My earliest memories consist of being at my grandma’s house and playing barbies with my cousins. Legos, barbies, and cartoons all children like myself wanted... But why did he start touching me like that? What makes someone think to do that to a young child? Did he learn that from someone else or did it happen to him as well? Regardless of the reason, it was happening to me... I never really understood what was going on just that it happened often and not by only one person.. My whole life has been sexualized, I just can’t get away from it. It happened for 5 years I grew up with it... being touched in between my legs had become the norm for me.. playing daddy and mommy, being a patient, being a toy... I’m not even sure how I feel about it even today... He and they took something from me but I don’t remember what it was or if I can even say I’ve ever had it... is that why I’m so messed up now? Am I trying to heal myself by being messed up in the head today? Doubtful... It took him getting caught by his sister for me to finally talk up. She knew what he was doing to me. She recognized what he was doing, because he had done that to her too... my cousin a few yours older than myself knew what her big brother was doing to me and wanted to stop him... she saw a 9 year old girl being taken advantage of, I wonder what went through her mind.. no one talks about it anymore so I can’t just ask her...
I am the survivor of many years of documented domestic abuse and recently filed for a divorce. Unfortunately, the court system is stacked against the victim/survivor because we often lack the resources necessary to hire competent representation and if we can, the attorney’s lack of sensitivity toward their clients. This can make it very uncomfortable for both, because the attorneys client is dealing with issues they know nothing about, which causing more trauma and many times victim-shaming by the person who is supposed to be protecting them, without them even realizing it. This often causes a PTSD response from the victim/survivor making the attorney think their client is literally out of their mind half the time and making the victim/survivor not trust the attorney to know what is best for them.
I would first like to start this off by saying this isn't a hypothetical analysis on what the potential effects sexual misconduct can have on a victim. I am here as a victim of sexual assault. I speak on behalf of experience.
My journey through abuse has been long, exhausting and at most times it felt never ending. I’ve spent most of my life feeling like I’m drowning and I’m still learning how to navigate through my life as an adult, even though I sometimes still feel like a vulnerable 10-year-old girl.
Let’s pick up a few shifts, as a side hustle while in school, I thought to myself. After all, working as a bartender or server in a high end restaurant in a big city can yield some nice cash. If you’re a student or at the beginning of a career with many expenses and zero third party support, making some extra bucks to alleviate the struggle is appealing. However, it comes at a price.
I… WE are NOT black sheep. WE are radiant glow-in-the-dark sheep. Not white, not red, blue, yellow, or any other ordinary primary colour. WE are the sheep that lead the way, the beacons of light that fought, survived and shattered cycles.
You used to be a good friend to me. My movie pal, my gym partner. When I got with someone that I had been close with for a bit, you weren’t happy. You’d start leaving the room if I got calls, you’d start being snappy with me and just downright mean. You never used to be like that with me ever. You were always careful with me because I’m often sick and frail. I never even neglected our friendship despite the relationship. It got bad, you got worse. You started shouting at me all the time, cornering me. I was scared, so scared of you. I never felt safe anymore and I didn’t know how to tell anyone. I ended up crying a lot. You got so mad the last night you stayed and you shoved me into the counter and raised your hand to me. I was terrified and crying. It was 2 AM and I begged you to calm down or the neighbors would complain. I was shaken. I finally managed to go to bed. You had a date the next day and I was happy for that. I always told you put yourself out there. I woke up to you touching me, and I tried to push you off and told you no please stop. You didn’t. You kept going and telling me how pretty my body was and it would be such a waste not to. I cried. I didn’t have the strength to shove you off and you kept me pinned. When you were done you fixed yourself up and left for your date. I had tears coming down my cheeks and laid there in silence. I curled up with a stuffed animal feeling so broken. I didn’t talk to anyone much at all. My partner didn’t even find out until later in the evening because of one of my roommates who I had cried to silently about it before passing back out. My partner was angry very angry. Authorities were called and you fled the state.
I’ve struggled with my body image for years. Even when I was tiny I thought I was fat, but this is not a story about body image in the usual sense. It took a lot of years of breaking emotionally and mentally for me to finally figure out that my self image isn’t mine. I was molested when I was 3 years old, and from that point on, I never felt comfortable with my body. I remember I would never undress in front of anyone, and when my mom had to bathe me I felt filthy, unpleasant and unusual. I was a child with body image issues. I grew up this way and no one understood; instead, family members made fun of me for it... I finally told my mom about what had happened and I think I was 5 years old by then. She tried to hide her pain but I could see it in her eyes as she told her sister. There was a family meeting and true to patriarchy and the burden of family, she was told not to lay charges against my cousin who had done this to me. I was taken to a doctor to get checked up and I suppose I was alright physically, but mentally and emotionally, I’ve carried the shame and disgust of my own self from the moment it happened...
I started modeling when I was 18, just a few months after I had given birth to my first child. I was married then, and my husband at the time was in the Army. I wanted to build a life more than just being a stay at home mom. That title didn't seem fulfilling enough for me.