When I lived in Germany with my family I was much younger. We moved there when I was about 5 years old, I believe. We had not been living in the country for long before something terrible happened. The city of Berlin was much much larger than anything we knew of in New Hampshire, which is where we lived before. City Parks, subway systems and public playgrounds were all foreign amenities we were getting used to after coming out of the woods of Rindge, New Hampshire. It was a pleasant sunny day when the three of us kids took a walk to a public playground not too far from our apartment. My mother had given us permission of course as I am sure we had been there long enough to see the area. She knew that if we were all together we would be okay. We were stronger being together than being by ourselves. From what I recall, we walked down a city bike path to get to the playground when it was not long before conflict entered our midst. I believe I did something that made my sister Betsy upset. I will admit this part of my memory is hazy. But for whatever reason she felt she needed to go back to the house to tell my mother something. Gina, my oldest sister approved of this. As my sister Betsy started walking away toward the bike path, my oldest sister Gina said “remember Betsy, don’t bug a bee and it won’t bug you”. These last words that Gina said before Betsy left have stayed with me over 20 years. After this my memory gets more hazy. Gina and I ended up back on that bike path after I don’t know how much time had passed. I remember seeing Betsy and she was crying. There were scrapes on her leg. There was a lady next to her with a dog. I don’t remember if my mother was there or not. I was so young at this time that I do not believe I grasped what was happening but I know it left an impact on me. Of course nothing compared to the impact it had on my sister. Betsy had been sexually assaulted by a grown man on that bike path, on her way to tell my mother something. The rest of the day has escaped my memory almost completely. I don’t remember seeing my parents crying. I don’t remember seeing my parents at all actually. From a conversation I had with my sister Betsy much later on, I understood the true details of what happened that afternoon. At a certain point my sister called on the Name of Jesus and the man apparently left in a hurry. It’s possible he would have murdered her if that had not happened.
I know this affected my sister for the rest of her life. When she told me what really happened that day, years later on a walk together down to a pond, all I could do was stop, look her in the eyes, and hold her. I was an adult at that time, and I understood.