Me too.

I did not elaborate when I posted to Facebook, because, well… I have shame. I am so embarrassed to say that I didn’t know which time to share. I have been sexually abused as both a child and and adult. I have been slapped in the face by grown men, choked against a refrigerator, back handed, had my hair pulled, my “pussy grabbed”, I have been beaten… all on separate occasions. I didn’t think it was important to speak specifically at first. Until I started reading other people’s stories. I think we have to talk about what actually happened, because I can say that I was raped, and you already put your walls up, you already have a preconceived notion of what rape looks like. Do you know what mine looked like? Do you know what mine felt like?

Someone very fucking dear to me was brutally raped a few months ago. I feel the need in this case to say “brutally” because society puts rape in categories. Rape is rape. And you need to know the details. And you need to think about your daughter, and your wife, your sister, your niece, your mother. You need to make this personal because it is. Because your Facebook feed is blowing up with “me too’s”, and you don’t want to think about it.

When I was about four years old, my neighbor molested me. He was a child too, and he was probably molested himself. (Do you see me making excuses?) It wasn’t ok for him to do the things he did to me. Even if he was molested. It’s not ok. I was too young to know better, and he presented it as a game. I felt so uncomfortable and gross and confused. I did not stop him. And it went on for months. I was four.

When I was about eight years old a man, and older man who looked like he may have been someone’s grandpa (I fucking hope not) molested me and two other girls. One of them had been repeatedly molested by him, he asked her to invite her friends over to go swimming. I was eight.

When I was fifteen a boy put his hand in my back pocket during a prayer (remember I was in a cult and we went on “double dates” and purity culture was very prominent.), I didn’t stop him because I did not want to make a fuss. And I actually had a crush on him. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t like him touching me, it was that he knew better. I “confessed” the next day, and he denied it, and I was rebuked for lying. And of course I had already been chewed out for not stopping him initially. This situation shaped me in many ways. This was the day I learned that men could get away with anything if no one else witnessed it. And that women would be blamed for anything a man did. I was fifteen.

When I was eighteen I was at a party and my friend had left with some guy. I didn’t have a ride home, so I asked the guy who owned the house if I could stay there, but specifically if I could sleep in his room with the door locked until everyone left. He assured me that he was the only one with a key. He gave that key to this guy I had been talking to that night. I planned on maybe seeing him again. His name in my phone was “Josh Guitar Guy”. I don’t think I will ever forget that. Josh Guitar Guy used the key and climbed into bed with me. I woke up to him pulling off my jeans. I pushed back, I tried to sit up, I told him to stop, I said “NO.” He covered my mouth and I stopped resisting. I stopped because inside my head I thought, “It’s not rape if you just let it happen” and I was so scared. I didn’t sleep for weeks. I was eighteen.

A week later I was held down and forced to watch my friend be raped on the ground outside of an abandoned house. I was the one who showered her after, and watched blood pour out of her. I wiped the dirt off of her face. I put ice on her neck, her swollen bruised neck, where his hands had been. Her vagina looked like it had been turned inside out. I was still eighteen.

When I was nineteen I went to a party with friends and was introduced to a drinking game. I had never played one ( I should point out that at this point I had not been under the influence for ANY of these situations, I had not discovered wine yet, I didn’t really drink.) so I didn’t know that you should not drink in between hands. I ended up throwing up in the back yard. I blacked out. My “friend”, Carl who was in his thirties picked me up and took me upstairs. I know that’s how I got there because the other people at the party watched him drop me on the stairs. He took my pants off. I woke up the next morning to his penis between my legs as he was trying to have sex with me (again??). I pushed him away and demanded to know where my pants were, he said that I had thrown up on them so he “had” to take them off. And he slept in the bed with me because he was “really worried about me”. I threw up most of that day, and never spoke with Carl again. I was nineteen.

Not long after this situation I met the boyfriend who never actually hit me, but would not stand up for me when his brothers would hit me, touch me and verbally abuse me. He also emotionally abused me. He unplugged wires in my car so I could not leave without permission. He would park directly behind my car so i couldn’t back out of the driveway. He took me to the bank after I would get my paycheck and I gave him all my money every time I got paid. He read my journals and my texts. He followed me when I went anywhere without him. He interrogated my friends, my family and me. I was stuck, and so alone because over time I wasn’t “allowed” to go anywhere other than work. He guilted me into sex, and forced me to have sex with him. Ok no, he raped me.

When I was twenty his brother kept putting is hand up my dress and called me a slut and a whore. When I defended myself all hell broke lose. I’m still surprised I survived that day. I was twenty.

I am thirty now. In the last ten years I have been groped by strangers more times than I can count. Videotaped during sex without permission. Coerced and blackmailed and manipulated into sex. While I have responsibility to take, I will not do that here because the point is that I have been abused sexually and otherwise countless times. It’s NOT ok. And I will not be shamed into silence. I am pretty sure that a few of my abusers are reading this, and to you, I need to say that

You hurt me.

I lived in fear for years because of you.

I have nightmares because of you.

I don’t trust myself because of you.

My body belongs to me.

It was not my fault.

Karma is real, and I trust that you will get what you deserve.

To anyone who needs support, I am here. You did not deserve what has happened to you, you did not ask for it. I believe you.