"You're stupid. You were always stupid."
That's what my good friend, Karen, said to me when I reminded her that I had always taken "No" to mean "No," when dealing with the opposite sex. She was in town visiting and it was the first time that I had seen her in years, probably decades.
We had become fast friends in the seventh grade and had gone through lots of growing up together, more on her part than mine, 'til she left for Atlanta and college after high school graduation. Of course she was kidding, mostly.
There are differences in my overall approach to women than my friends' techniques and I have begun to attribute some of that to the fact that I was raised by women, my single mom and my grandmother. I certainly don't mean to imply that I'm better at romance than my pals who came up in more traditional families. In fact I am batting zero in love and I'm not proud of it.
There are terrifying statistics available, however, regarding rape, attempted rape and sexual abuse from the U.N., the Department of Justice and plenty of other reputable organizations which compile such numbers. The credibility of the specific statistics is always in play due to the elusive definition of the terms "rape" and "sexual abuse."
We do know that rape is the most under-reported violent crime in this and most other cultures for many obvious reasons. Most of the most reliable, current statistics indicate that in this country at least one in six women have experienced rape or attempted rape.
In addition to these horrifying numbers we have to consider the additional horror of child molestation. To take a child's innocence is to steal something precious that can never be replaced. Something wonderful and something holy. With it goes a piece of the heart, a piece of the soul. Forever. The ability to accept love is altered. Trust is tarnished. Victims tend to grow up with a spiritual void in their heart and the truly fortunate few find help through counseling, hard work and the love and patience of very special friends who pitch in to provide support and understanding. With these "lucky" ones we're still talking about a lifetime's work.