The first time I remember being forcibly kissed by a boy, I was five years old. Five. Years. Old. I was on the school bus, and a boy pinned me down against the hard, cold metal of the side of the bus, and began kissing me. He told me he loved me, over and over. I squirmed and attempted to get away, but he kept holding me down, his fingers pressing painfully into my upper arms. I almost missed my bus stop because he wouldn’t get off me. The bus driver had to intervene, and I fled from the bus as quickly as I could.
The first time a much older boy slapped my ass, I was six years old. He was at least in middle school, and, again, this would happen on the bus. He would slap my rear as I tried to walk by. I would try to carry my book bag so it rested across my butt; he would just lift it up and still smack me. Sometimes it was a pinch as well. A couple times he put his hand on my crotch. He would force me to sit with him on the bus as well, tossing my book bag aside if I attempted to put it on the seat next to me to prevent him sitting there. I never told my parents. The bus quickly became an unsafe place; those hour long bus rides were sheer torture.
Again when I was six, a boy who had been invited to play and go sledding at my house held my immobile, snow-suited body down against a snowbank, and forcibly kissed me while lying on top of me. I believe my Father came to my rescue that time, but I honestly don’t even remember. I was terrified. When I was the same age approximately, my older sister and her friend arranged a “wedding” between myself and my sister’s friend’s younger brother, who was my age. After the vows, he laid on top of me on the couch, forcibly kissing me and pinning my hands so I couldn’t fight him off. It was laughed about for years. I never found it funny.
Fast forward to middle school. I started developing breasts rather soon, and they were more developed than most of the other girls in my class. In came the poking. I don’t know how many boys in middle school poked my breasts, with their finger, or a pencil, while laughing. I also had my first experience with a misogynistic teacher, who told us outright that girls were not as smart in science and math as boys. I got straight As in his class… he would never call on me, so I eventually stopped volunteering in class. He made inappropriate jokes about girls, to the delight of some of the boys in class. This was in sixth grade.
I was not even free from these unwanted touches at church. Our childhood priest at our local Catholic church, later accused of being a pedophile after he left our diocese, patted my butt while giving me hugs, and rubbed his hand up and down my thigh while I was in confession with him. He always stood and talked very closely, and would often hug me without permission, his obese body rank against me, telling me to “smile”. I brushed off these acts as friendly gestures at the time, as I was still very young, but in hindsight the man had deep issues, besides the alcoholism he confessed to us. I’m unsure how old I was at the time, as he was our priest for several years. I remember giving him a voluntary hug when he left, and feeling extremely uncomfortable as I again smelled his malodorous body too close to mine. Hugs can feel like the safest thing in the world; they can also feel like an inescapable vise grip, depending on who is doing the hugging, and if it’s wanted or not.
My freshman year of high school. I was fifteen, he was either eighteen or nineteen. I was babysitting for my Aunt, and he called and asked to come over. When I refused to tell him where she lived, he found out anyway, and rode over on his bike. I had put my charge to bed by that time, and he insisted on coming in “just for a few minutes” and promised no one would ever know. And he was right… no one did ever know. Except him and me. Again, I was fifteen.
I began to have a distrust of males in general… how I made it that long without developing one I don’t know. I avoided dating in high school, college, and beyond, but that did not equate to no more sexual assaults as I’d hoped. I put on a massive amount of weight (partially because of the anti-depressant medication I started taking in college), started dressing in oversized hoodies and cutting my hair all off in a super short, spiked hairstyle. I wanted to look unattractive to these males, these males who always took it upon themselves to look, to touch, to assault. That didn’t matter, either. I thought that it must be something about me. It was only much later in life, when I looked into the actual statistics and found that many, many women are sexually assaulted, that almost as many women are assaulted as not… that I discovered I was not alone, or bad, or fundamentally flawed.
I never came forward about any of my assaults. I did, however, seek therapy, beginning in college, for severe depression and anxiety. I was much later diagnosed with PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder. These are life-long conditions that I have to live with forever, and they are the result of trauma. Trauma from sexual abuse and assault. I will have PTSD and DID for the rest of my life.
What I’ve written here is not my whole story… far from it. These are just a few examples of *some* of the boys and men in my life who were predators, and we’re sharing them now because this election scares the crap out of us. Donald Trump is a sexual predator. His words and his actions are absolutely abhorrent, and I do not understand how any self-respecting woman can continue to support him, especially after his, “Grab ’em by the pussy,” comments. I saw one woman state, “Well, I wouldn’t trust him with my daughter, but I trust him with our country.” WHAT?! How in the hell does that even make sense? The women who are now coming forward about Trump’s sexual predation and being hated on, even having their names and addresses published to the public, are heroes. They are not liars, they are not opportunists, they are women who have had enough of Trump’s lies and his belief that his wealth and status can get him whatever he wants. They are women who are bravely saying, “No more,” to unwanted sexual touch and assault. You want to know why women don’t come out and disclose their sexual assaults? Just look at what is happening to these women, and you’ll understand why.
I’m not even getting into all of Trump’s other flaws. The fact that he is an unapologetic sexual assaulter is only the tip of the iceberg. For the safety of all girls and women in this country, please do not vote this misogynist into office. And no, not all men are like this. Not nearly. That is an insult to good men everywhere. Saying that men are “weak” when it comes to perpetrating unwanted sexual advances is a copout, and perpetuates rape culture in our society. This entire post glaringly shows that rape culture is alive and thriving in our country, and enough is enough. Women are not objects to be ogled, touched, or grabbed at will. We are human beings deserving respect and equal opportunity in life. We don’t deserve to be assaulted just for being a female, and we don’t deserve to have to live with a President Trump preying upon us and looking down on us.