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.