I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. And you do not get to water down what that means.
I was a child threatened, held down, forced, ridiculed, mentally tortured, and verbally assaulted for power. I experienced fear, hate and a longing for love all within a second of time.
I tried to be good, better, well behaved, or quiet in hopes of receiving some sort of praise that I was good enough, part of the family, and desired as a stepchild. I never received such praise or love. The ‘step’ part of my being meant nothing and I was convinced I was simply unwanted and a detached piece of trash that often times was ignored in punishment. You know, when I did not comply.
I was fearfully cornered in my room, with nowhere to hide. I was held down in the middle of the night, haunted and completely frozen in fear. His vile and disgusting war stories still linger in my memory, recited for the joy of reaction, or to instill some sort of sick compassion for my abuser. I would take long walks in the freezing cold just to be out of the house. I would lock myself in the bathroom and take long, cold baths, just to be free.
You don’t get to water down what rape, abuse, assault or molestation truly are.
I was not flirting at the dinner table, or batting my eyelashes in the car ride home. I was not trying to move up a ladder to a bright future and career. I was not an adult with the capabilities of saying NO, fighting, leaving, or never accepting an unwanted invitation in the first place. I never walked into a hotel room with my abuser thinking he wanted to talk. If I entered any room alone with that man, I knew exactly what would happen. The opposite end of the house was my best friend. I was a child and I fully understood boundaries, while mine were completely abused.
Out of fear, I never told the police. I was an innocent child. I had not grown to be the woman I am today. Guilt was the weapon used to keep me quiet. Threats of harm to my family was the sword at my throat.
You made a conscious decision to avoid reporting the man who abused his power to abuse you. Maybe his words were inappropriate, or his hands found places they never should. You chose to remain quiet out of your own fear. I understand that. I even understand that you kept quiet because you needed your job. Just know, when you come out years later, people are not so kind. They will not understand, and they will not support you. You were harassed or assaulted. I am sorry.
You were raped. Held down under the weight of a rapist, and could not get out. You tried so hard, but your strength was no match for his. He knew you personally, and where you lived, so you never told the police. I understand. You were so ashamed you could not come forward. When you choose to share your story year’s later, people will question why you did not go to the police, and it will make you feel horrible. I understand. I am sorry.
You knowingly began a sexual encounter with a man who invited you to his apartment in the middle of the night. Then you wanted to stop. He pressured you but never forced you. You did not leave. You felt fear, but indulged him. You obliged his sexual desires even if you were not that interested. Again, he never forced you. You could have left at any point, but you stayed anyhow. You felt attacked, though you were not. You felt abused, though you were not. I understand those feelings, but this is not assault and this is not rape. This woman engaged in a sexual encounter that stomped a bit on her dignity, left her feeling dirty and uncomfortable, and ultimately was your own big mistake. Still, I am sorry.
We must learn from our mistakes.
However, I will not let you water down my story while trying to bring attention to yours.