Student recalls childhood sexual assault
From editors’ introduction to this special report: "To put a face to the statistics, we are sharing the first-hand accounts of real-life experiences of students who have been allegedly, sexually assaulted. These are their stories, bravely told, though not independently investigated or corroborated by Arrow reporters.”
Seth Sievers was around the age of 3 or 4 years old when he started being sexually assaulted at a day care.
Seth’s assailants were the day care owner’s daughter and her friend, who were around the ages of 10 or 12 years old at the time.
“There were three of us boys who I know for sure were abused in various ways,” Seth said. “Sometimes together, sometimes separately.”
Seth does not place any blame on the woman who owned the day care and said she was a “wonderful” person. Seth said all her children were troubled, especially her daughter.
“[She] seems very normal, friendly,” he said. “Was always buddy, buddy with the young kids and that seems very good on the surface, of course, because she’s helping her mom out with the day care, right? To us it was fun because it was the older kids wanting us to spent time with them.”
At first, it was normal play between the older girls and the three boys.
“Her and her friend would always try and include us in everything they did and play with us and stuff,” he said. “And then a while into this, things shifted from playing on swings to, ‘Oh, it’s rainy, let's go lay under these covers.’”
Seth said as the day care started to grow, the daughter took on a bigger role in helping her mom out by watching the older kids more. Seth said with the “new found freedom” the daughter and her friend started playing more “games,” with the boys.
“Like everything does, it started off subtle being overly affectionate, just doing regular things in a different way,” Seth said. “Gradually escalating, however, to, ‘Hey, what if you took your clothes off,’ and ‘Oh, what if you took my clothes off,’ and touching, ‘Oh, hey, this is your this,’ and ‘This is your that,’ and ‘This is my this.’”
Seth said the girls took it upon themselves to teach them about sex.
“She had a ‘Sex for Dummies’ book she would read to us from on a roughly daily basis,” Seth said.
Around the age of 6 or 7, Seth stopped attending the day care after his mom started working less.
“I started going to after-school care, riding the bus, so no more day care and it just stopped, phased out of my life,” Seth said.
When Seth was 16 years old he realized what had happened to him was sexual assault.
“Someone asked me what my earliest childhood memory was and I was doing some math on some significant things I remember and then suddenly that was there,” he said.
Six months before he had a head injury from a wrestling match, so he worried he was making it up.
“Whenever you suddenly remember something that you don’t remember remembering before your entire brain gets thrown for a loop,” he said.
At first, he was suspicious of what he was remembering, so he looked to the other boys involved.
“Around the age of 16 all three of us were alive,” Seth said. “We were not in contact but still acquainted.”
Around the age of 18, Seth was a freshman in college and his parents had just separated. He decided to reach out to one of the other boys who he said he had been closest with while in day care.
“In my head, of course, I am getting all these memories that I still to this day doubt to a degree. But because you start remembering things and I have a couple histories of head traumas, so it’s like, ‘How much of this is my mind making up?’” Seth said.
He reached out to the other boy for two reasons.
“He was actually diagnosed with brain cancer and so I reached out to him for that purpose, also, just to take a side to mention like, ‘Hey, I know this is a little bit weird, but did this happen?’” Seth said.
His childhood friend confirmed for Seth that his mind was not making it up.
“It set a lot of things off,” he said. “Not only did it kind of make me realize, ‘Oh, hey, this is real,’ but it also started setting off a lot of realizations.”
Soon after their conversation, Seth’s friend lost his battle with cancer.
The third boy from Seth’s day care committed suicide before Seth could reach out to him.
Now 20, Seth is a senior majoring in exercise science at Southeast Missouri State University.
Seth has faced many problems in his daily life because of the assaults as a child.
“Romantic relationships have always been incredibly hard for me,” he said. “I have never known why. I have always been very detached.”
It also takes a long time for him to trust anyone.
“It takes a very large amount of closeness and trust for me for anybody to get past a handshake with me,” he said.
Seth had only shared his story with three people before sharing his story with the Arrow.