TRIGGER WARNING rape
I was 14 the first time I was raped. He was 21. It was my fault though.
I had been staying the night at my best friend’s house. Her mom was young (she was 15 when she had her). A single mom with 3 kids. She worked a lot of hours. A day job at a retail store and a night job at a local bar. She didn’t receive any child support from the father of her children and they lived in a rundown trailer park. My best friend was dating a friend of the man who raped me. He was 22 I believe. They were so fun and so cool, and they had a car! They picked us up that night and took us to a cemetery near their apartment. They bought us alcohol and I remember drinking from the time we climbed into the vehicle. I WAS 14! After the cemetery they took us back to their apartment. It was fun. We were laughing and talking. I was the girl with the attitude and it was the first time I learned to let men make mean jokes towards me for being loud and outspoken. It’s been a lot of years since then and I don’t fully remember the night, but I know I ended up on a mattress in the bedroom with that man. I remember being back at my friend’s house and all of them laughing and joking about it. I remember being called a slut and a ho. I remember never telling my parents and I remember beginning to believe I was all the negative things our society says women are. I WAS 14! After that I remeber all the times I let men touch men when I didn’t want them to. I remember saying no, then saying no again, and again, but finally giving in. I remember hating myself from that day forward. I remember the few men I have confided in over the years all telling me it was my fault. I remember girlfriends I confided in laughing it off or telling me their similar stories and then we’d go about our days.
And I remember last week, when at 44 years of age I went on a date with a man who is 56. I remember how he kept grabbing my hand and touching my back, hugging me and trying to get a kiss and all I could do was laugh it off. I couldn’t speak up and say “No”. I couldn’t utter the words, “I don’t like that” or “that makes me uncomfortable”. What kind of 44 year old woman can’t handle a little hand holding and a kiss? I have 4 kids for God’s sake! Just let the man show these little bits of affection. It’s innocent enough!
I saw my therapist on Wednesday. I cried so hard she had to remind me to breathe, Several times. And then I cried some more and the tears are flowing as I type this. I cried for that 14 year old girl. And I cried for that same girl when she was 12 and the boy took her in his tent at the camp ground and he convinced her to touch it and she hated it. and there was no adult to protect her and when she returned to her own camp sight her own father asked her where she had been and called her a floosy. SHE WAS 12!
What kind of father, what kind of society blames a 12 year old girl? What kind of society tells a 14 year old girl it is her fault when a 22 year old man rapes her? What kind of society conditions so many women to believe they are less than? They are undeserving of body autonomy? I wish I could have been there for that little girl who was me. I wish I could have held her and told her it wasn’t her fault and to stay strong. That she was worthy. That no man had the right to touch her body without her full and open consent! I would make sure she knew so she wouldn’t become me! She wouldn’t have learned to just let them do it and get it over with so you can get out of the situation. She wouldn’t have learned to settle and put up with 2 unhealthy and abusive relationships. She wouldn’t have family who supported her abusers and continued the cycle of victim blaming. She wouldn’t be me and I would be okay with that. I am thankful I have worked through the suicidal ideation and won’t make another attempt, but I wish I was the woman I could have been. I wish I could go back to when I was 10 and start over.