I wasn’t planning on being another author of a #metoo blog post but sitting around in silence and reading so many articles this past week have not only brought up triggers of my past but they’ve also resonated with me and inspired me to say something, even if I choose to remain anonymous so that one more person knows that they’re not alone.
I’ve seen so many come forward in solidarity. Some of which are my friends. I had no idea. I so badly want to message them and say, I get it. Me too, me too. But I’m scared, well and truly scared. I’ve lived in fear for so long that it’s so hard to find the balls to come forward and reach out.
The more I think about it, the more I realise that every person has probably come into contact with some form of sexual abuse. No matter how small it is… abuse is abuse and that is not ok.
Sadly, it has happened to me more times than I can remember. I’m not trying to victimise myself – in fact as hard as it is to admit, it has probably contributed to the person I am today.
I actually don’t remember when it first happened or how. Parts of my life are still a blur but what I do know is that I was around 14 and it was an unwanted kiss. Just a kiss I thought. But I guess that was the first time I gave a man the benefit of doubt.
As I got older, my experiences were worse. Being over sheltered at home made me more rebellious when out and more accepting when people of the opposite sex gave me attention, even if it was inappropriate. I was clueless and only learnt what I did from movies. I’d fantasise over fairy tale endings and be in search of a happy ever after. But when you’re a young teenager one tends not to listen to parents and believe that they know better. Oh, silly me.
I definitely wasn’t OK with it though and it certainly didn’t make me accepting of it either but my experiences left me with no voice. I was ashamed. Angry. Hurt. And overcome with guilt. That guilt though, it’s a bitch.
I’ve lived with the guilt for years and the more time passes, the more guilty I feel.
I scrub myself more times a day than you could imagine and I still don’t feel clean. I barely wear white and my legs are very seldom on show unless I’m abroad because for some reason I’m more accepting of myself when I’m not near home.
It’s still too painful to go into detail on what happened – I’m just not there yet. But now that I have kids and my friends have kids, we have a responsibility to teach them that behaviour like this, it’s not ok. We have the opportunity to teach the next generation to talk, so that they know that no matter what, they are not alone, they do have a voice and no means no. Because that’s something that those representing #metoo were never able to do and it needs to change.
cover image taken from instagram