A conversation with my cousin struck me today. I was telling her that I was surprised about my Father and my (male) Cousin not knowing that I’d been molested by my Mother’s boyfriend. She emphatically said, “Well, he’d be dead if they knew!” Considering that I’d told my Grandmother (around the age of 5) who in turn, along with my Aunt, confronted my my Mother. Also, I’ve caught wind of other loved ones who’d “heard about it” (all female.) I couldn’t help but wonder, why such an effort to protect HIM? After all, not only was I accused of “lying” (by my Mom) but, he still stayed with us for some time after my disclosure. Who was supposed to protect me? Why was his safety more of a concern than mines? It’s not that I would have wanted him “dead” (not then, or now… though he transitioned at age 44.) But where was the follow through on a 5 year olds well being after even an ALLEGED violation? I don’t recall if there was any, and I highly doubt it considering his remaining presence. Considering the commonplace statements about my Father being no good and just the generalization of “The Black Man’s” inability to provide for and protect his family. I couldn’t help but wonder about the misplaced sense of helplessness turned resentment directed at them. Was it just a sense of helplessness or as a community is this quandary too painful to face? There is an obvious and documented deficit of male presence in the homes of black families (* During the 1960-2016 period, the percentage of children living with only their mother nearly tripled from 8 to 23 percent.) Has that caused us to continuously nullify the well being of the most needy members of our society, the children? As a teen parent (I was pregnant at age 17) and later as a single Mother of 3 boys (2nd child at 23, 3rd at 26) I understand the level of desperation one could feel in hopes of finding “The One” who’s seemingly gonna make your family complete. I couldn’t imagine thinking you’ve found him, only to get the devastating news of the potential violation of your child. I can see why that could be very hard for some, but even so, what about the other adults in my life who knew I was in harms way yet neglected to intervene? Complicated right?! I know, VERY complicated. Yet, time and time again we find that behind some of the most “dysfunctional” amongst us have stories reminiscent to my own. The implications of these codes of silence have dire consequences on our culture and society as a whole. This type of trauma plays out over the entire lives of individuals and often onto generations to follow. Not only the act itself, but the suppression of it and then the daunting effects of repression. At what point do we find all of this important enough to address this crisis head on and normalize the conversation of sexuality and safe touch? Furthermore, when do we normalize the conversation about our trauma? One aspect of this conundrum that I believe creates a barrier against our healing is the need to blame. What’s done, is done. Once we can accept that, perhaps we can move forward in an effort to prevent it from happening to others.