The worst lies I was ever told were the ones I told myself. They were the lies my shame told me - the goal of this lying was to protect myself, to make the situation seem "not so bad." If it was my fault, I could have prevented it, right? I could have stopped it. If I can minimize the awfulness, then it's not so bad. If it's not so bad then really, did it happen? Maybe I'm making a mountain out of a molehill. Maybe my pain doesn't matter.
Some of these lies I stopped believing a long time ago, some versions of them I held for longer and only recently set these false beliefs free. Here goes-
Essentially, for me, these lies were categorized into three groups-
1 - it wasn't so bad - there wasn't penetration - FALSE! Just totally false. Fingers count. Objects count. And even so, it's possible to sexually assault a person with no penetration at all. "Well, it was just groping." fits into this category, too.
Also, this isn't the fucking trauma Olympics. I didn't place runner-up in a child sexual abuse competition. I don't get to minimize my trauma because I know that others have gone thru "worse" shit than me. I don't get to catagorize my pain out of existence just because I wasn't victimized in a particular act of sexual violence with a specific body part.
My broken leg and my friends amputatedfoot do not make another friend's broken toe feel better. Imagining or knowing that someone else had it "worse" doesn't make the horror of what happened to me less painful. My pain is still real. It just means that there's a lot of people with a variety of different things that happened to them, things they have survived. Human beings have amazing coping mechanisms that help them to survive some pretty awful shit. My 10 on the 0-10 scale of what shitty things I've survived is still a 10.
Bottom line - My pain was and still is real. It wasn't "just" anything. It was abuse. What happened to me happened because the people in my life who knew better chose to treat me like that. It sucks but it's true.
2 - I kinda deserved it because (a) I was developed at a young age - wearing a D cup bra in 6th grade. And what, this gets someone off the hook for abusing and assault ing me? Geez, listen to yourself, RR. Are men just uncontrollable monsters without free will or control of their bodies? Even when you were cooperative, it was still not your fault. Even if I was a member of a nudist colony, even if I was swimming, even if I was wearing a cute outfit, even if I was wearing makeup, or his favorite perfume, or a tank top that showed my belly button, even if, even if, even if... It was still awful. It was still not my fault. I still didn't deserve it.
2 - I kinda deserved it because (b) I was curious, I initiated the sexual contact. So fucking what? You were a child, your job literally was to be curious and learn about the world. They were your parents, their job was to protect you while enforcing firm loving boundaries and they did not do their job. They literally weaponised your curiosity and turned it against you. Not only that, they left you in a position where, because of your curiosity, you thought it was your fault!
Would you say that a child who ran into the street "deserved" to be hit by a car because they were curious? Would you say a child who cut themselves badly while trying to make a sandwich "deserved" to be injured because they were unsupervised with a knife, curious, and hungry? No! No, you would not.
3 - I didn't not consent - here's why I call bullshit on this one - it is impossible for a preschool aged person to consent. That is a thing that doesn't exist.
Also, everyone has the right to not be sexually assaulted. This means everyone. Yes, this includes a minor, a passed out person, a comatose person, or otherwise medically or drug impacted unconscious person. Everyone has the right not to be sexually assaulted. Point blank, period. There is no fine print to search for on this one.
Lack of verbal rejection does not equal consent. A double negative does not equal positive consent. This is not an eighth grade fuckin math problem, where a double negative means a positive. Nope, this is real life, not algebra.
Bottomline - what happened to me sucked.
What they did to me was bad. It was bad. Like bad bad. Like for real really no fuckin sugarcoating it horrible. Like no dancing around it. BAD. Minimizing it doesn't make it go away. And I can no longer hold the secret inside and carry it around with me pretending it wasn't so bad.
I will no longer keep folding and folding my trauma in a panicked attempt to make it smaller and smaller, trying to make it disappear altogether.
It was bad and I am releasing this heavy secret back into the universe. I will not keep it anymore. It is not mine to feel ashamed about, or judge myself about, or pretend it was something else, or lie to myself about the pain anymore. I will not be the secret-keeper anymore.
I will be the teller.