14 and counting.

November 13, 2017

Me, too.

I was verbally and sexually assaulted by a teacher at the age of 14.  My story is not unique nor particularly terrible. I am not special.

What is special to me, and every other woman who has experienced such assault, is how this affront ripples through one’s life… what shape it takes, and the myriad of ways in which it affects one’s perception…even forty years later.  The exposure of sexual predators in the news of late has brought up some crap memories for me.  Far too many, I’m afraid.

Something, though, about the memory of this happening at 14 is particularly acute.  I was a freshman in high school, mature for my age, both physically and intellectually, though emotionally right where I was probably supposed to be.  Like most teenagers, I wanted attention from the opposite sex (in my case), though I had no real clue what that actually entailed.  I was basically just a kid.  I’m sure I thought of myself as an adult, and fancied myself progressed.

I remember the day the first assault happened with this teacher.  I can tell you exactly what I was wearing, where he was located in the room, what the sunlight looked like as it shown across the tile floor.  Everything.  Everything he said and did.  I remember everything.

He planted something inside me that day as surely as if he injected me with a virus.

I was not safe in my body, was I?  I was an attractive person, so had I done something to warrant this behavior from him?  I had no idea what to do or how to act.  I remember the mind numbing feeling of trying to act normally in the face of his lewdness.  Nothing would ever be the same.

I was from that day onward in conflict with myself.  One half striving to be normal and desirous of being attractive to men, just like my friends, and the other half wishing for isolation and safety.  This battle waged not only in my psyche, yet in my body, as shortly thereafter, weight became a huge issue.  I have had psychologists since that time tell me that I used weight as a physical barrier of protection. yet all I could feel as a young woman was more depressed and abnormal.

My intention is not to belabor the already well known and documented correlations between sexual assault and weight issues, self harm, addiction, or the like, yet to highlight the fact that even if one understands the origins, the damage is not undone.  It cannot be undone… merely managed.

I manage a lot of things now I wish I didn’t have to.  Most of us do…and some days are better than others.  I am angry, though, that he added something extra to my plate.  Angry at the ways in which those experiences skewed my vision as a young woman.  Angry at the EXTRA SHIT he passed on to me because he couldn’t say ‘no’ to his perverted impulses.  Angry that even at 54 years old… 40 years after this experience, it is still as fresh in my mind as if it had just happened.

That is not fair, nor right.  It never will be.

I am not special.





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