Trigger warning. Trigger warning. Trigger warning! If you are triggered by talk of rape, sexual abuse, underage drinking, underage smoking, mentions of drug use, allusions of parental abuse, victim blaming, vulgar language, etc. then do not read this story. This is your warning.
Before I was perfect. I was happy about almost everything. The one thing I didn't enjoy was school. There were very few people I knew that enjoyed school, so I was still normal. I went out with my friends. We were still young though so our parents would drive us around. Galactic bowling was our favorite pastime while getting kicked out of Walmart was one of our favorite challenges.
At nineteen I began dating "him." You know. The charismatic, fun-loving, happy-go-lucky guy that makes friends with every person he meets? The one that's obnoxiously friendly yet somehow wins you over? He was that guy... until he wasn't.
I was roughly 20 years old when I got into my first serious relationship. I had been severely depressed and desperate to find someone who would love me. In my mind, I was ugly, fat, and unlovable. I turned to the only thing I knew of at the time: Craigslist personal ads. That’s where I found him—let’s call him J.
Just before I left for vacation, I published two of my short stories on Amazon. One is about a ghost who witnesses her own funeral and features my most popular character. The other is a tale that I should have probably written more of, but in just 1,500 words I drive home the point about what males go through when they are sexually assaulted. It was a story that started out as one concept and morphed into this piece that I am incredibly proud of. While talking about it with a few writer friends, one of them said something that struck me. She told me I should use the hashtag me too to promote the story. The sheer cynicism in that statement shook me to my core.
Your friend, your sister, your coworker. Me too. Me too. Me too. We have all been surprised by the amount of friends, family and loved ones who have been posting, "Me too" on social media. This was started as a way to make people aware of the astonishing number of sexual assault victims there are and to give support to those who feel they are alone. I myself was shocked that so many of my dear friends have been victims of abuse and I never knew. I too have been a victim to sexual abuse as a teenager and after scrolling through my newsfeed I became all too aware that if I posted "Me too" it might also shock many of my friends and loved ones and I realized I was not ready for everyone to know about my most personal and private suffering. While I am no professional, I hope I can offer help and support in a different way to others who have suffered and are not ready to out themselves as a victim of this terrible abuse.
Why do people think that rape is something that you can just forget, like it never happened? It’s a violation. It’s a reminder that your body is not your own. Your body belongs to society. You have no choices; no say in who touches you, who penetrates your very soul. You are not a person, you are a piece of meat to be consumed, a toy to be played with.
I was 16 when I first realized that church deacons like 'em young. One night, I was an usher at a funeral for one of our deacons who had passed away. I went to the kitchen to take a breather for a moment. The church was packed with mourners, and having become close to the deacon and his family I was one of them but trying to comfort the others. It became a little too intense, and after reading the 23rd Psalm and almost breaking down, I thought I would hide for a moment until I regained composure.