I’ve debated whether to write this or not as I know many women all over the world have debated whether to share their stories as well. In my case, it’s gotten to the point where I realized I no longer have a choice but to share what happened to me, too.
I’ve realized the decision to not talk more about this story, a few people in my life know about it, comes from fear. But the inability to share my story has led to far too much pain and discomfort and has manifested itself as endometriosis. So I find myself with no other choice than to share.
When I was six years old, two neighbor boys one my age and another older than me by a couple of years, I ended up in the back of my Dad’s broken down cheroco pinned down. It all started playing house and ended with the young boys deciding that they would have sex with me.
I was terrified and screaming as one pretended to drive and the other tried to spread apart my legs. I can still remember the pain in my upper thighs from trying desperately to hold my legs together. Eerily a similar feeling I have as a symptom of my new endometriosis diagnosis. By the grace of God their little sister who was there playing too knew it wasn’t right and ran home to tell her parents what was happening. From there I only remember being swaddled by my angry and scared mother and crying. The aftermath is a blur of finding out that they had been ‘beaten’ by their Dad as punishment. I remember that it became hushed after that and not talked about again for years.
I remember as the years past feeling bad for the boys that they had been beaten, that I had gotten them in trouble. I remember continuing on like it was nothing, playing with the boys and even developing a crush on one later in life. The years passed and as a teen ager my mom brought it up one time, angry at the memory. I was too but couldn’t admit it and snapped at her for mentioning it. I felt ashamed about it, afraid to address it.
I can’t count how many times after that I’ve been grabbed, pinched, butt-slapped, had horribly perverted things said to me, etc. and I’ve laughed it off, brushed it off or only been made temporarily angry by it enough to speak out or do something more permanent. I felt as though that was my role to make things easier but not saying anything. To have defended myself or someone else in a similar situation would’ve caused discomfort and I’ve always wanted to avoid that.
Take care of things quickly and make the problem go away was the action taken in response to what happened to me. Out of fear, out of a lot of things I’m sure and I forgive the people involved and the lack of responsibility taken. But I am no longer afraid to speak out about it. It’s important because things like this don’t go away.
Years later, when I was still living with my mom and had just come home from work, one of these young boys now a grown man, was back to check out the neighborhood and wanted to come inside the house. I could tell he was drunk and that uncomfortable, sick fear rose again in my throat, a similar feeling I’d had when I was six and in the back of that car. The whole short time he was there reminiscing I kept the front door wide open like I used to when I was afraid someone might be in the house. It was silly and irrational but I felt safer.
He left eventually but it reminds me today that it never goes away, you have to talk about it, address it, hold the people accountable because living your life in fear is just not an option. Tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth. Share your story. Further, be someone who other people can share their story with. It’s because of fear, discomfort, shame and judgement that we don’t share our stories. Allow other people to feel comfortable sharing something with you, be there for them, do what you can to help them.
It reminds me why this is happening in our country today. We have a reality TV star president to promotes ‘grabbing pussy’ and describes his relationship to women as one where we let him ‘do whatever he wants.’ We idolize sports figures who in their private lives physical and sexual abuse the women in their lives. We watch Woody Allen movies without thinking about if the rape and molestation of his daughter are true, we are shocked when people like musical artist Kesha’s story abuse sexual assault and abuse in the music industry comes out and find it in our hearts to demonize people like Tiger Woods for adulator-us, yes, but consensual sex but not equally men who rape, sexually assault, abuse and discriminate against.
When you marked Trump on the ballot you okayed sexual abuse toward women. When you bought that _____ jersey you okayed sexual abuse toward women. When you watched that Woody Allen movie you okayed molestation. It may not seems like it but not speaking up about it if you know it’s true makes you part of it. When you support
You may say that you don’t know for sure if all of these acts of sexual abuse by women is true or that you didn’t know about it. That’s fair. Then I challenge to see where in your life sexual discrimination, assault or abuse toward women exists in your life because it is no doubt there. It may be subtle, like a joke between co-workers that doesn’t paint someone in the best light or a comment about a woman’s size or shape at work. It may be more obvious like your girlfriends husband that gets a little too aggressive when he drinks. Maybe you notice a boy in your kids class who is mean and abusive to all the girls in class. Maybe that boy is your son. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, speak out about it. The women of the world need you too.
School photo of me in the second grade around the time my me too story occurred
If you don’t feel inspired to do this I would ask you to consider the women in your life-the mothers, daughters, sisters, cousins, wives, aunts, nieces, grandmothers, great-grandmothers and granddaughters. What are we teaching them is OK in our daily lives and interactions with others? How are we defining what a women is and what male female relationships should look like?
I learned that it was my duty to let go of what happened to me, not to talk about for fear that I would make people uncomfortable because it made me uncomfortable. I see the boys now as grown men here and there through social media and I wonder….I wonder if they know what they did was wrong and if they think about it today. I wonder if I made a mistake by not telling my story sooner. If it could’ve helped more young girls or grown women. I wonder why it’s just become the norm to not talk about these things and how life can just go on. But the best I can do now is share my story, forgive everyone involved and strive to change.
This new me requires me to put my foot down in relationships when I know something is good or bad for me. It means making decisions for me and using my voice to speak up about wrong doings. It means taking responsibility for my own wrong doings. The timing of finding out that I possibly have endometriosis colliding with a time in history that we as people and more importantly women, are finding the courage to come out and tell our stories, is no coincidence. As I’ve mentioned before, any female ailment related to the vagina, ovaries, uterus, etc, can be related to sexual abuse, shame regarding femininity, femaleness and the female body. I can’t ignore this revelation and I’m happy for this message my pain has been trying to get across to me and am grateful for my endometriosis.
Now, I’m working toward forgiving the boys now men, for what they did, their parents and their strict religion, my mom and myself for letting fear hold us back from what we knew was right, my dad being for being absent from this as he was most things at that time in my life and everyone else involved in the hiding of this secret. I understand know why and how this could’ve happened because as it turns out we all had one thing in common, we were afraid.
I’d like to be the first of us to stand up and say that what happened to me was wrong. It should’ve been acknowledged, talked about and some resource should’ve been brought in after such a traumatic experience. The boys should’ve received help not punishment in the form of physical abuse however, I’m not entirely sure of their truth and what happened to them. I only know that it was back to normal, playing on our neighbors lawn and I played along because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do.
Even sitting here now I feel bad for the people involved. Should I be writing this post? What if one of the men were to read it? I fear them being held responsible Well, I’ve heard that voice before, that fear and this time, I’m telling it to take the backseat, someone else is driving.
*Do you have a me too story? I encourage you to share it here or in whatever style/platform is comfortable for you. The more we talk about it, the more we heal ❤