I don’t want to share many specifics, but I do think it’s important for people who have suffered sexual abuse to say something, if they can.
It was when I was 5, it was several times, and it wasn’t a family member. I think abuse has a binary side (did it happen, yes or no) as well as a spectrum. No sexual abuse is acceptable, but once it happens I can be thankful that it could have been far worse.
I saw a photo of him recently, and it wasn’t something I was looking for. I found that I wasn’t angry with him. But it made clear why I’m so assertive about my personal boundaries, why I don’t trust authority, and why doing things on my own is safer than counting on others.
It reminded me of the first time I had to spot something unacceptable and stand up for myself. I put a stop to it myself. That hard lesson has hardened into one of my defining characteristics – my ability to say no – and has improved my whole life. I can hate a lesson and love my education.
To the person that did it to me: you shouldn’t have done what you did. But it made me a better person. I hope you became a better person too.