Liz's Lair

I did it!

February 21st, 2018

I finally spoke up about the abuse today.

A co-worker (female!) was saying she did not believe all the women who were coming out 20 years after the fact to accuse men of abusing them. She said she thought they were only doing it for the publicity. I told her that many women don’t disclose for fear of not being believed and/or out of shame. She continued to express the belief the women were doing it to gain something. I looked her in the eye and told her I am one of those women. I’m not out to “gain” anything by it. Well, that’s only partly true. I’m not out to gain publicity or money. I’m trying to “gain” the self worth that was stolen from me.

TRIGGERING CONTENT FOLLOWS. Use self-care!

 

 

I’m not positive about this memory. It surfaced during a very dark period in my adult life. I remember being five years old, laying in bed ready to go to sleep when a male someone, maybe an adult, reached in my jammie bottoms and fondled me. They said something like “Doesn’t that feel good?” Like I said, maybe a real memory, maybe not. What I do know is that around the same time I started masturbating in public. That continued until I started junior high. Can you imagine the shame that went with the behavior? Adults would freak out about it and tell me to stop, but no one ever thought to go any further. I thought I was some kind of freak for doing it, but couldn’t seem to stop. It wasn’t until I was an adult I found out it’s a sign of childhood sexual abuse. I’ve never, ever told anyone about this. The shame still lingers even though now I know I was a kid trying to get by.

School years were pure torture. I was short, skinny, smart (girls were not supposed to be smart), socially awkward, had a stupendous overbite and oh-my-god(!) red hair. And to that I masturbated right there in class. The other kids tormented me.

Fast forward to 13 years old. We’d moved, yet again. I was miserable. We’d moved from the suburbs of Chicago to redneck hell in Florida. I’d learned not to masturbate in public anymore, was still skinny, socially awkward, teeth were rotting out of my head, hair was still red, but I wasn’t short anymore. I hit a growth spurt the year before. I went from being one of the shortest kids in class to the tallest. *sigh* Then one day a girl I met at school invited me to go with her when she went to go ride a horse. I’ve been horse nuts since I was born. Count me in! There was this old man who let her ride his horse. While she was riding he groped, fondled and kissed me. Stuck his nasty old tongue in my mouth. Call me naive, but I’d never done anything like that before. Like perverts do, he told me not to tell anyone. I went home, went in my room and started to fall apart. I asked my mom to come in my room so I could talk to her. I told her what happened. She went out and told my father. He went off the rails, was going to take a gun and shoot the SOB. Mom talked him out of that, so he went to his default and got drunk. After that I was encouraged not to talk about it so that it would “go away.” Not talking about it also meant I didn’t give dear old dad a reason to get drunk. Um, do I need to say that drunks don’t need a reason to get drunk?

This second assault was what I told my co-worker about. I told her that I was told to keep my mouth shut about it so I did, but not anymore. She chalked it up to me being a kid. I told her I’d been assaulted as an adult too, but never told anyone. Never pressed charges. Kept my mouth shut, lived with the shame and assumed I had done something to bring it on myself.

I know now it was not my fault. It is not my fault that some jackass can’t keep his dick in his pants. It was not my fault when my husband forced me to have sex. I was not my fault that as a teenager my boss thought it was perfectly acceptable to cop a feel as he walked by. (My parents told me I just had to live with it, because “that’s the way things are.”)

NONE OF IT WAS OKAY AND NONE OF IT WAS MY FAULT!

 

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