This is something that is extremely terrifying for me. I thought about it all day, knowing that I would have to write it, feeling increasingly anxious as I waited for the moment to be able to. I think that #yesallwomen is a really important cause. So here are a small array of my experiences.
When I was a child, a relative of mine (he a year older than I) was convinced to start molesting me by a friend of his. I had a dumb crush on this friend at the time. It started slow, with this friend flirting with me, and eventually my relative and I were alone watching a show one night (he hacked and found Showgirls on some channel) and he talked me into playing a game called Roly Poly. I was in fifth grade. Throughout the years, that friend was discarded, other ones came. One kissed me. One tied me to a chair. Throughout all of it my relative was off and on inappropriate. I told my teacher about it once. I don’t remember what made me say it, but I remember feeling really stressed out, and I wouldn’t do my homework, and I blurted it out. She called social services, and I remember being visited by them in my mother’s office, and my mother saying, “If you tell people this, they will take your relative away. So think carefully before you tell them.” I told them I made it up.
Eventually the sexual acts got larger. Once he chased me into my room, pulled off my pants. I don’t remember what I did. I think I just cried. I can’t remember what happened after. I imagine he just left. Once he kept bothering me until I would go into a closet with him and touch his penis. Sometimes I’m still haunted by the feel of it. I remember thinking ‘If I do this, he will finally leave me alone.’ That happened a lot.
In Seventh Grade, I laid next to another relative of mine, and while we were napping he touched me inappropriate. I remember how it felt. I remember being told he was probably asleep. I still doubt it, but I’ve tried to believe it ever since. It didn’t change the way I felt afterwards while shivering in the back of the pick up, crying on the way to one of my favourite restaurants. I had to tell that relative to stop slapping my butt when I was in 8th grade, though nothing else happened besides that.
The first relative kept trying to blackmail me to do sexual acts, or catch me nude, until I was in High School. Also when I was in high school, an older man with a daughter my age, kept trying to get me to come to his house. He kept telling me he’d like to tell me out. My brother was friends with a LAN party, and so was I, and they harassed me constantly. One of his friends spied on me while I was changing.
When I went to the movies in 9th grade or so with a good male friend of mine, he put his fingers in my mouth. I remember thinking they tasted gross, and it was supposed to be sexy, and I pretended I didn’t mind because that’s what I was supposed to do and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. He thought we were having a good time, but I felt so much pressure at that point that I didn’t even say no.
Then I went to college. My first boyfriend’s roommate would tell me I should break up with my first boyfriend to date him. I didn’t. I felt no pressure at all from my first boyfriend and I couldn’t have been luckier to find a better guy.
I’ve been groped in clubs. I’ve been yelled at for not accepting someone’s affections when I’m not attracted in them, sometimes when I’ve got someone who I do like. I’ve been called a slut for it. Or a bitch. Many times I’ve been in the situation of saying no, having said it, but still being pressured and eventually giving in. I have had sex, not because I wanted to, but because someone wanted me to and I was scared they would be upset and ruin my life if I didn’t. I’ve been hit on by a married man, a director in my field, who would not stop hitting on me and using hiring me as an excuse to do so. One of the guys I liked screamed and broke stuff when I turned him down, it was terrifying….
This is just a short list of things right now, that I’ve experienced, and I know that #yesallwomen have experiences with most of these situations. That’s really sad, and it’s also sad how anxiety producing writing this is this is. It will infuriate some, will alienate others. I shouldn’t be so afraid of the backlash of writing this, even though I’ve already told many about my history. I hope it doesn’t, but I also hope that women, and men, can stop having these experiences.
this is the best