Trigger Warning: This post will discuss sexual assault and sexual harassment.
I have been honest in the past on this blog about some of the things I went through as a child. Many people in my life and long time readers know I was molested as a child and that I also witnessed abuse when I was a very young child. I have been honest about going to therapy and how I dealt with these traumas because I feel it is important for other people to know they are not alone in what they go through.
I know that the things I lived through and witnessed were terrible. By the time I was 6 I had already witnessed physical and sexual abuse as well as verbal abuse. My earliest memories are of scary things and people I love crying and being hurt.
At an early age I was already forming my desire to support and care for people around me. I was already becoming the protector and warrior. I wanted nothing more than to keep my mom and my little sister safe, but at the age of 5 it is hard to do that.
Flash forward to later in life, I was assaulted by a family member. And as scary as it was, I still pulled myself together and went back into that room to protect the other little kids that were there too.
That person died several years ago. I won’t lie, I hope he burns in agony for eternity. His name is not uttered by me, he is not remembered on the family altar at Samhain and I have take steps to put up protective wards to keep his spirit (if its lingering) away from my loved ones and myself. That asshole can turn to dust and worm food.
Now those things were horrific, I know that and people are always very supportive. The problem is, this world is toxic and other sneaky things happen to females all over the world. Things that people brush off. Things that aren’t considered “bad”. Part of the #metoo talked about harassment. I think people forget how damaging it can be, because, “nothing really happens to you”.
I hit puberty early. I remember my step-dad’s best friend calling me Dolly Parton and making comments about my budding breasts. At the time it was just a “funny” joke, but now I think “Why were you sexualizing a 9 year old?”
In grade 5 kids followed me home yelling at me that I was a slut and a whore. Why? because a boy had said he liked me. Somehow that meant I was to blame.
In grade 8 I had a man who was old enough to be my grandpa, drive around the block to drive past me again and hang out his window yelling about how yummy I looked and what he would like to do to me.
In grade 9 I had a boy push me down, yank my pants down and try to rape me. Thankfully, he got so over excited he came all over himself rather than hurting me, but it was a shaming experience and also a very scary one. At the time I was so shocked I didn’t even know how to react. A few years later when I saw him again and we were talking I brought it up and he was shocked that I thought he was trying to “rape me”. He thought he had loved me so obviously he didn’t think it was rape.
In grade 9 a group of us went to the school counselor to discuss how inappropriate we thought our male gym teachers behaviour was. He would come into the locker room to yell at us while we were changing, and he often stared at us in weird ways, made us feel uncomfortable and was a little touchy feely. The counselor asked us if we were really sure anything bad was happening, because allegations like this could ruin a person’s life. After some discussion we decided to drop it. I don’t even think anything was done to look into our concerns.
Things like this over and over in my life and in the lives of millions of females teach us that our voice doesn’t matter. I can dig up many more examples as I get older of things said and done that were harassment, but I won’t.
As I am raising a little boy, I think about what we say and do and how it will influence him. My husband and I had a good discussion last night about the little things that we do and say that are misogynistic. He was open to talking about it and we are going to continue to work on these things to help get rid of those tiny little toxic things that can lead to bigger problems. My husband is not a misogynist, but as a white man in this world he knows he has things to work on. Things that the culture say are “ok” even if they aren’t. I appreciate that he is willing to have these hard conversations with me and wants to make the world a better place for our kids.
We have some hard days ahead as we look at our words and our actions. There will be moments of frustration and anger, but it will be worth it to do the work. As I stare at my precious son I know it will be worth it. Guiding him to be the wonderful person I know he can be will always be worth it.
As hard as it is to write about these things, I am healed enough that I can talk about them. Not everyone can. Not every person can share their story, or even write metoo. Not every person wants to talk about it. That is their choice, and I support them in it. For those of you who are out there dealing with anything. I am here for you. I support you. I believe you.