I had my own sexual trauma at thirteen. It took only a few minutes. I can’t remember it all, but can still feel the pebbles and grit embedded in my opened-up palms, see my ripped jeans, and taste the blood inside my mouth from where my face was shoved into the ground. I can still smell their boozed-up breath on my neck and feel their thick hands and fingers. It was a one time event, but my perpetrators went to school with me. I had to face all three of them for the next five years in classrooms and even at parties. I had no one to talk to, no therapy, no coping strategy.
I begged my parents and the male police officer, who spoke with me about it immediately afterwards, to drop it. I gave no details. Details would have made me cry.
“I’ll be fine.” I said.
What I wanted to say was, “Shut up. Shut up.”
And like a miracle, they did. My parents and the cop, they shut up. In a span of less than fifteen minutes, they were gone.
I was left alone with the sound of my body hitting the pavement hard and the boys laughing and squealing in my head. It was like taking a deep inhale, closing off your ears, eyes, nose and mouth, and never exhaling again. I failed to mention “the event” again until I was 30 and in therapy for self-hatred so thick, I could stir it. Thanks God for the panic attacks that led me to the office of a persistent and wise therapist. I had no idea my low self-esteem and carefully hidden self-destructive behaviors were linked to what happened at thirteen. All I knew was I had spiraled to a black bottom and couldn’t find my way back up. Continue Reading…