The Flower and the Bees!

Published

Every experience in our lives shapes us in our professional and personal lives. A childhood experience shaped me and my reactions to look at safety and protection at all times!

Specializes in ED,Tele,Med surg, ADN,outpatient,homecare,LTC,Peds. Has 33 years experience.

A five year-old's explanation of sexual abuse

The Flower and the Bees!

I woke up in the stillness of the early morn. Mornings in Kerala, India were peaceful and beautiful.

A gentle breeze wafted through the windows as I got up rubbing my eyes. Sleepily, I stumbled to the window and looked out. A purple predawn with streaks of blue greeted me. I held the bars of the windows tight, my knuckles white as I looked down at the old house with its sloped tiled roof and narrow verandah running around the house. The mango tree was still at the corner and the grass was wet with dew. My gaze fell on the corner room, “the secret room”. As an inquisitive five-year-old, I had run in to hide behind a wooden dresser locking the door behind me not realizing someone was in the room, an older man sitting on a sofa. He pulled me and had me sit on his lap as he asked me questions about my parents. I squirmed as he was holding me tightly, trying to break free. The more I squirmed, the more he smiled squeezing my cheeks and touching my lips. My eyes filled and my lips quivered. He heard someone’s voice and pushed me hastily from his lap. I rushed out of the room and fled up the gentle hill covered with rubber trees. The dry leaves crunched under my bare feet as I ran, my heart pounding with fear. I crossed the road and rushed through the green paddy fields to a little island of mango groves, land that belonged to my mother. I didn’t know what had happened. It just felt wrong. He was the first bee.

My eyes fell on the short wall around the old house. I remember sitting on the packed wall at night as we watched my aunt’s pre-wedding party. The place was crowded with laughter, the smell of fresh jasmine flowers, the shine of gold bangles in the kerosene lamps, the constant chirp of crickets, and the occasional blip of a firefly in the inky darkness of the night. Everyone’s attention including mine was on the bride when I felt arms lift me and the smell of a cigarette breath next to my cheek. I was settled on his lap, his one hand a steel trap around my waist, while his other hands settled between my legs. As his arthritic fingers hurt my sensitive flesh, I bit hard on his hand and escaped to the safety of my mother and the kerosene lamps where insects threw themselves as living sacrifices. I don’t know what he looked like as I never looked back. He was the second bee.

As the dawn broke, the birds broke into their cheery cheeping, the roosters competing to wake the household up. I went downstairs, made my coffee and sat on the open “sit out” steps shivering in the slight cold. This home was the new residence and the old house had been given for rent. I reflected on the other bees over the years. Was it my naivety or my innocence that attracted them? I trusted easily and did not discern motives when playing “doctor Nurse” or “Father-Mother” with male cousins which were supposed to be a “secret”.  I  was afraid to confide to my mother as I thought she would think that I was a bad girl and not like me anymore. As I grew up, I realized the game was an excuse to touch inappropriately and stopped playing. I stopped sitting by myself, reading books where the bees always found me. I avoided them and made sure I was surrounded by others especially at parties.

When it was time to go to college, I chose a college far away in India’s capital Delhi, a three-day ride by train. As my brother and I traveled through green pastures where cows munched grass contently and over rushing streams with dragonflies hovering, their wings glistening in the sunlight, I resolved to keep my body to myself and stay away from the bees. As the sunset hit the long railway bridge and the shadowed fishermen made their way back home on the boats, I sat on the steps of the speeding train enjoying the breeze whipping my hair into a whirlwind! In college, I became the mischievous naughty girl who always lead the class in fun escapades. I read to my heart’s content in my small single room that boasted of a narrow bed, a table, a chair, and a closet for clothes! Looking out of the glass window to the bustling city below where cars crawled during rush hour on the flyover, I resolved never to have a boyfriend and focus on my studies and explore Delhi.

