Before you start reading this and decide to throw a fit, I am fully aware that women are guilty of sexual abuse as well. No matter what people say, statistics will not convey the full truth of any of this, since anyone can lie. However, this is my problem, my experience, my story, and I could not care less about your ego or your need to tell me that my issue is invalid because men experience it, too. I am not here to talk about someone else’s problem, I am here to talk about mine. If you want the other side of the story, seek another story.
So, here I was, frustrated with the things my brain threw at me because of this trauma, that trauma, the things I am dealing with, my current living conditions… so I decided to look for a cheaper way than a therapist to overcome a kind of trauma that far too many people share.
Harassment is its own kind of poison, and more often than not, after enough positive reinforcement and empowering thoughts, you tend to remember that you don’t have to take such intolerable behaviour towards you. Especially since so many people do it publicly, considering they are never taught that it is wrong, and it is somehow still socially acceptable to do strange, sexual things that violate another person’s boundaries, without asking. You can take free will and twist it into the most abhorrent thing at times. Just a bunch of incels running around and touching you in ways you do not wish to be touched, throwing words your way you do not wish to hear… and what do you get when you tell someone that is supposed to be compassionate?
Well, blame, of course. Good ol’ victim blaming, because how could a single man ever do anything wrong? You hear of a story about a woman getting murdered by her husband because he was high and she asked him to get help for his addiction, and what do the old crones say?
“It was her fault, she agitated him, why did she complain?”
For getting murdered. In cold blood. It was her fault.
And then you have the good side of these things, where a wonderful, grown woman stands up to these 60+ year olds who never took responsibility for their own ideologies and kept their internalised misogyny as prevalent as ever.
Anyway, got a little bit side-tracked here. The point I am trying to make is, whenever someone comes forth with a sexual assault story, they often face moronic reactions, unsupportive bigots who probably think they are somehow helping, and of course, all of these elements lead to people deciding to bottle it up, not talk about it, not mention it to anyone. To this day, I have no clue what would happen if I ever told any of my family what happened to me. And you know what kills me? It feels as if I somehow have to accept the discomfort I feel whenever it is around, like I have to just tolerate it. I have been a bit more vocal about how that creature is disgusting, and I voice my opinion whenever my close family members are involved, but that’s as far as I really go.
After years of stifling the idea, of feeling like I had to always be scared by myself, of confusion and just burying, burying, burying it all down, I finally told my sister what happened. After reading some things to see what I can do about the constantly peculiar invasive thoughts that I wanted to stop forever, I decided I wanted to tell my story to a wider audience. An audience that would not take it personally, try to make it about them, or put me in awkward or uncomfortable situations. So I am here today.
But first, I must focus on something that made my skin crawl.
You know what the reaction of the world seems to be to sexual abuse?
It was shocking to see that it seems like in so many parts of the world, sexual assault, abuse, etc., even to children, are apparently things that victims just have to accept are things that happen. I came across a website that claimed to be there to help victims, but why were they not doing anything to prevent it in the first place?
Is it because having victims means more money comes in from their treatment? Their therapy sessions and their other needs?
Instead of the world rallying against the disgusting behaviour of violating others, especially innocent children who do not even understand what is happening, we have a defeatist attitude towards something that should be purged. We claim to have reached a level of sentience and mental awareness that we should be able to conceptualise of higher thoughts, intellectual lifestyles, creative pursuits, knowledge, etc. And yet, we are too weak and miserable to take real action against sexual assault?
Why should I have to recover after experiencing something like that? Why do the attackers so frequently go free? Why is the world constructed in a way where it is terrifying for a woman or a girl to speak up, to tell the world around her, especially the fuckers that are supposed to protect her, when someone violates her body? Why is there a website that seems to proudly proclaim, ‘every x seconds someone is getting sexually assaulted’ and ‘every 9 minutes it’s a child’?
Is it supposed to make me feel better, or worse? Because to me, it just screams ‘it’s happening and we don’t care to even try to stop it, but here, you should know just how bad it is’.
I also don’t care if you think I am somehow diminishing the problem. Everyone is always so eager to tell me, especially being a woman and voicing any slightly controversial opinion — especially things that point out their bigotry, sexism, or other stupid proclivities — in front of a man, and having them tell me it’s so much more complicated than I think, it’s not that easy, it takes a lot of work, blah blah blah blah blah shut. The. Fuck. Up.
I can smell your lack of understanding in your breath, but of course, you have to seem smarter and more capable of solving complex issues in your head, so you act like you know better.
I don’t give a shit about how hard you say it is. Difficult things can have brilliant solutions if we think about them long enough. I’m a physicist, I can prove that.
I tried to come up with some kind of initial solution that would spread awareness of this extremely present and revolting issue, at the very least. For example, we now live in an age where phones are everywhere. Even 3 year olds have their own phones. Why not take that sad fact and use it to make something like an app that can alert caretakers or even the police or whomever you trust to come protect you, to come to your current location at the click of a button? Install an emergency mode, make it so they don’t have to unlock their phone and go through those extra steps to be able to call for help. When that kind of shit is happening to you, especially when an older creep is touching you in ways that make you want to burn your skin — it is not your fault, it is not your fault, it is not your fault, you are not responsible for a fucking worthless piece of shit’s actions — you frequently freeze up. It’s hard to think of what to do.
We can use technology to create escape routes and prevention plans for anyone who might experience sexual assault. This planet houses our species and so many others, every person should have the right to walk where they please, go where they wish, experience what they like. No one should be forced to actively avoid something or some place simply because of who they are or what their biology is.
I am not joking when I say almost every woman I know experienced some kind of sexual assault or harassment or worse. That was actually a big factor in me coming here and writing this.
