With the recent social media movement of standing up against predatory behaviour, we decided to put our cancer diary on hold this week and insert this one that just came in. It’s way too important not to share. Hoping this anonymous mama finds comfort soon.
“Mama, I’ll carry you when you’re old”
– my daughter, age 5.
She’s about 4 years away from when I was a victim of an act that no child should ever have to endure. An act of someone who I had trusted. Someone who had forced himself on me and said words to me to think I was safe.
She’s 4 years away from when I began keeping secrets. Secrets from my mom, my family, everyone.
She’s 4 years away from when I began hating myself every time I looked in the mirror because I couldn’t even understand what was happening to my body, my emotions, my world.
She’s 4 years away from when I began actively lying to everyone and doing things against my parent’s request just because I felt the need to be bad for “being bad.”
She’s 4 years away from when I had my innocence taken away. And it’s not until now that I realize how innocent I really was. None of it was my fault. None. Of. It.
I was just a child. I see that now. A helpless child who was put in a very wrong situation. And it continued, for a while. There was so much fear of telling someone. Who would believe me? I was just a child. And if they did believe me, it would rip every single relationship I had with my family. Because that was it, it was in the family. And I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t risk breaking my family apart. Did I tell anyone? Yes. I told my younger sister. But there was nothing she could do either, but cry with me. I told her never to tell anyone for fear of breaking up the family. She agreed, even though I know now it probably took every ounce in her not to tell anyone.
Now, decades later, it still haunts me. I try to store it deep inside and refuse to let it rule my life but every now and then, some stories of sexual abuse victims come up and it brings me back to when I was just a little girl. There’s still so much anger and hate towards this person, and to every individual out there who thinks he can engage in such a horrific act towards another person – to a child.
Recently, the hashtag #MeToo has taken over social media. The goal is to encourage those who have been a victim of sexual harassment or sexual assault to stand up against predatory behaviour. It serves to provide a visual marker of how often these acts occur and how we all need to stand up and make it stop. That’s the upside to it all. The downside? Well, it’s caused a lot of ill feelings for folks like me who have lived in silence. Silence for reasons some may not understand, but still… silence. And now for the first time when something is shared online, it is blasted so quickly that a simple gesture of support becomes a movement. So it’s hard to “get away” from it all when really, you’re not ready to revisit these emotions because it was so fucking hard to let it go the first trillion times. So on this day, I stand with all my friends who unfortunately have gone through some form of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse… but I’m sorry – I cannot see anymore of these hashtags because it just makes me go back to where I’ve been trying to escape for nearly my whole life.