Updated: Jul 1, 2018
It’s taken me a while to actually write this blog post. I attribute it not to the fact that it’s necessarily hard to write about (although it’s not my favorite thing to talk about), but more so the fact that I used to think that my hardships look like nothing compared to what girls I know have gone through. But as I was thinking deep thoughts in the shower today (as most of us do) I thought to myself: “No. I WILL NOT play down what happened to me just because others have or because I feel like it’s not 'bad enough' to share with others”. And now here I am, sitting on my couch with wet hair about to tell you why I can and will say “Me Too”.
Unfortunately, it started out as a friendship…
The sad part about my “me too” experience is that it involved someone I believed to be my friend. We had known each other for years, and I felt like I could trust him. Sadly I was proven wrong in a way I wish I hadn't been. That “friend” molested me. Or sexually assaulted me. Or whatever you want to call it. What I call it is wrong, disgusting, and ultimately life-altering (although I didn’t know it at the time). I won’t go into details about what happened to me, but I will tell you that I was never raped and that what happened never happened again.
My abuser victim-blamed me…
This is where I went from really hurt and traumatized to pissed off. A few days after the incident, my sister could tell that something was wrong so she asked me about it. I broke down and finally told her about what had happened to me. Needless to say, she was almost more furious than I was and told the adults who needed to know right away (I was a teenager at the time). For some reason, those adults thought it was a good idea to bring that guy into the same room and “apologize” to me. How nice and sweet of him… if you can call victim-blaming an apology. He told me and the adults who made him talk to me that he did what he did because I let him hold my hand. You read that right. I LET HIM HOLD MY HAND. OF COURSE! Now I understand why he assaulted me! It all makes sense now! If I let someone hold my hand, then I am apparently offering them to molest me. All joking aside, I was able to tell that kid off to his face and never talk to him after that again.
His dad covered it up…
The formerly mentioned adults did actually play a big part in some kind of restoration for me. They met with my parents (who are freaking amazing) and they were (in not too many words) so angry at this kid and sad that something like this could happen to me in what they thought was a safe place. The unnamed adults also told the dad of the teen who assaulted me. Want to know what he did? He asked them not to tell his wife about their son because he didn't think she could handle it! Ummm….. WHAT? So his mom has never known what her son did to me and probably never will.
A few years later I found out…
So as mentioned above, I always thought that my story didn't really matter much, and that maybe somehow I really had asked for it. So I went a few years without really talking about it. Then about two years ago, I was talking with a friend of a friend randomly about this guy. For some reason I used his real name instead of calling him “a guy I knew” or “a pig”. As soon as his name came out of my mouth, this girl was not really surprised. She actually told me that that same guy had done pretty much the same thing to her because she had gone out on a date with him. The feelings I felt after she told me that were so mixed.
- I felt sad for her and the other girls that she knew about that had been assaulted by him.
- I was angry at myself for not talking openly about him to other girls that knew him because I probably could have stopped him from hurting many other girls.
- I felt a sense of relief that I could now fully know and believe that I was not the cause of my assault. He had been a pig even before I was assaulted.
- It gave me more reason and passion to talk about my “Me Too" experience with others.
My experience has given me a platform…
Although I cannot say that I’m one of those girls who has forgiven her abuser, I can thank this person for giving me a platform to talk to other girls about abuse. While what happened to me pales in comparison to what other women have gone through, I have used it regardless to help and push them to be the women I know they are. I was tearfully sharing my story with around 20 campers at summer camp a few years ago. Afterward, this girl came up to me and said something like: “your story really spoke to me. Can we talk outside for a bit?” An hour later she finished telling me her abuse story that she hadn’t told anyone before. I told the people I needed to tell, and I hoped and prayed that she would get the help that she needed. I cannot begin to tell you what an impact that camper had on my life, but I can tell you that she is a huge part of the reason I am writing you my story today. While this experience initially left me angry and bitter, God actually pursued me more after it and has given me multiple opportunities to speak truth into other girls' lives. I have experienced Christ's love and comfort in my life more because of this event, and He has allowed me to turn what was intended to be harmful into something so good.
Other’s experiences do not negate your own…
I believed the lie that my story didn't matter because others' were worse for so long. Don’t make the mistake I did by waiting to face it and share it. If you haven't told someone you trust about your story, tell it. If you haven't reported the jerk who hurt you, report them. If you haven't shared your story with those it needs to be shared with, share it.
Do not let anyone victim-blame you.
Do not believe the lie that your story doesn’t matter.
Do not let your story hinder you from becoming the woman (or man) that you know you can and should be.
Men and women all around the world have an abuse story. See them. Love them. Listen to them. And, if you are one of them, I see you, I love you, and I want to hear your story.