I see a lot of my friends posting ‘me, too’ in my Facebook feed. It shows the magnitude of how many sexual assaults happen. It shows how many women have been harassed in their lifetimes.
I came out with one of my stories back in March 2017. It was public on my Facebook wall (I think I’ve taken it off public since), which was a mistake as I’ve had anti-vaxxers use it against me. But there are new folks on my feed. And I think I’m finally okay with reliving what I’ve been through.
I was being catcalled in 7th and 8th grade when I would walk home from school. Cat calls are nothing new. And if I could have done anything about them then, I would have. But I couldn’t.
In 7th grade, in the rectory of my grade school church, (I went to Catholic school, where we wore uniforms) while I was waiting for my mom to pick me up on a warm afternoon, a classmate came to me, and asked me, in some kind of desperate voice if I wanted to see it.
“See what?” I asked, just a kid full of naivety. He began unbuckling his pants. He was unzipping them when I sprinted from the building, horrified. I never really told anyone outside of my family and a few friends because I was embarrassed. Not for me, but for him. I didn’t understand the gravity of what had happened and my family laughed it off.
I was a studious kid, all the way through high school and while I managed to date someone my junior-senior year, we never went much further than making out — slobbery, wet, kisses, telltale of people who didn’t have the slightest clue what they were doing.
When I was 22, I walked to Park of Roses in early October with someone I thought was a friend. I wore an ankle length skirt, and a grey t-shirt. When we got to the park, we made out a bit. Me, still a virgin with little idea of how sex worked and having only had 1 boyfriend previously, was a little excited. It was new. He was cute. But I broke away to catch my breath and figure out what was going on because this guy was a little heavy on the kisses and he was beginning to kiss my neck. I told him to wait. I needed to figure out what was happening because I didn’t understand why it was going so fast.
The next thing I knew, his dick was in my mouth. I went immediately into shock. I never said that was okay. I never consented to it. When I finally got him off of me, I walked away. He followed me and told me no one would believe me if I went to the police and that his father was a lawyer and he would just make the charges go away. I never went to the police.
When I told my mom about it later, she told me I was showing off my hickeys and obviously wanted it and that wearing a skirt made it seem like I wanted to fuck him.
Fast forward to 24. I was living with a guy and we had sex from time to time but weren’t entirely official. We didn’t share a room, but he would badger me for sex until I relented. Not to mention he had also previously told me that if I didn’t fuck him, if I had friends coming over, he’d fuck my friends instead, and followed through.
This particular incident, we had sex earlier in the day, played some beer pong and smoked a bowl. I went to bed. As I’m trying to go to sleep, he walks in.
“Hey, so, about earlier, when we had sex? I think the condom broke.”
“Okay? If you’re that worried, go get the Plan B pill in the morning? I’m really tired, I just want to sleep.”
I was asleep a few moments later, face buried in my cotton pillowcase.
When I woke up the next morning, I was naked from the waist down, in our bathtub, with something warm, brown and sticky running down the tub, and up my back. There was an empty glass bottle of Coke on the edge of the sink.
I woke him up screaming. I demanded to know what happened. He told me it was a Coke Bottle Abortion and that I had given him permission. To those of you unaware, a Coke Bottle Abortion is perpetuated by the belief that Coke kills everything and because it can presumably dissolve a steak, that it can kill sperm. Point of fact: it cannot kill sperm.
He poured a bottle of Coke into my vagina. While I was unconscious.
When I told the police, they told me that because I lived with him, there was nothing they could do.
I’m only saying all of this now because I want it out there that there are things that women go through that we don’t tell anyone. We don’t tell anyone because we’re not believed and we are shamed for speaking out and we are shamed into silence for wanting justice. This culture that we, as a society have fostered and allowed to grow at a cancerous rate, shames and silences victims and glorifies their attackers.
Because of what happened to me, intimacy scares me more than anything. As much as I am asexual I am also terrified of my potential partners, not because they have done anything wrong, but because they could. As much as I crave touch, I cannot handle touch because it scares me unless I initiate it. I can’t be hugged unless I initiate it. I can’t cuddle anyone unless I initiate it. I can’t do anything unless it’s on my terms.
This is not how we should live.
So I mean this earnestly when I say, this culture of silence and shame must end, and we must learn to believe the victims. No longer can we allow for people to get away with what they’ve done.
To all victims of assault, I’m with you. I’m always with you.