#metoo? With a question mark, is something we experience all too often. What I experienced, was it really rape? Was it really wrong? Does that even count? I’m probably just being emotional and dramatic like what EVERYONE tells me. But Hell no. You’re experience is validated. And if it FEELS WRONG, IT IS WRONG.
What I’m about to share may be triggering and traumatic to survivors. I have never really told anyone these stories due to shame or confusion to whether it was “sexual assault.” And most times, I blamed myself. But, I share this in hopes that young girls & women, young boys, and female-identifying individuals like me become aware of what sexual assault is, educate themselves on how to stay in healthy relationships, take care of themselves, use their voice to say NO, and KNOW that I hear them, see them, and is here for them. Here goes nothing.
#metoo? There is a relative that is significantly older than me. The girls around tell me stories of what he’s done to them. I’m afraid of him. So one day outside when we are all playing, he picks me up and puts me on his shoulders. I am 10. I’m afraid. I am filled with so much nervousness and anxiety. He’s spinning me, and I am afraid, but I laugh and act like it’s fun though I am super afraid. I don’t know how to say I dislike it. I just don’t want to be alone with him.
One time during camping, he keeps trying to be close to me, maybe following me? Giving me more attention than he should. I am still 10. I’m so scared. We are all in a tent telling stories. He puts his head on my lap. I am frozen. Everyone watches but they don’t do anything. I just smile as if I’m okay. My face is burning and my heart is beating. I WANT HIM OFF OF ME. I DON’T LIKE IT, but I don’t know how to stand up for myself and I don’t want to make a scene in front of everyone.…..
#metoo? You know that feeling when the word “no”, or “stop” is stuck in your throat. You’re not sure on how to exactly respond to a sexual situation. I am 16. This person is older than me. He asks me to do certain sexual things. I am super uncomfortable, anxious, and do not want to do it. But I don’t know how to respond. I am scared to say no. I feel really pressured to say yes. What if I say no? What happens? He isn’t a bad person, just someone who is older than me with a different mindset on sex. I feel as if he took advantage of my innocence and lack of understanding. I’ve made out, and did some sexual things before this, but nothing to this extent. I think that these are things I have to do if I like a person. I don’t really know or understand what sex really means either? Just a thought. I didn’t even know where my vagina hole was until I turned 15. I just keep saying yes to things that make me super uncomfortable throughout our relationship. No one ever taught me to say no. I feel powerless. I feel continuous disgust, and shame for myself, but I am not sure because the message I get at this age from my peers, is that you are supposed to be having sex at this time. But I feel weird, and numb, and wrong. Having sex? Isn’t this what I’m supposed to be doing when I’m with someone?
#metoo? One day I finally have the courage to tell this person, I don’t want to have sex anymore. I don’t think he understands. When we are alone, he would keep forcing me to have sex with him. I am high on adrenaline and panic. I scream and struggle. I tell him I don’t want to. My voice sounds helpless. I said don’t you remember, I don’t want to have sex anymore. But he keeps touching me and forcing me into his arms so he could penetrate me. I feel so helpless as this person fondles me and is on top of me, literally putting all his weight on me. That day I accept that no matter how much I DO NOT want to give up my body, guys would always coerce me to give up myself. I have no say or power to decide who and when they can enter or touch my body. So I continue to have sex with him.
#metoo? A few years past. We aren’t together anymore. He takes me home from the club. I did not come there with him or hang out with him there, and I don’t remember consenting to him taking me home? But who knows, I’m drunk. He takes me home, but comes to sleep with me without my consent and has sex with me while I’m half-passed out. I know what is happening. I feel so much disgust and push him off drunkenly. He isn’t able to finish.
#metoo? There is a boy I am really infatuated with. I allow him to have sex with me. Because I like him a lot. LIKE A LOT. (though I didn’t even want to). I was scared to say no in fear he would not like me anymore. I remember being outside our school. He harshly reaches into my shirt and grabs my breast. I jerk away. I feel so violated. This is someone I really like? Why is he being this way to me? This is not right.
