*Trigger Warning: Discussion of Sexual Abuse and Violence*
It’s currently 5am and I decided to wake up after a night of tossing and turning. Some of you may be familiar with the Standford rape case with Brock Turner and the victim/survivor. I’ve been reading up on the case and after reading the rape victim’s letter in full wanted to stand up to talk about my own experiences with college sexual assault that were never really talked about.
None of them were nearly as violent as the Standford case and in all honesty I considered them normal. Normal for me maybe more so than others because I had been raised as a sexual assault victim from the age of 6 and up. The first man who molested me was a babysitter and far older. I have to believe I wasn’t his only victim. After 7 years of abuse, he agreed to a plea agreement which got him two years in county jail because he had ‘good behavior‘.
The second most prominent case for me in my childhood was my stepbrother who was 7 years older than me. When I finally told about the abuse after he pulled his dick out, stuffed it in a Ziploc bag, and attempted to get me to have sex with him. Anger has seemed to do a lot for me to stand up on my own two feet and fight for myself. My stepbrother received nothing more than a slap on the wrist because he was still a minor (14 when I was 7), he was just experimenting…it was harmless…and boys will be boys**.
Needless to say, that as I entered high school I began to resent a lot of people and myself. To stop the cycle I had seemed to find myself in I decided to write my 10th-grade memoir on my first abuser and the experience. I have no idea if I helped anyone, but it felt right to be able to stand up and speak.
Fast forward to college…cue alcohol, PTSD, and boys. I remember a party shortly after I turned 21 I was very drunk sitting in between two of my male ‘friends’ who were also drinking. They both decided that since we had just played strip poker and I was naked that fingering me was more than fine. They only stopped because another one of my friends came out, saw them, and asked them what the hell they were doing. I knew what was going on so I thought it was my fault. I believed that no one cared and that it was just me (as if I weren’t worth speaking up for). I know that I have an easier time standing up for other more than myself. Thinking that my body was for others. It seems crazy looking back that my work now as an exotic dancer is one of the first times in my life that I like and understand my body. The power I have in my work to walk away from someone who is disrespectful to me is powerful, to me.
In the victim’s letter that she wrote to the court, she described being there for other victims even if they never knew her. I’m here to say much the same. That speaking out against what happened to you or someone you know is a choice. You don’t have to speak if you don’t want to, but please remember that even if what happened to you is never spoken of or the people brought to justice that it did happen. That you have a right to feel how you feel. That you are not alone. For the men that have also been sexually assaulted, you are not alone either. Being male or female doesn’t make sexual assault any less traumatizing. I see myself in this woman and that is why I wanted to share my experiences with you. Even in short. To let you know that you will be okay, and that I will stand by you even if we never meet.
As a mother, I’m gripped with fear of her getting older. I want to protect her, but don’t want to shelter her. I’m not sure if that’s possible to do. I suppose only time will tell.
Please feel free to comment or message me if you like. Thank you for allowing me to share my experience with you.
**Later I will take apart this saying and explain why I think it’s one of the most toxic.