Have ya’all seen this hashtag #metoo? It was started to shed light on the widespread incidents of sexual abuse, and although I rarely repost on trending topics I feel this one is important for obvious and personal reasons.
Sexual abuse and harassment is never ok, the fact that the majority of my friends, male and female alike have reposted these words is overwhelming.
Did I think I was the only one? No, of course not, did I still carry some shame and self blame for the things that happened to me? I think I did/do.
I have been, like most women, sexually harassed more times than I can count. Cat called, touched, propositioned, I have been the recipient of many over the line advancements and speech.
I think it’s important to share our stories, and although I’ve touched on this subject before, I’m sharing my story again now. I refuse to take blame any longer, and in being vocal I hope to help in some way with the stigma others and myself have carried.
Twice in my life I have been raped. Both happened in my teenage years, and I never told anyone. I never went to the hospital, I never spoke about it at all until last year, I am 48 years old, and have always somehow blamed myself. I was terrified of what my family would think as well.
At a party with a group of friends at the age of 15 I was raped by a friend. I had had too much to drink and decided to go to sleep on a couch in the basement of the house we were at. I passed out under some blankets, to sleep it off. I woke up with someone on top of me, he was shoving my pants down while holding one of his hands around my throat, someone else entered the basement looking for me, he had pulled the covers up over both of us and put his hand over my mouth, telling them he was the only one down there. I was told to shut my mouth and enjoy it. I was raped and strangled for nearly an hour, he was simply stronger than me. I couldn’t win. Iwas crying and told it wasn’t that bad and that he’d always liked me. When he fell asleep on top of me I wiggled my way out and walked home, I showered and spent the next 30 years asking myself why I didn’t scream(fear) why I got so drunk, why was I alone in the basement, why I didn’t fight, why did I wear that outfit, and a thousand other questions that placed the blame squarely in my lap.
When this person died I felt secretly happy, and then felt guilty for that. I’ve been telling myself for years what an awful person I am for not feeling sad. I have a lot of the same friends from that time and still can not bring myself to name him for fear of being called a liar, after all he’s not here to defend himself….
The second time I was raped I was slipped something in a drink. I remember nothing of the incident, except waking up naked in this person’s house and being completely disoriented. I asked for a ride home, and later got a call from him asking me out, and telling me what a good time he’d had the night before. I had bruising down the inside of both legs, and on one of my breasts. I again told no one. Why was I drinking? Did I consent while I was out of my mind? I don’t know. I had only had one beer..why can’t I remember anything..I later concluded that I had to have been drugged, it took me several days to even think straight. Being drugged is not consent.
I regret a lot of things I did when young, I was a mess. I did drugs, I drank, I put myself in a lot of sketchy situations, however, none of that matters..there is no legitimate reason to sexually assault someone. No excuses that hold water.
I hope that in telling this I inspire others to tell their stories, to speak up, to quit any self blame you might carry, in turn I will do the same and continue healing.