This isn’t going to be a nice post. It’s going to be raw. It’s possibly going to hurt you as much as it does me to write. But the time for silence has ended. What is said here, shared here, needs to be said and shared.
I believe women and men when they say they’ve been assaulted. I understand exactly why they don’t come forward for 30 years. Because I have my own story to share about being assaulted and staying silent.
If you don’t want to read any further, I understand. May you find solace in your own way.
It started when I was 8. A neighbor boy (brother to my best friend at the time) had spent some time with other family and came back, saying he learned a new game. He wanted all of us to play.
At the time, there were around 7 in the neighborhood gang. 3 boys, 4 girls. Ages were 7-10 or 11. He was the oldest.
The next two years were filled with him grooming us to his whims. Him teaching the other boys how to do the same. Touching, molestation, and rape. I remember one time when he said that sometimes ‘boys just need to do this’. With no care about me whatsoever.
My sister (older) broke free of the situation, tried to talk to our parents. She was called a slut and whore, and that we didn’t talk about the neighbors that way.
I tried to break free. He threatened me, blackmailed me. Said he’d kill my cats, or tell my parents I’d done things to him.
One day, he threatened to rape me on our front lawn if I didn’t let him in the house so he could do so on my bed. That’s the day I tried to tell my parents.
My mom, on the phone, told me I had to ‘calm down’ and stop overreacting so I didn’t frighten a younger cousin who was staying with us. That night, my dad walked across the street to talk to the father of the boy. All I know was that he came back and told me I was never to have anything to do with that family again.
It was never reported to the police. Because it wouldn’t look good on our family name.
I hid within myself for another 30 years. I ignored what I wanted, tried to please everyone else, so they wouldn’t hurt me for saying no. I pushed aside my own hopes and dreams and stayed numb, certain that I was damaged goods.
I met my husband while I was in therapy (again). He loves me for who I am, even with the days where I’m out of sorts and can’t explain why. Even when there’s days when I don’t want my own skin touching me.
Ten years ago, I started to write. There’s a lot of me in my characters. I put them through the same sort of hell I lived. Why?
Because I draw strength from theirs. If they can get out and be a survivor, so can I. I know, because I heal myself as I heal them through the words I write.
Almost 2 years ago, my youngest was assaulted. During a class where the lecture was on consent, of all things. I was guided by them as to charges, etc. They were stronger than I ever was, ready to testify in court. The decision, every step of the way, was theirs. The miscreant pled out, and our youngest has moved on.
It’s easier for them because they got to see the legal system believe them. They saw parents and staff around them take immediate action.
So, yeah, for some of us it does take 30+ years. Because we weren’t believed then. Because we were made to believe we were to blame in some way. That ‘boys will be boys’.
I believe Dr. Ford. I believe Ms. Anita Hill. I believe every single story of survival I hear. Because I know the pain of not being believed.