As with so many other women, I have recently found strength and courage because so many others have come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and assault. Women like, Micheline Pitt, whose amazing testimony has made the hashtag #VIXENNOTAVICTIM blossom.
Although I do not have the courage to talk about some things in my past just yet, I do have the courage to stand up and say “I did not want it!! I did not ask for it!!”
I remember it so clearly, what he did. We lived in a small village in Germany, the second to last house on a tiny little road. Next to us was a small farm, where the boy lived. He was older than me, by more than a few years. Old enough to know it was disgusting to touch a girl of around six.
I remember it was a warm afternoon. I remember the feeling of the scratchy earth on my bottom. I remember feeling humiliated. But most of all I remember feeling frozen. Like a robot had slipped underneath my skin in order to do what he told me to.
Later, I remember feeling so ashamed. Like I was somehow tainted. Like a stain had spread over my skin for all to see. And I wonder how much that feeling of being tainted truly affected my personality, who I was inside. Because I know throughout my childhood I was always on a quest to feel like I was loved. To seek out even the most destructive ways possible to feel like I was enough, like I could be loved.
My quest led me down self destructive paths during my school years. Desperate attempts to fill that dark corner with some sort of light which later led me to marry very young. I craved that feeling of being whole, even if it was something I felt like I had to fake. I regret so much about those years. So much…I pushed my parents and siblings so far away that by the time I realized I desperately needed them, it was almost too late. Thankfully, during the later part of my teenage years, my Nana began to set me on the path of self love. Her daily words of affirmation were the stepping stones that took me out of the darkness.
But it wasn’t until I met my husband that I began to appreciate my worth as a woman. When I told him of my past, the look on his face…I cannot begin to tell you how that look resonated within that dark corner inside of me. A mixture of sadness, love, and what seemed to be a determination to make sure I never suffer something so horrific ever again. A fierce look that showed me the true strength of this man who I had given my heart to. His strength has bolstered mine in so many ways. I may not be strong enough to tell much of my story, but I am finally strong enough to put this in writing.