Monday, October 24, 2016

Sexual Assault is NOT a Joke

I have been holding off posting this, I just wasn't sure that I wanted to go public with such a private matter in my life.  Even after all these years and knowing what I know now, there is still that twinge of fear and shame. The words sexual assault have been tossed around recently until they have almost no meaning any more. People have said that it is "boys will be boys" and the talk of sexual violations has been deemed "locker room talk".  I want to tell everyone reading that sexual assault is very much real and devastating.

I was sexually assaulted at the age of 15, every school day for over a year, by a teacher.  I was a naive 15 year old.  But this man groped, grabbed, kissed and fondled me every school day, and I cried every school night, and some days too.  I remember feeling ashamed and fearful.  I remember feeling like my body was not my own.  I remember wishing with all my heart that someone would figure it out and set me free. I was afraid to say a word.  I was paralyzed.  I lived day to day until I finally gathered together enough courage to tell him to stop. I remember realizing, at that point, that he was more afraid of me telling someone, than I was in all of my fear.  Would anyone have believed me? I don't know.  But I never told anyone for a very long time.

I worked through much of this with a couple of college professors that really helped me process what had happened and my feeling about everything.  I told Jackson and a couple of close friends, and that is it.  I have kept it in all these years.  More fear I guess.

But I need to say something now, share my story.  Sexual assault is not a game, it is not something to laugh at, or set aside.  It is real, it hurts, and it shows something about the character of the perpetrator. Don't sweep it under the rug, shed light into the dark.  Remember all the stories you have heard over the past weeks as you head to the polls.  Remember me, remember my hurt, remember my fear, See my face as you vote. Remember the lives devastated by sexual assault and ask yourself if this is what you want to see in your president.  Sexual assault changes a person, it changes the course of their life, how they live, how they think about the world and about themselves.

I carry ALL of my baggage proudly now, as it is what has made me the woman I am today. I feel that the events of my life have helped birth (with a huge amount of work) a strong, confident, powerful woman, and I can now say that I love who she was then, and I love who she is now.  I can give comfort to that assaulted child that still lies within me.

This is a page in one of my art journals.  A friend added the picture on the left and the quote she wrote is spot on and means a great deal to me.  If you can't read it, it says "I can't abandon the person I used to be, so I carry her."  I do, I carry her.


helenko said...

Thank so much for not only sharing your wounds but your healing. In my experience,the vast majority men - even very good men - really do not understand how often girls and women are sexually assaulted and what it does to us when it happens. My husband of 28 years does not understand - even after our daughter was born 18 years ago and he came somewhat closer; I admit he's quite empathy-challenged. But my sons who are not empathy-challenged and despite my best efforts also do not understand, though they are much, much closer to gaining a true understanding. You may be surprised, but I am grateful to Mr. Trump; his lack of decency which has been so brazenly displayed for so long is showing us all some very dark and festering things in our society. God willing, this exposure will lead to more understanding and healing.

Pam Genant said...

Thank you so much for reading and for your words. ~Pam