Rich got to know one of all parents’ worst nightmares when his daughter ,Charlen , was raped by two friends at the age of 16. Now, this father and daughter are working together to prevent other families from going through the same.
Rich is sitting in his car at a bus stop. It feels like time has stopped. The words that came from his son ,Eirik ,(14 years old) are echoing in his head.
“Dad, Charlen has been raped.”
He doesn’t know when Charlen is coming. So he waits. A bus is stopping in front of him, letting the passengers out, driving away. What should he say? What should he do? Another bus. There she is. His beautiful 16-year-old girl. She takes a seat in the car, closes the door.
Rich starts the car, drives into the dark. Charlen starts to talk.
“The event is bad in itself, but that’s not the worst part. It’s what comes after that, what it brings with it,” says Charlen. “I felt guilty and shameful, started with self-harm, depression, and thoughts of committing suicide…”
That’s an experience the father and daughter share.
“I felt great sorrow. Knowing that I couldn’t prevent that from happening to my daughter – was very hard,” says Rich today.
“I used to say that the worst thing that could happen to a parent was that his or her child dies. The second worst thing, I believe, is that your child gets raped.”
Charlen was glad that her dad got to hear what had happened to her. She was in doubt if she should ever tell him – or if she would be able to.
“This has become our mission. If we are able to prevent at least one rape, we would help not only the victim but the the whole family, save them from many worries and much pain, in many years to come. We will provide an app that can help prevent pain, self-harm, anxiety, depression, and suicide among your girls and boys.” says Rich.
Charlen has found a boyfriend, and she goes to college as a private candidate. She likes to train and spend time with her friends. She is doing well now.
“Time has been my best friend. Now, I am ready to help other girls and boys and tell my story to prevent rape from happening and to have evidence in case rape has already happened.”