Trigger warning: sexual assault, grooming
This is going to be very different from what I normally write. If you are a friend of mine, I would appreciate a check-in with me before you read this. If you are new, welcome. I’m sure this found you for a reason. I don’t want to submit this. I will anyway.
This will be a note to a specific individual, but I will make it as generic as possible.
I’ve not been myself since I was a child. I gave myself up in favor of survival. I don’t know when exactly it happened; it must have been gradual. Maybe I simply never got the chance to be myself, but didn’t notice until later.
Either way, you had no right to tell me who I was. You didn’t know; I didn’t even know. You acted like you knew.
Or maybe I’m being dramatic. Maybe you saw right through.
You could have been good for me. We could have been good for each other, I think. You could have been a teacher; could have been a friend, a protector. You could have benefited from my non-judgemental, non-anxious, healing presence for years and years. Instead, you led the relationship down the wrong path. You acted like I had a choice. You acted like I could comprehend the decision you put in front of me; you acted like I’d do anything other than what you wanted me to do. You knew what I was going to say; you worked hard to make sure I would say it. Worked to make sure I would do what you wanted.
The fear I lived in for the following years was not fun. Unexplainable. Every time I heard from you, I hoped it would be the last time. I hoped you would be done with me after that. Every time I saw you, I left crying. I used to think it was because I was sad to leave you. Now I realize it was tears of relief. I used to pray that someone would get me out of the situation. I knew it would take an act of God to get you away from me.
I never felt safe with you. Sometimes when I was with you, I felt different, stronger, older versions of myself comforting me. I know what safety with another feels like now; something I thought I would never get.
You acted like you were wise. You told me you’d successfully argued with a priest about whether or not sex before marriage was a sin. Were you lying? Now, of course, I believe the church should be left out of sex. Most of those rules are sexist and patriarchal anyway, or even added later. But at that point in my life, I felt safe in the church; that story was like trying to assert your dominance over that part of my life.
I don’t even remember how many times we met. I don’t remember how many times we talked. I tried so, so hard to forget while I was experiencing. To forget as soon as I got back home. Honestly, it worked; memories are still coming back to me now. Each one paints you in a different light; sometimes it makes me feel pity for you, sometimes it makes me angry, sometimes sad.
I don’t miss you, though. Not even before anything “bad” happened; I could always tell what you wanted. You made it clear. The first time we talked, you were sure to present yourself in a trustworthy, though slightly dangerous, loving individual. I needed someone to love me, I think you could tell. I don’t reminisce over any stage of that relationship; it was all too obviously unhealthy. The only thing I wish I could change is the interviews. I didn’t answer honestly, I didn’t even know that’s what I was doing that morning. I thought I had a day off school for shopping, I didn’t know I’d have to talk to child protective services. I’d be more clear. I’d not shame myself, but be honest and let the truth shame you. During the deposition, I would not have been worried about you and what you think. You were trying to read what I thought of you, still. Trying to be in control of the situation, as usual. You couldn’t use your words, so you made it clear with your body language and facial expressions. But I didn’t really look at your face. I could tell you were trying to decide whether you were going to leave me alone for the rest of my life, or try to find me as soon as the no contact order is up. I am a worrier, always have been. I was doing my best to lessen the impact on you. I should have been worrying about me.
We all have light and darkness. You and I know you have a lot of darkness. You know what you didn’t have to do? You didn’t have to try to unload all your darkness on me. You didn’t have to try to teach a 14-year-old how to have hard, kinky sex with an full-grown adult. I can’t believe you convinced me that was normal. I can’t believe you convinced yourself that was normal.
Now that I’m older, I know the reason your mouth always sounded and felt and tasted like that. Your mouth wasn’t warm and welcoming at all, like other mouths I had felt. Your tongue was tough and dry and didn’t feel like a muscle. It felt like a prod. It hurt when you sucked on my lips and bit them. It sounded gross when you kissed me ears and neck. You were a stoner, right? You smoked all the time, that’s why your mouth was so gross?
I guess I can’t rely on your memory, then. I was hoping I would be able to ask you questions, but your memories are skewed too. I remember scenes, snapshots almost. What do you remember? How many times did we meet? How many times did you force yourself on me? How many times did you take me from my family? I don’t think you ever asked me to send you pictures, but how many times did you ask me to sext? How many times did you ask me to betray myself, my family?
I hope you can remember. I hope you never forget about what you did to me. No amount of drugs will every erase from your memory how you violated me. I also hope you heal; fully heal. I’ll be surprised if it happens to you in this lifetime, I think you may have caused too much harm to face. Maybe in the next life, or maybe you have a lot of healing to do in this lifetime.