#metoo? There is a person I love and am in a relationship with. I knock on his door one day. He smells of the drug substance he likes to use. He looks a little out of it. I want to check in on how he is doing since I didn’t see him much that day. He pulls me in. This is closer to the beginning of our relationship. We have been having sex. This week, maybe a little too much. I am feeling quite sore down there and know I want to rest. He is smiling and pushes me and pushes me until I fall onto the bed. I tell him I don’t want to. He is just trying to sound silly, harmless, and comforting. But I tell him no. I am still sore and I don’t want to. Yet he precedes to get on top of me. I close my legs together. I tell him please not to do it. It is as if my cries pushes him on more to do it. He pulls down my pants as I struggle. He says he doesn’t understand why he likes having sex with me so much. I am trying to push him off and he struggles to penetrate me. After a few attempts, he is finally able to. It hurts immensely. I close my eyes and my whole body tenses up because of the pain. It is burning over and over. The only thing I can do is hold on to him because of the pain and bare it until he wants to be done. I wonder is that rape? I’m not sure. But I feel horrible. That day, I realize, that in our relationship, I have no power over my body. I don’t have the right to say no. I give myself to him whenever he wants. I feel worthless. I feel powerless. It confirms that my voice, my thoughts, and my feelings, as how I felt as a child was true. The message I internalize is that no one truly cared about how I felt or what I needed in order to care for myself. Not even the person I love.
I used to feel immense shame about these situations. I still sometimes do and constantly get re-triggered as I am now working in a profession where I am implementing a sexual violence prevention program and am reading up on all the information.
I’m sad to say that there are more instances than what I’ve shared. I blamed myself because I let them do it to me. I blamed myself for not being strong enough. BUT ALL THESE THINGS. WASN’T MY FAULT. I KNOW NOW.
I’m not here to make myself seem innocent of any wrong doings nor am I trying to demonize these people, as I’ve continued to heal from these situations and have found deep compassion and forgiveness for these individuals, yet IT DOES NOT JUSTIFY THEIR ACTIONS.
I am telling my story, because I know I am not the only one that experienced these kind of things in my intimate relationships. I used to think it WASN’T rape or sexual assault because they were someone I liked, I willingly allowed them to, or they were my intimate partners. Many times I said YES, because I was scared. I didn’t fully understand what it was, and felt like I HAD to say yes.
But that’s what makes it confusing, because they also did good things for me and this made me re-think and question if what they did was wrong? But I want to tell you, if you ever feel GUILTY, SHAMEFUL, HIGH/INTENSE NERVOUSNESS AND ANXIETY, NUMB, OR SCARED when engaging in sex, sexual activity, OR EVEN CONSENTING, that is coercion and pressure. DON’T DO IT. That’s not TRUE CONSENT in my eyes. You should feel good when you say yes. BE AWARE LADIES. You MAY NOT REALIZE there and then, but IT WILL CAUSE YOU UNSETTLING TRAUMA that you will have to deal with later on; FEELINGS OF WORTHLESSNESS, POWERLESSNESS, LOW-CONFIDENCE, CHASING VALIDATION FROM MEN, SUICIDE.
If you judge me then this isn’t for you. I share this because at 16, I wished someone cared enough to ask me how I was doing, or if I was feeling comfortable in my relationships. I was scared and did not have an older person who was there to openly listen to me without judgment. I just kept putting myself into unhealthy situations where I got sexually assaulted over and over without realizing it.
This is NOT my battered story nor am I seeking sympathy. I want to share my story, to show you, my beautiful girl, no matter what has happened to you, how you feel about yourself, bad things you’ve done and endured, you can always rise up from everything and become whole, healthy, and fulfilled. You can begin embarking on your true path and despite anything, you can find healing.
Daaamn You’re Beautiful. Don’t ever forget that. Take your Body Back. It’s yours.
❤ Wabi Sabi
In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. #metoo?