she was visiting family friends in California at the time when their 18-year-old daughter, Susan, walked in on her while she was sleeping.
“Susan pulled down the bloomers of my cotton baby-doll pajamas. ‘What are you doing?’ I asked. ‘Don’t worry — it’ll feel good.’ I lay there paralyzed. What was I going to do?”
Vanessa said she kept the incident to herself for several years and it wasn’t until she was in college that she realized she was molested. And although she told People the incident “didn’t paralyze me, and I don’t dwell,” the situation did have a significant effect on her.
“After that trip I felt something change in me,” she wrote. “I had always been defiant but I became a bit more rebellious. I began to pull away from my parents.”
Making sure the same thing didn’t happen to her children, Vanessa said she told them what happened to her so that they knew what signs to look for.
“When my kids have asked about Miss America, those photos, or any other part of my life, I told them what I always tell them — the truth,” she wrote. “After all, it was part of my journey that led me to them and to where I am today.”
Do you think sexual abuse by women often goes unnoticed?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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