I also want to say a few more things.
When someone is so shit that they do something like that to you, regardless of their reasoning or whatever — they lose the fucking right to be thought of as human. You do not have to try to understand your attacker. You do not have to treat them the way you do decent human beings around you. Or any random human being. Most people, especially when they mature, develop a standard for treating everyone, stranger or not. Your sense of awareness grows, you are more capable of understanding that the being before you is a human being. Just like you are a full human being, with your own rights, your own feelings, thoughts, autonomy, agency and decisions.
Your attacker does not deserve your sympathy. If that thing, if a person is actually capable of doing something like that to someone else — especially, I repeat, to a fucking child! — they forfeit their humanity. Willingly. Humans are based on their actions, and when they do things to you that they are fully aware are not okay, you stomp on them like the cockroach they are. Just stomp stomp stomp fucking stomp why won’t you die.
You owe them nothing. You are free to grow and love and be loved.
It’s especially bad when you go through a bunch of trauma, develop PTSD, begin healing from the PTSD and really recovering, but find yourself feeling a bit stuck in an ancient memory that plays in your head on repeat. It’s so vivid and terrifying, until you fucking claim it and own it and just go all out violent in your head, bashing their ugly face in, their ugly fucking skull, realising that they are just that one creature and not everyone is like them, learning to not trust anyone quickly and easily and taking your precautions, watching for weirdo red flags… you can take your own safety in your hands, you can claim your agency and your freedom.
I am mostly writing this because I am furious and sorrowful and hateful and sick of feeling like this because of one insignificant creature.
I used to think, that thing had a child? Like someone actually allowed it? What if the child ends up being assaulted? Because some things just never change. And you know, at big family gatherings, in the unfortunate event where it visits, I can still feel a disgusting creepy gaze my way. I either glare or actively avoid them.
I think, if it ever happens again, I’m gonna go a bit more aggressive with my words. And you know what would be great? If his wife would be there, so I can be like, your wife is right here, why the fuck are you staring at your cousin you sicko bitch bastard fuckface? Someone should take your child away from you so you don’t touch them in a weird way and continue the cycle.
And I don’t care who hears. The entire world should know, honestly. Probably why I am writing this.
So, what exactly happened to me? It’s very simple. You might try to diminish or undermine my experience, because apparently it has to be rape or you’re not allowed to be traumatised.
I already know that anyone who experienced anything similar, especially if they are a decent human being, will not do anything of the sort. Empathy seems common in the world of sexual abuse.
Anyway. I was a child, a preteen, in fact, barely just going through puberty. I mean I think I just had my first period a couple of months before. Like 3–4? We were out of town, at a house my nan owns in another city, for the summer holidays and for other reasons. I was outside, playing as children did before technology locked them all indoors and snuffed out the lights of imagination, in a safe space where a large group of us were laughing and running around and just enjoying the day.
We decided to play hide and seek. Everyone ran off in a direction to hide. I was hiding, all excited, against a wall of the house, in an opening that was installed by architectural design against the wall. Like a little crevice. In front of me were these raised garden platforms sealed off by marble. Imagine a knee-high fence of marble with a rectangular hole between the external walls of the villa and said fence. In that hole was fresh dirt and plants of all kinds.
It was hot, as summer tended to be back then, but not unbearably so, as it is now. With all the running and moving, I was catching my breath while waiting for my body to cool off.
My eldest cousin, aka my eldest uncle’s son (I was 11 and he was like 19 or 22, I honestly have no clue but quite a bit older than me) decided to be a total creep and follow me. When he found me, he cornered me, said weird shit to me I didn’t really understand because I was uncomfortable already and it just got weirder and weirder, and then he got too close, I never in my life even thought what happened would, I was just a fucking child and his hand should be chopped off, until he literally stuck his hand down my shirt. He just forced it down there and kept it there and he told me he, get this, the biggest fucking joke of the century, loved me. What kind of sicko does something like that?
I began to panic, I hated everything about what was happening, I wanted to kick him, peel my skin off, run, just run. And that was what I did. I ran and ran and ran and ran inside and hid and showered and cried. I had no idea what to do, I felt so disgusting and humiliated and scared and unsafe.
Thinking about it right now still makes me feel absolutely disgusted. And, no, I do not give a single fuck what his kind was taught. Not a single other person did anything like that to me, from my entire family, so he was a singularly disgusting piece of shit.
I have come to call him an it, it’s easy to dehumanise people who have wronged you for so long. It’s easier to say creature, it, but at the end of the day, a person did those things to you. Whatever abuse you faced, from your father, your cousins, your mother, whoever else, yeah, those were people.
The people that were supposed to come to your aid and protect you.
Oh, and, of course, since I never really had a father, he was always useless and not at all present, I had no clue what to do. And who do you even tell such a thing? Would they even believe you? People tend to believe the older man over the younger girl, because biases exist everywhere.
Whom do you go to? Whom do you tell?
Well, you know what? You can tell the whole fucking world in an angry outraged furious disgusted repulsed post about the piece of shit who did that to you.
Tell everyone. Everyone should know.
And you owe them nothing. You are free to move on, you are free to get better, you are free to live the life you want.
Put in the work, life is flavoured with effort. Believe me, at the end of the day, it is worth it, because you will reap the benefits.
Don’t give up on yourself, don’t toss yourself aside. You are allowed to live.
I heard it from a survivor before, and it made me feel better, so here it is: you are free.
You are free to live your life, move on and get better.
And with this post, with my life decisions, I know I will move on and get better.
Thank you for listening to my story.
I would be happy to hear yours. Sometimes you just need someone to listen, and I have been told I’m excellent at that.