Lincoln Daily News publishes letters to the editor as
they are received.
The letters are not edited in content and do not
the views of Lincoln Daily News.
Lincoln Daily News requests that writers responding to
controversial issues address the issue and refrain from
personal attacks. Thank you!
Submit a letter to the editor online
You may also send your letters by e-mail to
or by U.S. postal mail:
Letters to the Editor
Lincoln Daily News
601 Keokuk St.
Lincoln, IL 62656
Letters must include the writer's
name, telephone number, and postal address or e-mail address (we
will not publish address or phone number information).
Lincoln Daily News reserves the right to edit letters to
reduce their size or to correct obvious errors.
Lincoln Daily News reserves the right to reject any letter for
any reason. Lincoln Daily News will publish as
many acceptable letters as space allows.
To the editor:
As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I applaud
Debbie Thurman's article
"Grappling With Child Sexual Abuse: How Preventable is It?"
Somewhere along the line we MUST include education as part of
prevention. Will education stop a predator? No, it probably won't,
but it will make the potential victim aware that he or she does not
have to tolerate the advances of a perpetrator, regardless of who it
I have raised three daughters and helped to raise a younger
sister (whose father abused me), and none of them have been abused
in any way by anyone. Why? Because from the time they were old
enough to understand words, I made sure that they knew that any
touching by ANYONE was off limits.
Although my sister does not know about what her father did to me,
I made it known that no one, including her father, should ever touch
her in a sexual way, and if anything were to happen, she was to call
me immediately. With the reassurance that I would indeed believe her
and would support her through it in telling our mother, she agreed.
I didn't stop there. I continued to talk to her on a regular basis
I did the same with my three daughters. They are now three
beautiful healthy young adults, and my sister is now a mother with
I have always thought that if only someone had let me know that I
was not alone, or that there was someone I could tell, I could have
stopped it long before. The damage was done from the start, but the
healing could have started sooner.
As it was, my abuse was discovered by relatives. I was placed in
a foster home for six months while we all attended counseling and
was then sent back home, where the abuse resumed after a short
period of time. It ended when I left home at the age of 17.
[to top of second column in this letter]
One would ask, "If you knew it was wrong, why didn't you say
something after being returned home?" The simple fact is, I was
NEVER told that it was not my fault; thus the guilt and shame of
thinking I was causing it remained. Plus, my stepfather was not the
only perpetrator. There were several. Mostly relatives, including my
Not until I became an adult did I find the help I needed, in the
form of one-on-one and group counseling. The day I walked into a
room where 15 other women (!) sat who had experienced similar, and
in a lot of cases, worse abuse than I, did I finally learn that I
was the victim.
Now, in my early 40s I am a successful, fully functioning,
healthy woman. I have many to thank for that but mostly God for
seeing me through it.
I know (and still think about this often) that if someone had
came to my school (I graduated from LCHS in 1982) and let me know
that I was not alone, I may have been able to take that first
healing step sooner -- telling someone. Even more important, knowing
I could tell and be believed, protected and HELPED.
It is my dream that one day we can hold a special assembly, once
a year in every school, that addresses this traumatizing problem.
One out of three girls and one out of five boys need and deserve
Retha Odle Collins
(Posted Feb. 1, 2006)
Click here to send a note to the editor
about this letter.