Content Note: sexual assault
I haven’t forgotten the thing I wasn’t able to talk about here for weeks. It’s been on my mind, and closer to the surface than usual.
Today is the start of talking about it.
The writing here is what arose from a text-based Twine game, Player2, by Lydia Neon. It deals with interpersonal conflict and doesn’t have to be for the big stuff, but it can be if you want it.
CONTENT WARNING for sexual asault here on out.
He touched me when I didn’t want him to. It started with an “innocent” shoulder rub. I didn’t want it but I was too afraid to say anything. Later that night he came down to join me in my bed. I didn’t want that either but I couldn’t speak.
He kissed me but it was nasty, like a washing machine churning. He put his hands up my top and I didn’t stop him. He sucked on my nipples and I didn’t stop that. Then he started fumbling with me down there. My top was taken off. Soon too were my shorts. He went down on me and I can still picture his curly brown hair between my legs. I see him looking up at me but even though I am not enjoying it, I think he is ignoring what is on my face.
Eventually he stops.
In the morning he comforts me while I cry because a girl at school said I have “thunder thighs”. I threw my Harry Potter pyjamas away when I got home because I felt so dirty. We “dated” for a while after, long distance. Eventually I dumped him for someone nicer. I didn’t tell my friends. I just bragged that I kissed a guy and we made out. Like it was nothing.
I don’t care either way about forgiving him but I do want to be able to forgive myself. I was only 12. It wasn’t my fault I wasn’t able to stop him then. I had no experience, no practise, no role model, and instead had actively been taught not to make a fuss, to not distrub the waters, and not stand up for myself at someone else’s expense. I’d learned as a kid that standing up for myself led to me hurting people, and you’re not supposed to hurt people, even if they’re hurting you.
It’s no wonder 12 year old me froze in fear and kept her tongue silent.
I lost my voice that day, and now, when it comes to matters of my body, I still often forget I have a voice I can use.
In fear, I forget I’m allowed to stop things that are hurting me.
12 year old me had already absorbed by this point the lesson that doing “stuff” with boys was bad and that I was bad for being involved in it.
No one ever made the distinction between being involved in stuff you wanted and being involved in stuff you didn’t.
They taught us to say no to drugs and to not go off with strangers. They didn’t teach us what you were supposed to do when your friend started doing sexual things to you that you didn’t want.
I’ve never told an adult about it.
Because I was bullied as a child and the adults in my school were worse than useless. They told me to ignore the girl calling me names, to let it roll off my back. Why should I do any different just because a boy was rubbing my shoulders? Clearly the grown-ups weren’t going to do anything to make it stop. I would probably just get in trouble myself for doing things I wasn’t supposed to be doing in the first place.
I forget sometimes, as an adult, that I am not still 12 years old and voiceless.