Every Saturday, I would board a Delhi Transportation Cooperation(DTC) bus and explore the city. My favorite haunt was Lodhi gardens that were green, lush, and reminded me of Kerala, my hometown. The architecture was beautiful with old tombs and plenty of places for me to safely sit and read uninterrupted. Funny, even though the place was filled with the fragrance of flowers, I was far away from the bees. Another place, I loved to visit and ruminate was the lotus temple which sat on acres of landscaped land with seven pools. The clear waters in the pools and the soaring ceilings of the main hall always bought a sense of peace anytime my mind was in turmoil. The bees came but I had learned to look them in the eye and swat them away.

Later in life, I worked in Saudi Arabia in a village near the Yemen border. The silence at night in the desert with huge stars hanging out for company as I sat on the steps of my flat at 2 am in the guarded primary care center surrounded by sand dunes for miles around was peaceful. The desert soil was surprisingly fertile with white coriander flowers and cherry tomatoes and juicy squash, my flatmate being an avid gardener. Our holiday was on Fridays and a group of us who were from different parts of the world would sit on top of the flat terraces eating international cuisines. I developed a love for Egyptian stuffed grape leaves, Philippine empanadas, Sri Lankan pineapple rice, and Kerala chicken curry. We climbed up a ladder to the terrace and sat on blankets. Sometimes we would crouch under the blankets when a sudden dust storm blew by! We would then climb down with stray sand in our hair and shoes laughing in our carefree youth! I did not have to worry about any bees in the desert as we were guarded and safe like prickly cactuses!!

When I moved to the states, I marveled at the neon lights of Times Square, the skyscrapers and the sea of yellow cabs in NYC. I was awed by the thundering Niagara falls, the cool spray cleansing my body and soul. I felt renewed, yet insignificant standing at the base of the falls, waiting to ride the Maid of the Mist!

In a few months, I married my life partner of now 26 years who I grew to love over the years. I was ever vigilant when I had children and never left them alone at parties and always kept an eye out for them. They complained that I didn’t let them walk home from school and didn’t trust them. It was not them. I didn’t trust the bees! Now that they are growing up, they have developed their own safety checks and know to avoid beehives!

At work, I learned to ask the questions. Are you safe at home and outside? I studied to become a Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) and a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). I attended the first-ever conference geared to pediatric patients and went for a documentation review three-day class with the prosecutor's office where we were taught proper techniques of documentation and how to be cross-examined on the stand as an expert witness. I stopped shy of three cases to complete my SANE certification due to family obligations. It's still on my wish list. I found it hard to be objective given my past experiences but was very aware that I had to be.

This year, I visited Kerala and the hilly terrains of my mother’s hometown. As I sipped my hot coffee, my mind awash with memories from the nearby house, I found myself strangely detached. The shame and anger were gone. I felt safe and secure in my husband’s love and the love of God who got me through each day! I was satisfied that I used my experiences to teach patients, my family and other children to be safe, speak up and go to a trusted adult. I let my five-year-old self hide behind the cupboard in the empty room, smiling as I watched her stifle her giggles and triumph of finding the perfect hiding space.


References

Sexual Assault Forensic Nurse Examiner Expert (SANE / SAFE)

Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Program

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners

Nurse 33 years, mother, wife, author, singer, loves jokes, romance and a hot cup of coffee! Loves God above all!

45 Articles   509 Posts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

23 Comment(s)

macawake, MSN

Has 14 years experience. 2,079 Posts

First of all, I am so very sorry this happened to you. No child, no person should ever have to experience sexual abuse. 

But why the cutesy euphemism? Bees are pollinators and perform a vital function in nature. Their purpose isn’t malevolent. The persons you are describing are predators. Molesters. Or rapists. I understand a young child not having the vocabulary or the understanding to label them correctly, but as adults I think we should call them what they are.

Again, I’m very sorry you were a victim of these criminals, and at such a young age. 

Take care! 

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 29 years experience. 2 Articles; 3,860 Posts

Is this a 'save the bees' crusade? Seriously,  some people can find fault with anything on this forum...

