My abuse started when I was very young. Really, too young to remember. I remember it in pieces. I remember my mom having to remind me that my body is my body. It was at the hand of my best friend, the little boy who lived next door. When my mom told me we weren’t allowed to play together anymore I didn’t understand why. But it was because he had taken it upon himself to explore my body before even I did. I don’t blame him, he was just as young as I. As adults, I am still friends with my abuser. But this is why we have to teach children that their body is their body and nobody has the right to touch their body without their permission, and if they’re touched in a way they do not like, a way that confuses them, they have a right to report it. This is a policy I’ll bring with me into parenthood, this is why I will never spank my child. Nobody, nobody, has a right to touch you without your consent.
As I grew, puberty hit me early and it hit me hard. This caused the boys in my school to take it upon themselves to once again…explore my changing body. Different boys this time. Boys I have forgiven less for their transgressions but boys who still should have been taught not to this. And again, my mom had to remind me that my body is my body.
And as I became an adult, I was groped and grabbed by any man who felt entitled to my body. I was pursued by men I had denied, repeatedly. I stuck to the buddy system, I surrounded myself with strong woman or trustworthy men when I went out at night. During these years I had learned to fight back, I had learned to defend myself.
But when I moved across the country, my depression hit me hard. I began a relationship with a man who was emotionally abusive. He was manipulative. He used the threat of suicide and hurting his child to keep me around. He didn’t respect me or respect any woman, really. He didn’t try to hide anything from me when it came to him looking at other women, flirting with ex girlfriends, or having photos of other woman on his phone. He was the type of guy who followed porn accounts on Twitter. What pathetic, trashy human being gets their porn from Twitter? When I eventually got the courage to end the relationship, the relationship didn’t even end, because he felt entitled to my body. My ex boyfriend tried to rape me. As he lay on top of me tears ran down my face. But…to my amazement…his erectile dysfunction saved my life and he left in anger. He Facetimed me a few nights later when he knew I was with another guy (friend) and when I answered he was trying to hang himself. When I hung up the phone, I called his parents. He told them I was lying. When he saw me out on a date without another guy later on he began to text me threats. The next day I filed a restraining order.
I have been sexually assaulted or sexually harassed at every stage of my life and nothing is okay about this. You are not alone, I suffered too. We have to do better.