The first time I remember being sexually assaulted I was ten. At the time I didn’t realize that it was “not normal” that not all little girls were subjected to what I was. I thought it was normal for boys older than you to lie in wait until you were naked in the privacy of your own bedroom. Then at the most vulnerable moment leap out at you, gawk at you, make suggestive comments about your body and then leave when you screamed loud enough to perhaps draw the attention of a neighbor. Not a parent, because both mine worked, so it was easy for the neighbor boys to gain access via hanging with my older brother.
I didn’t think it was wrong. I thought it was just what boys did. I didn’t have anybody telling me any differently, nor did I tell anybody that it was happening to me because someway, somehow I felt as though I brought it on myself, by simply being a girl.
In the 6th grade early one hot summer evening, five boys that I went to school with tricked me by covering the peephole in my door. I thought it was my baby brother, who was outside playing, goofing around like he always did, so I opened the door. They rushed in. Grabbing at me, trying to push me to the floor, trying to undo my pants. I fought for my life. Clawing. Kicking. Screaming. I managed to get away out onto the balcony of our apartment yelling at the top of my lungs for help…they ran away. We got them kicked out of school, some of them were later charged, and we moved to a completely different side of the city. I still don’t sleep with my windows open…
Then when I was twelve I had sex for the first time. Not consensual, at all. He threatened to tell people that I smoked if I told anybody what happened. When I finally did, as an adult I was shut down. He said it never happened, and he had to be right, because boys don’t lie.
Between the ages of 12-14 I was groped on numerous occasions by a step grandfather. A old man with nicotine stained fingers, with breath stale of cigarettes breathing down my neck as he whispered sexual profanities into my ears. This went on for years because nobody could know that this was happening because it would break my grandmothers heart. So I did my best to “just stay away from him” at every family gathering, but he was a predator who always managed to find me alone, even if I was just going to the basement fridge to grab a soda. I cried at his funeral. Giant full body tears. I was accused of being a liar once again, because after all why do you cry so much over the death of somebody who was so vile to you for so many years? You cry because you’re relieved. You cry because it’s finally over. You cry because you feel such intense guilt about being so happy that somebody died.
Then there were countless times I was groped, pinned against walls, lockers all in the name of “being felt up” by a boy who had taken me out to dinner, or a party, and now it was their right to “get some” from you. The boys endured no shame, I got slut written on my locker, and was named a pet peeve for half a graduating class.
I hadn’t really planned on sharing my story in this fashion. But all the madness surrounding Donald Trump the leaked video, Kelly Oxford and her ask for stories had me thinking maybe it was time. I knew that I would share it “one day” because it resonates so deeply in my soul that it’s important that other women know that sexual assault and rape don’t have to destroy you. You can rise up after it. In fact, you MUST rise up after it, especially when you have no voice, when nobody will believe you, you must show them that the acts that were carried out against you did not destroy, nor will anybody’s disbelief that it happened. The final straw was the speech of FLOTUS that put me over the edge, that resonated deep within my soul that today was the day. So now, when you read my posts of complete intolerance at being shoved, hit, or bullied by any man, perhaps now you will understand where it comes from. It comes from a young girl, who at eighteen decided that no matter what else ever happened in my life I would not be a victim to another living breathing male. I was done with that. And then the universe gifted me with a man named Yannick and I was blessed. Together we healed me, and have raised three of the strongest women you will ever come across, and I know each and every day that I have won. And I want you to believe that wherever you are in your healing, you too will win.
You are stronger than they are.
You deserve to live a life filled with beauty, honor, worth, love and joy.
You are not who they made you feel like you were.
You are you. Beautiful. Wonderful. Pure. Worthy. Valuable. Remarkable.
You are a woman.