@spotangel thank you for sharing a very personal story, and a bit more about your background. I didn't know you were born in India, your descriptions are vivid. Many other people, especially women and girls, have experienced some type of sexual violation and can strongly relate to your story.❤

spotangel, DNP, RN, NP

Specializes in ED,Tele,Med surg, ADN,outpatient,homecare,LTC,Peds. Has 33 years experience. 45 Articles; 509 Posts

I was hesitant to write about this but realized that many people have gone through this but keep silent. I wanted to be that voice for them. I used the title as like a flower that is helpless to stop any bees from coming and sucking the nectar, a child is helpless against an adult with intentions to molest. That was the thinking. I have nothing against bees but they do sting too!

There was real fear that I would be held to blame, so the fear to confide. Many of times if a  family member is involved, who do you go to as a child? Once my parents died , one after the other, I was an orphan by the age of 15. I lucked out being the youngest of 10, that my brothers and sisters raised me to become an independent gal! Once I lived far away from home, I found my voice and spoke up for myself. It did affect my thinking especially after becoming a mom. Now I look back and try and teach this lesson to my kids,  and others ,so that they can be wise to the dangers around them.

macawake, MSN

Has 14 years experience. 2,079 Posts

On 12/28/2021 at 12:35 PM, Emergent said:

Is this a 'save the bees' crusade? Seriously,  some people can find fault with anything on this forum...

Emergent, funny how you ignored the heartfelt empathy that I expressed for the experiences that OP described, and honed in on something to kvetch about. I think you understand full well that my post wasn’t a ”crusade” for bees’ rights, but rather an opinion that molesters and rapists should be called what they are. Calling them bees in my opinion removes accountability as it implies that sexual predators are just victims of their natural instincts and urges, drawn to a fragrant flower, unable to resist its lure. Only it’s not a flower. It’s a child. Being abused by an adult. 

I have interviewed many sexual offenders and many victims of sexual  abuse and violence. I have never met a perpetrator of sexual molestation or violence who wasn’t aware that what they did is wrong. That they violated another human being’s body and soul, for their own gratification. So no. They are not bees. 

OP, again I am sorry this happened to you. 

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 29 years experience. 2 Articles; 3,860 Posts

13 hours ago, spotangel said:

I was hesitant to write about this but realized that many people have gone through this but keep silent. I wanted to be that voice for them. I used the title as like a flower that is helpless to stop any bees from coming and sucking the nectar, a child is helpless against an adult with intentions to molest. That was the thinking. I have nothing against bees but they do sting too!

There was real fear that I would be held to blame, so the fear to confide. Many of times if a  family member is involved, who do you go to as a child? Once my parents died , one after the other, I was an orphan by the age of 15. I lucked out being the youngest of 10, that my brothers and sisters raised me to become an independent gal! Once I lived far away from home, I found my voice and spoke up for myself. It did affect my thinking especially after becoming a mom. Now I look back and try and teach this lesson to my kids,  and others ,so that they can be wise to the dangers around them.

It sounds like you have overcome incredible obstacles and become a spiritual role model. Your positive and forgiving nature is amazing, and a light upon a hill.

spotangel, DNP, RN, NP

Specializes in ED,Tele,Med surg, ADN,outpatient,homecare,LTC,Peds. Has 33 years experience. 45 Articles; 509 Posts

Thanks Emergent!

I am no saint but have learned time and time again to use my pain and experience to help another going through the same. I am grateful to be in a profession where I can spot issues based on my background! My kids roll their eyes at me when I get on the pulpit on safety but it's ingrained in them and so the awareness is there.Sometimes the worst things you go through in life can be flipped to help another. After all prevention is better than cure right? In this "me too" men and women speak up but there are many who have kept silent for decades and break down and talk about it when asked as part of a visit.

Honyebee, CNA

Specializes in Customer service. Has 1 years experience. 375 Posts

I was raped from toddler to preschool--my father caught him eventually in the act because I told him, "Teddy penis vomited." My gynecologist has been asking me if I was raped. I lied about this part because I was ashamed of it. Maybe I will tell my physician to validate his suspicion.  The child rapist was and is still married to my father's cousin. I remember most of the nastiest things he did to me. He regularly enjoyed his little time with me. He'd spray me with his semen. They kept my story a secret for the families’ intact reputation. I hate the rest of my family. I’ve been blamed for tarnishing a family's reputation. That’s right because a preschooler is a little jo already. I’m not wondering anymore why I was maltreated by many of my family, especially my cousins. Left home in my early adolescence. I’ve been alone for most of my life and been alright. At least, where I am, nobody gets to wear out my ears that I was a shame of my family.

