Ten days after a court verdict found a man guilty of sexual assault, two of his victims — his 14- and 15-year-old nieces — stepped into a StoryCorps booth.
"He was a police officer," the older sister said. "This big SWAT man with all the badges and the uniforms, and he couldn't keep his hands to himself. He sexually assaulted me when no one was around. I felt like I was on pause my whole childhood. A prisoner — dead. And I didn't say a word to anybody for seven years."
Audio produced for Morning Edition by Katie Simon with Jud Esty-Kendall.
Click on the audio link above to hear their story.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
It is time now for StoryCorps, the project that records conversations between loved ones. And before we begin this morning, I need to warn you that the subject matter in today's edition could be disturbing for some listeners, especially children, so you might want to turn down your radio for the next two minutes or so.
We're about hear from two teenage sisters talking about something that is not easy to hear. We're keeping them anonymous to protect their privacy. When this conversation was recorded, they were 14 and 15 years old. They had both been sexually abused by their uncle. Just 10 days after a court found him guilty of sexual assault, the sisters stepped into a StoryCorps booth.
TEENAGE SISTER #1: He was a police officer, and he couldn't keep his hands to himself. He sexually assaulted me when no one was around. I felt like I was on pause my whole childhood. A prisoner, dead. And I didn't say a word to anybody for seven years.
TEENAGE SISTER #2: Who was the first person that you told?
TEENAGE SISTER #1: It was you. You, my little sister. And you suffered as much as I did, but I didn't know that it was the same for you. And when we both spoke out about this together, I felt like somebody pressed play; and I was living. I wasn't just stuck in my bedroom, waiting for the day to pass by.
TEENAGE SISTER #2: And how did you feel at the sentencing, when he had the nerve to stare you in the face and tell you that he was sorry?
TEENAGE SISTER #1: I couldn't do anything except look away. So I looked at you, and I knew that we had each other. And when he admitted it to everyone else, I knew that it wasn't my fault. It was him. I was free. (Crying)
I feel more relieved by the day. The more I spend time with you, the more it's like we're going to be able to have this life that's filled with everything that we need - love, hope, happiness, and each other. We don't need anything else, right?
TEENAGE SISTER #2: Yeah.
TEENAGE SISTER #1: Just us.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GREENE: Two sisters at StoryCorps. They are in high school now, a junior and a senior. Their conversation will be archived at the American Folk Life Center, at the Library of Congress. And you can subscribe to the StoryCorps podcast at NPR.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.