In today’s time, we hear quite a bit about sexual harassment, molestation and the like. I cannot count the amount of times that I’ve personally read the headlines or heard about it on TV or have been caught up in conversation about this very topic. Unfortunately, this is something that has been going on since the beginning of time. There are so many people who have been affected and who have kept quiet about it either because of fear or embarrassment or both. When I was growing up, I’m sure it was happening but certain topics were deemed taboo back then. However, if you were exposed to this, you knew it was wrong because it just didn’t feel right.
I can recall four separate incidents that affected me:
- Someone who was very close to me had been drinking and touched my face inappropriately, but then thought about it and it never, ever happened again. I must have been around 12 years of age. He and I never spoke of it, and life went on. Did I say anything to anyone? No. I dropped it because it was the only time it occurred.
- A family member asked me to go down the basement with him to see his fish. When I got down there, he moved closer to me but I didn’t think anything of it until someone started down the basement steps and he moved away. I was probably around the age of 13 or 14 when this occurred.
- I used to work with a guy who was old enough to be my dad. He would come over to my desk and say inappropriate things, which I typically ignored; however, it could have definitely been deemed sexual harassment in the work place. One day I was sitting at my desk when he came by. For whatever reason, he felt the need to comment on me getting a hair cut. He had the audacity to say that I didn’t ask his permission. Well, all bets were off at this point. When he went back to his cubicle, I marched over there and let him have it. I told him that I had never said anything out-of-the-way to him so I couldn’t figure out how me cutting my hair was any of his business, and why he felt the need to say inappropriate things. He never spoke to me again. Personally, I didn’t care. I was early 20s during this incident.
- I had almost completely forgotten about a time, when I was around 9 or 10 years of age, that one of the neighborhood boys (who was older than we were), would chase us so that he could touch our backsides. Those of us who didn’t like it, ran as fast as we could, including climbing over fences, to get away from him. There were girls who liked it and they would, therefore, trail behind.
Sadly, today we have to teach our young girls (and boys, these days) about how to protect themselves from such situations. We teach them about appropriate and inappropriate behaviors and inappropriate touches as well as to what to look out for so that they don’t fall victim.
Although my story is not one that ended in tragedy, thank God, there are many people who have experienced true trauma by the way of harassment, molestation and yes, unfortunately, even rape. No one should ever have to endure this. No means no!
Some of you have carried your secret around for years and have been burdened by it longer than you care to remember. There are days that it feels like it’s choking the life right out of you. You have replayed the moment or moments in your head a million and one times. You thought it was your fault because you were probably told that by your perpetrator. You didn’t tell anyone for fear that they wouldn’t believe you or because you were ashamed. Maybe, you were even threatened not to say a word about it. You may have been violated by a family member, family friend, teacher, etc. No matter, this deep dark secret has nearly destroyed your life. As a result, you’ve been unable to have healthy, stable relationships with anyone. I say that it’s time to let it go.
Maybe, you were prescribed medication to help you get through the pain or you have tried to drown out the visions with alcohol and/or drugs. Perhaps, you tried to commit suicide or you were a cutter. I don’t know, but what I do know is that you can be delivered. I urge you to continue to seek help. Just because it hasn’t worked in the past, please don’t give up. After all, this is your life that we’re talking about, and you are so worth being free. You owe it to yourself to get on the other side of this. In fact, it is imperative that you do so. You no longer have to shake your head to make the visions go away.
Even though you’ve been plagued by this most of your life, your life is not over. Whatever happened was not your fault and I want you to repeat that to yourself as many times as is necessary so that you can begin to release the powerful hold this repugnant situation had on you. I want to you to free yourself from the clutches that have held you down long enough. Your perpetrator(s) had issues that, perhaps, were never dealt with. What they did to you was wrong. You didn’t ask for it. You were the victim, not them. After violating you, they then walked away as though it was okay and attempted to make you feel like it was all your fault. You played the situation over and over again in your head a million and one times. Even to this very day, you feel the need to try towash and/or scrub it off. However, no matter what you do, there are days that you still feel his hands all over you. You still feel powerless. You still feel angry. You still feel defeated. Lastly, you still feel guilty.
Maybe your child was conceived through rape, and every single day you look at him or her, you resent them or, perhaps, you are the product of your mom being raped. When asking about your dad, you were eventually told the truth about your conception, and you felt completely worthless. You felt as though you couldn’t breath. You even felt guilty. In either scenario, it still wasn’t anyones fault. Moms, if your child was conceived because you were raped, learn to love them. By not doing so, you both are still being robbed. I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it is to see your child on a daily basis and be reminded of that awful day. Children if you found out, no it wasn’t the traditional route for you to enter the world, but you’re here for a purpose. I want you to hug yourself right now. Cry to release and cleanse your inner self. Then, journal about how you feel today and how you felt then. It’s okay to get angry all over again as your feelings resurface. Get a punching bag and punch the living daylights out of it. It’s time to let it go. You’ve been carrying this around your neck far too long. You’ve been burdened by it far too long. Again, I repeat that it’s not your fault so don’t be ashamed. Sadly, there are so many people in today’s society who have been a victim. It hurts. It’s sad. It’s wrong. You didn’t ask for it.