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To Anyone Who Doesn’t Believe I Was Sexually Assaulted When I Was 15

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Editor's Note

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

I was just barely 15 years old the first time I was “not” raped. Our parents were all at a bible study or homeschool parents group. I’m sorry, Your Honor, I do not remember which. It was simply too long ago. He was the popular guy even the adults thought was cool, and his sister was one of my best friends. They were painting their younger siblings’ bedroom and my parents let me “hang out” to help.

• What is PTSD?

No, sir, I do not remember the location of their home. I was young, naïve and didn’t even have my driver’s permit yet. All I knew was I was shy and completely shocked that the cute cool guy was flirting with… me?! Wow. I was all-kinds-of-awkward and didn’t have a clue what was going on, or why he kept giving his sister, my friend, things to go get or do outside of the room.

Did I fight back? Did I scream? I didn’t know I was supposed to. I remember trying to be nice or behave or something; anything so he would not do more or do worse to me. I remember waiting for my friend, his sister, to come back to the room which took absolutely forever. I assumed she would come back and yell at him and he would get in trouble. Instead, she came back and he crawled off me. She laughed, then he laughed. I was so confused and so overwhelmed that I didn’t know what to do other than maybe laugh a little too because that somehow made sense. I look back now and realize that maybe they laughed because this was just his norm. I don’t really know.

I had never been told how to tell a boy not to touch me. Honestly, I hadn’t been told boys would want to touch me. I just knew people had sex when they got married and purity meant waiting until then. I only knew about marital consummation. Nothing about flirting, foreplay, abuse or rape.

What was I wearing? I have no idea.

No, Your Honor, I am not suggesting it is my parents’ fault. It was their responsibility to teach me and it wasn’t a generation who did that, but not their fault.

Do I remember telling them? No. I showed my mom the bruises up and down my legs from the steel toes of the boots he dug into my flesh. There were 15 to 25 on each leg.

No, I’m sorry I don’t remember the exact number of bruises. That doesn’t mean they weren’t there. I definitely remember them.

No, I do not have photos. There were no cell phones in 1993.

What did Mother say? She asked why I was playing so rough in the first place, especially with a boy. I decided at that moment not to give more details because, if the bruises were my fault, I already knew the rest was. I mean, it wasn’t like he had actually raped me.

The date? I know it was in the late winter because I wore jeans for two weeks to cover the bruises, in California.

Witnesses? I told my brother in the parking lot of some sort of public event just past the public restrooms next to our family van. But then I had to downplay it because he was literally going to kill the guy and end up in jail for it himself. I begged him to not tell. I promised it wasn’t that bad. I knew it could have been worse. He could have raped me.

Yes, I saw him a few times again. I was young and so confused and I let him touch me again because I couldn’t understand how I was supposed to not let him.

A few months later, we moved. I was safely halfway across the country.

I moved on and forgot about it, grateful it was behind me.

And I knew it could have been worse.

He could have raped me. Yes, I know. It has been 25 years… And a few months, I think? No sir. Again, I do not remember the date. I didn’t keep a Google calendar at 15 years old, in 1993.

Yes, I am now 40 years old.

Why am I telling you now? Because it took me 25 years to realize it wasn’t my fault, or even that there was a fault. Nobody talked about these things 25 years ago. Movies taught us everything our parents did not. “Animal House” taught us groping was a joke, a rite of passage and a right of boys in fraternities. “Sixteen Candles” taught me a girl who was “stupid” enough to be alone with a guy and/or drunk may as well be driven off in a convertible by some other guy as if she were a lottery ticket. I don’t even want to get into “Weird Science.” Not doing it.

They taught us it was normal, and it’s not. I don’t know how our generation is supposed to grapple with that.

I was a child. We learned this as children. All of us. It was wrong; it was sexual assault. Even if I laughed because I didn’t know what to do. Even if I didn’t tell. Even if he didn’t rape me.

No, he’s not the only one. He’s only the first of the ones who did not rape me.

Follow this journey on the author’s blog.

Photo by Rene Asmussen from Pexels

Originally published: January 7, 2019
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