Trigger warning: Childhood sexual abuse.
See the title.
I don’t want to talk about this. I never have. I’ve been friends with people for years and never discussed this with them. I have people that I was seriously close to that have no idea. It’s not something that I want discuss, ever. After I finish this blog I’m probably not going to mention this or even think about it for ages. Maybe one day I’ll be able to work through my feelings on this, but not today. Probably not tomorrow. Probably not the day after that either.
I was sexually molested when I was five. I don’t remember a lot of it. Or even the majority of it. My memory from any age is fuzzy at best, but around these incidents it gets even hazier. The perpetrator was an older boy in my neighborhood. I remember the abuse entailing digital penetration, fondling, and other things of that nature. To be quite honest, I don’t remember everything that happened. Sometimes I have a clear memory of him telling me to do something, then my memory blanks out and I remember afterward the feeling of uneasiness and shame that always came with it.
Although I was well versed in bad touch and no means no at that age, I had no idea what was happening. I knew that I didn’t like it, but I was helpless to explain why or do anything to make it stop. I had been taught that sexual predators were older men who offered you glasses of lemonade. I had been taught that stopping them meant causing a scene and possibly breaking shit. I hadn’t been told that someone who called me a friend shouldn’t be trying to take off my underwear.
Even now, knowing that I was five and hardly at an age where I could make clear decisions for myself, I fumble to explain why I didn’t stop what was going on. Why I didn’t speak up about how it felt wrong and I didn’t like it. I wonder why I just stayed so submissive and passively allowed things to happen to me when I felt that they weren’t right. But honestly, I didn’t know what was wrong and I didn’t know what to do about it.
It was about ten years later before I even came to terms with what happened. For the longest time I just pushed it out of my mind because it made me uncomfortable or just ignored it completely. Whenever it was, it was over, so there was no point in worrying about it now, right? But finally, I sat myself down and really examined what happened between the two of us in his family’s unfinished basement and I realized that it wasn’t nothing.
I sometimes wonder if these events still have a lingering effect on me. After all, I’m no stranger to doing things with men that I didn’t want to do. Being coerced into sexual acts colored my entire early twenties. Convincing myself I was older and more in control, I allowed things to happen that I didn’t even want just to avoid displeasing someone that was never that interested in me to begin with.
When it comes down to it, I feel only a residual anger at myself for what happened. I don’t so much blame the other child, as I’ve read that sexually acting out is often a result of the child being abused themselves. I’m not sure what happened with him, but this was not a mutual exploration and a simple playing doctor. This was manipulative and coercive and definitely not a shared experience.
A lot of people have sexual abuse in this pasts, sadly. I’m just one of the many that carried their secret around for years, not even understanding exactly what the experience was. As much as we want to color sexual abuse as looking like one thing or being like one thing, it defies our carefully enacted public service announcements.
Regardless, I view this experience as something in the past that I don’t like to think about. Partly because I remember so little of it that it seems pointless to even try. I don’t want to remember everything that happened to me. Although I am never a fan of ignorance, I really just want to live in complete unknowing bliss when it comes to this topic. Maybe one day I can deal with my feelings towards this issue or even try to work through it. But for right now, back into the box it goes.