I believe the women #MeToo
I soothed myself with an internal debate how that tongue incident wasn't as bad as some of the other assaults I had endured over my young years. When it happened I had been babysitting a young girl and her brother. Their mother's boyfriend came home earlier than expected. That boyfriend was my attacker. The kids were in their beds when he barged in the apartment. I was watching t.v. in the living room. It was just a matter of minutes when I found myself trying to wiggle out of that chair and flee. Flee, I did. I went to a neighbor's house, a friend of our family's. I didn't say a word about what had just happened. I learned early on how to keep ownership of someone else's shame. I do remember when I did get a ride home, on the radio was the song I Love a Rainy Night by Eddie Rabbitt. As soon as the song came on the radio I could picture Eddie Rabbitt singing it...the man who just attacked me had a beard like the singer and looked like him. To this day, three plus decades later, if I hear that song I have to fight the urge to vomit...vomit that memory out of my system.
With headlines being what they are lately with Alabama's Roy Moore, that incident- terrible memory- has resurfaced. My memory is of a crime that was committed. A crime that greatly affected the young girl I was and the aftermath would have a negative impact on the young woman I became - it taught me how to be silent - it taught me I didn't matter. It, along with all those other incidents of sexual assault, whittled away at my confidence and ate any self esteem I may have had to the point I was no longer important to myself. The perfect recipe for a perfect storm that I said 'I Do' to. My building blocks.
Can I prove this happened? In a court of law would there be enough evidence to prove that he and others used their power over a child for twisted pleasure? No. All there appears to be is my word, even though you could dissect my path, my life, and see all the symptoms of low self esteem and PTSD from the crimes against a little girl.
When I lived as a victim I thought I was alone, as a survivor I know there are others. Our life stories are important and MUST be told so we can guide those living as a victim to the path of being a survivor.
I do live with a guilt. It is one I am not sure I will ever be able to rid myself of and I know there are others like me who carry knowing that silence has probably allowed for our attackers to lengthen their trophy list. I stayed silent for too long and I wonder about how life would be different if I told when all of these things happened to me. Society was different back then - this was not talked about, and even though I didn't know better, I still wonder.
Having said that, I do have a worry about the surge of exposure sexual assault is getting. I worry that once the political rollercoaster ride our country is trapped on is finally over, the strides being made will be forgotten and society will return to our short attention spans, and the reality show we live will move on to a different topic. Look how quickly we've forgotten about Cosby's accusers...Clinton's....and Trump's.
Sexual assault is a felony. Child sexual assault is a felony. One of the hardest felony crimes to prove when time has passed and evidence is washed away. Sex was the tool for an out of control twisted mind to feel power over another. The abuser uses it as a branding iron into their victim's psyche. The violence from the crime lingers - the pain can still be felt decades later..there's no amount of attempts of numbing the pain that will work. The only thing that does work is when that victim reclaims their life from the hold others have on it and the best way to get there is fresh air. Opening those memory vaults and letting out why someone else held the combination for so long, too long.
So, keep telling your truths -
Even as the political rollercoaster comes to an end...keep telling your truths.
I believe the women.