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Every Girl Has a Story of Sexual Abuse

October 1, 2009

pc-1023Every girl has a story, you know the kind of story where she’s walking home and she turns a corner and she stumbles upon a man masturbating or heck maybe she’s been followed on the street by anonymous cars. Whatever the situation, we all have one, a story where we’ve felt imposed upon by someone else’s sexual wants, a story where we were scared for our lives and suddenly felt utterly vulnerable, because and only because we were female. 

If you’re the owner of a vagina, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Chances are you’ve experienced a variety of situations where you felt scared and for good reason, because of some perv. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, ask your mother, ask your sister, ask your friends, they’ve all got one, there’s no such thing as a girl with no past. Not only do they all have their own experiences to live with, but they’ve all heard countless variations of the same stories of abuse. Rape and sexual abuse are not solely a female experience, but the ingrained daily fear that they produce is. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked home alone at night and been petrified for my life. You think that being petrified for one’s life would imply a fear of death, but no, what I’m talking about is the fear of an event that you have no control over (no matter how many precautions you take), an event that destroys your life in more ways than one. 

Two years ago, a man followed me into a empty school building and stood behind me, while I was standing at a computer station, with his pants around his ankles and his dick in his hands. The building was deserted and I thought I was the only one there until I heard a strangely familiar sound. I turned around to see a man, who I recognized from earlier that day, standing behind me jerking-off. I felt frozen on the spot, but within seconds I was walking away. When I realized I left my purse next to the computer terminal, I turned back and was now face to face with this person. He apologized while buckling his belt and made up some random excuse. I shook it off and told him not to worry and that he had just scared me. I then got the hell out of there and walked to my friends house.

Adrenaline was pumping through my veins, I was scared to death. My friends immediately told me to call the police and campus security. The strange thing is, that had nobody mentioned calling the police, I never would have thought of it myself. I felt ashamed for making it “ok” for him, by apologizing and excusing his behavior when he was the one completely out of hand. It’s also the kind of crime that nobody can anything about, or so it seems. The man was long gone and there was nothing linking him to what happens besides what I remembered of his physical appearance. It seemed pointless of me to say anything to the cops, because what would it change in the first place. 

Reporting what he did as a crime, gave me the opportunity to say that what had happened wasn’t “ok”, that it was wrong and that a person should be held accountable for their actions. The truth is that they never did catch the guy, at least not to my knowledge, but I did something and my action hopefully made it a little easier for someone else to speak up and bring their attacker to justice. This man may not have physically assaulted me, after all he didn’t touch me, but for weeks afterwards every time I saw an older man with the slightest physical resemblance I was scared, every time I would see a man when I was walking alone on the street I would be afraid. 

And that is just one incident among many. I was never raped, but I have been in some situations where the lines started to blur and I have most certainly been in many situations where there was no other possible reaction than fear. 

My mother is paranoid about the fact that I write about these things. She’s afraid that it will get me hurt. Just now, on the phone she told me that there has always been rape, molestation and incest. That apparently the world we live is Hell and that writing about these things won’t change a damn thing, because there will always be sin and bad people to do bad things. The fact that she would say these things tells me how fucked up the world really is, because that’s not how she raised me. She raised me to stand up for myself and to speak up when something was not right, but when you live an entire life around these ideas and you never see a change, and worst of all you get hurt in the process, it can harden you.

I don’t know what kind of change I can possibly hope for with this blog, I really don’t know what it will do, if anything. I just can’t shake the feeling that talking about it all is the first step… towards something of worth.  

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 2, 2009 10:45 pm

    I think talking about this kind of thing is very important, because although we all have these stories, we also all know it’s wrong that we do. And often, we can say in hindsight, “Oh, I should’ve done this…” and decide what we could have done, or what we will do if it happens again.

    However, I also think we need to start DOING things and SAYING things to people who do things we know are wrong. We have to start with the small stuff, like people who make fun of us (or others), who are rude to us (or others), who make us uncomfortable or make us feel like we have to change our behaviours because of something they do. Because we are taught to be polite. Canadians especially. Everyone is so afraid of not being viewed as polite that they will let almost anything go without comment. To the point of not speaking up if the back door on the bus won’t open.

    In New York, you just yell, “Yo! Back door!” and the driver will respond. In Canada, you just keep pressing the button that isn’t working and sighing to yourself, and then head to the front instead, all without saying a word.

    We have to practice using our voices, and even yelling, so that we are confident when we need to be.

  2. October 2, 2009 11:19 pm

    We do tend to be apologetic to the people who hurt us, but it some situations it’s probably a good course of action. If you’re in a precarious situation with a possible rapist/attacker you want to diffuse the situation and not antagonize him (or her), but I agree we do have to stand up for ourselves and for other people as well.

    I never gave much thought to the whole Canadian’s are so apologetic thing, but your bus example is a good one. If I was standing back there, pressing the button and waiting for it to open, I probably wouldn’t have spoken up until the bus started to move again and then I would have yelled, something like “sorry, SORRY, back door wouldn’t open!” I don’t know if it’s because I don’t want to be perceived as an asshole or I don’t want someone to be an asshole to me in return.

  3. October 8, 2009 2:09 am

    http://hummingbunny.wordpress.com/2008/04/12/i-hav/

    I wrote this last year and it’s called “Because I have a vagina…” I thought you find it interesting.

  4. October 8, 2009 2:17 pm

    Thanks for the link Brian!

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