End Silenced Abuse: Tell Somebody
Aleesha Barlow was molested by her maternal grandfather when she was a child. At the tender age of six, she informed her mother and two aunts that their father was touching her inappropriately. They told her not to worry and made her promise to never tell anyone. Her mother and aunts vowed to confront him to put an end to the sexual abuse. They assured her that they had threatened to send him to jail if the abuse continued. Nevertheless, her grandfather persisted. At his insistence and as instructed, she did not tell anyone. Aleesha was forced to keep her painful secret from everyone, including her own father.
Aleesha felt helpless and never shared her pain with anyone again as her past experiences had proven that no punishment would come to her grandfather. As time passed, her family never discussed the topic again. When Aleesha reached adulthood, she finally had enough courage to tell her father about the abuse before he sadly passed away.
Telling her story to her father and the world was the most important step to Aleesha reclaiming her life! Ninety-five percent of molestation happens by a family member or a close friend, hence the need for parents to educate their children, and let them know to tell somebody until something is done.
Twenty years later, motivated by the words of her father, Aleesha created Tell Somebody, Inc., an organization that works toward ending child abuse and silenced abuse of any kind. The Tell Somebody movement is about bringing awareness to parents that sexual abuse can and does happen.
Aleesha Barlow with Shalonda SJ Johnson
October 10, 2017