Right now, all over the news and social media is the horrific story of Vanessa Guillen and her tragic murder. The Army investigators say they have found no evidence of her being sexually harassed but her family thinks otherwise and I'm inclined to agree with them.Her death is one of many casualties of the United States military and its toxic culture issues. The military has long had a problem with sexual harassment/assault within its ranks and a reporting/ justice system that often harms the victims further. A large group of women veterans/servicewomen wrote a letter outlining demands to improve the failures of the service, titled “Women Vets & Servicewomen Demand #JusticeforVanessaGuillen - 4 July 2020”. I encourage you to give it a read, so many women risked putting their names out there and standing up for justice, that you can at least spend a moment to view it.
It all came to a head when I was 8 years old. The sexual abuse I had suffered for years was progressively getting worse. It started out rather innocently at first. My uncle cornered me more times than I can count while he was babysitting me. Sometimes when we were alone, he would grab me close to him and force me into a hug. He rubbed my bum in a circular motion that I came to despise. He said, "Come here and give your uncle a kiss.” I obeyed because I thought I had to. "Now give me a bigger one. Open your mouth,” he said as he pulled my head towards his.
Right now it doesn't matter if you are in the military or not, if you were ever sexually assaulted, molested, harassed or any way man handled in a way that you don't appreciate or you said no too; then you are my Battle. You are Vanessa Guillen's battle, because we have been there, I was just the unfortunate one to live.
As far as I can remember the living space was quite comfy. I was in my father's supervision throughout the course of the day. However, Larry was a militant black man. His strict nature was something that I couldn't get used to. Larry made living with him comfortable, however, he really knew how to kill a girl's fun.
February 2018, I was in the midst of a crisis. I was in an abusive relationship at the tender age of 17. Now a question you might ask is, why did you stay with him? Well, any woman that has been abused by a spouse, will say this. "I loved him".
I want to start this out by saying, that this is my story. It was my biggest kept secret. I hid the truth of what really happened that night, because for a long time- I wasn't even sure it constituted as assault I suffered for months and pushed down, bottled up and allowed my attack to remain a silent joy stealer in my life. Even now, I still have flash backs, And I question it all the time.
It’s surprising what can affect your memory. It’s even more surprising what can trigger a memory coming back to light. My mental health has always been the cause for, what I assumed was, memory loss. I’m sure at least in part it is memory loss, however I have also had memories come back. I’ve created memories to be what I wanted them to be and have had the real deal slap me in the face out of nowhere. Filing through what is real and what I’ve stowed away so deep that I thought light would never touch it is an extremely difficult process. Reconciling that my past is far more haunting than I realized has been extremely difficult. The line between protecting yourself and healing is far thinner than I anticipated. Perhaps the line is imaginary because within healing is growth, within healing is protection.