For those who aren't aware that the people who like little kids, they exist. Fathers and mothers, you have to be wary that those animals are sneaky. They put very kind face. You wouldn't think that they're capable of anything against innocent children. Watch your kids.  

Edited by Honyebee

spotangel, DNP, RN, NP

Specializes in ED,Tele,Med surg, ADN,outpatient,homecare,LTC,Peds. Has 33 years experience. 45 Articles; 509 Posts

I am so sorry to hear this.

That's terrible that family would blame an innocent child.

Hugs!  Know you are always loved by God unconditionally. Anybody else's love is just a good to have and not a must have.

Why would somebody stay with a person like that knowing what he did to you? It boggles the mind.It makes me mad as I wonder who else did  he do this to and could it not have been prevented.

 Anyway shame on them for not being a real family to you.

I can't agree more about being very vigilant with your children and young ones you care for.

Thank you for being brave enough to share. Know that you are perfect the way God made you and you are loved.

 Hugs again Honeybee!

Honyebee, CNA

Specializes in Customer service. Has 1 years experience. 375 Posts

On 12/29/2021 at 7:45 PM, spotangel said:

I am so sorry to hear this.

That's terrible that family would blame an innocent child.

Hugs!  Know you are always loved by God unconditionally. Anybody else's love is just a good to have and not a must have.

Why would somebody stay with a person like that knowing what he did to you? It boggles the mind.It makes me mad as I wonder who else did  he do this to and could it not have been prevented.

 Anyway shame on them for not being a real family to you.

I can't agree more about being very vigilant with your children and young ones you care for.

Thank you for being brave enough to share. Know that you are perfect the way God made you and you are loved.

 Hugs again Honeybee!

What's more nerve-wracking, my mother passed away 5-7 years later. My sister passed away then my mother. My father and mother weren't the same anymore. He became a habitual alcoholic and an angry man. My family has never been the same again. That animal took everything away from me. The ugliest part of it, his children are my relatives. I know that they have nothing to do with his crime, but I don't want them in my life. He never went to jail for it. Nada. That hurt and insulted me more than anything else in the name of preserving the “family reputation.”  

spotangel, DNP, RN, NP

Specializes in ED,Tele,Med surg, ADN,outpatient,homecare,LTC,Peds. Has 33 years experience. 45 Articles; 509 Posts

He might have touched your body Honeybee but no one can touch your soul.

I learned to forgive them as it corroded my soul and left me bitter. I am grateful for confession as a Catholic as it frees up  space for peace to enter and I don't hold it anymore but give it up to the Lord to give me grace to forgive the unforgivable. He may have escaped the judges of this world but he will stand in judgement one day.

Try to forgive (which is very tough), otherwise it feels like taking a shower everyday and then sitting down to drink a cup of poison instead of coffee as the memories gets triggered easily.Peace!

Honyebee, CNA

Specializes in Customer service. Has 1 years experience. 375 Posts

1 hour ago, spotangel said:

He might have touched your body Honeybee but no one can touch your soul.

I learned to forgive them as it corroded my soul and left me bitter. I am grateful for confession as a Catholic as it frees up  space for peace to enter and I don't hold it anymore but give it up to the Lord to give me grace to forgive the unforgivable. He may have escaped the judges of this world but he will stand in judgement one day.

Try to forgive (which is very tough), otherwise it feels like taking a shower everyday and then sitting down to drink a cup of poison instead of coffee as the memories gets triggered easily.Peace!

I wish it made to the judge's court. I'd feel good about it that somebody tried to give me a justice. I'd feel better about my families, but they hid it. The only people stop me from doing something "unimaginable" it’s because of my siblings.  They were supposed to comfort me. They had betrayed me. I'd rather die alone than having traitors to cry on my funeral. I think that my siblings are enough for me.