I kept quiet pretty quiet during this time, though I did feel a rage of anger deep inside me. You might ask why am I bringing this up now almost a year later? Earlier this week during my morning walk, a man in his car driving to work decides to pull over and jack off while watching me walk, at 7am on a busy public road. Talk about mortified, never mind past memories of similar assaults flashing back.
As a single 50 year old woman in the dating scene, I am also disgusted with the amount of men I have dated who think our bodies are belong to them by the second date. That even though I make it clear I am not after a sexual relationship, they still find ways to try to justify having sex, or they make inappropriate passes at you trying to convince you it is all about pleasure, disregarding respect. What surprises me even more is when I express my dis-satisfaction with this, woman find it normal. What happened to self-respect? Taking the time to get to know someone? Hey, I am horny as ever, even at 50, but I am not willing to just sleep with a guy cause he took me to dinner or because I am horny. Sex has a tendancy to get in the way of people taking the time to know each other and when the sex wears off it becomes, now what. I also have nothing against those who can seperate themselves emotionally. Sure wish I could.
I have been sexually molested by those close to me, raped, assaulted and objectified for almost all of my life. Even as a woman who battles a life long emotional battle with food, I used to dream of being fat so that people would look at me, instead of who they saw on the outside. I stopped wearing makeup, heals and jewelry in my mid-twenties to stop bringing attention to myself. Come to think of it, I began working in kitchens more so I could hide from the public. I am still hiding. I have never fully accepted my outer beauty nor do I think I wanted to, for me it has brought me nothing but pain and fake relationships. I am not making excuses, I accept the path I was given, but I can tell you I have no idea what it is to love or be loved by a man. I might have one man in my life who hasn’t hurt me or used me.
What scares me is, this isn’t just my story. It is the story of many woman, as well as some men, I do not want those violated to feel I forgot them. As I have traveled around the world this is a global problem, kept very quiet in a lot of countries, as if acceptable. It is not. There are lots of little girls and boys out there afraid to speak about what is happening to them. This is not okay. As an adult it surprises me how many of my classmates I speak to now, even ones I was close to, that experienced some form of abuse at home, from adult friends, at school and especially sexual. None of us spoke a word about it, yet we were all taking risks, trying to get in trouble… smoking, cutting class or school, drinking, promiscuous, stealing, the list goes on. Just imagine if we lived in a place where we knew that what was happening was wrong, or if we felt we had a safe place where someone would listen and we would be heard instead of being punished. In essence it is kind of like being treated for an eating disorder but not getting to the root of what is causing the problem.
As a little girl in grade school that was bullied quite severely, I have no memory of any one adult standing up for me. The kids who bullied me were never punished or reprimanded for their actions. I remember being sent to the office on an errand as a young girl in the fourth grade after being hurt by a fellow classmate playing a prank. Upon returning to the class I stood outside and heard the teacher telling the class to be nice to me, all she did was bring more attention to me and more of a reason for them to tease me. Are teachers even taught how to deal with bullying? I was the one punished here and made to feel more shame as I walked back in the classroom knowing what had just been said.
In high school after being suspended for two weeks because a girl wanted to buy drugs from my older boyfriend at the time and my name appeared in a note, the principle called me in his office. I was in the 11th grade on a work-study program because I was modeling and doing pageants at the time. I hated school, people there were very cruel to me, with work study I only had to be there a few hours a day, perfect. Anyhow, his question to me at the time was to ask why I didn’t date any of the guys in our school, after all I was a beautiful young girl? This guy had absolutely no clue as to what I had gone through or was currently going through in all my years of school, nor what I was dealing with at home. I do not even think he looked at my file from the counselors office to familiarize himself with me or my life. I was the bad one.
My point to this is, we need to begin to teach our children to be open and we need to give them a safe place to do so. That safe place should be our schools, so much of what we are taught including our coping skills begin there. Our teachers have so much responsibilty already and I know this is a lot to ask, but what other solution is there? School is the only common place outside of a family setting a every child has to go. We as a society need to recongize what the consequenses of our behaivors are and stop brushing them under the carpet making excuses for why what is happening to us is okay when it is not. Sexuality is very much a part of society and our children need to be taught outside from the home what is right and what is wrong. As a child I can tell you NO ONE!!! EVER!!! Taught me it was wrong for an adult male to touch my privates… NO ONE EVER taught me it was wrong for the man who supposedly is half of me, to touch or do inappropriate things to me. A solution to a growing epidemic needs to be created. Bullying lasts beyond your school years, the voices never go away. Sexual abuse does not go away either.