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As a little girl, I was never allowed to wear “booty shorts,” glittery tops, v-necks, spaghetti strap tanks, you get the image. All of these things were deemed “trashy” or “too mature” for me at such a young and ripe age. My entire life I had been taught to fear my body, and fear bringing attention toward it. I didn’t want any male to be attracted to me for anything other than my personality, any other attraction was written off as "negative attention." Being the youngest and the only girl child in my family, I naturally began to rebel against these core values I was raised with.
Once I reached middle school and left my phase of skater-cut bangs and flannels in 6th and 7th grade, I had a sexual awakening for lack of a better term in my 8th grade year. I began to put the pieces together that I was indeed bisexual, constantly thinking about what it would be like to kiss someone, to have someone hold my hand in the hallway, to even make out with someone if I was feeling a little more “frisky” for a 13 year old. This was all a swamp of pre-teen innocent lust when I met my first boyfriend at 14. He was an artistic kid, intelligent, funny, and I was drawn to his sense of humor, seemingly so sweet and good hearted. We began dating one day on a walk home from school because we lived in the same townhome complex just a short distance from our local high school. Now freshman, we started out holding hands and kissing on the cheek goodbye until one day he kissed me on the lips, the moment my little tween self had been waiting for since the day I had my first crushes on Joe Jonas and Shego from Kim Possible.
Being raised in the type of household I was, I was exposed to sexual activity on television and in movies, even watching Game of Thrones, notorious for its nudity, with my brothers throughout middle school. I had always had an unusual interest in this type of thing, but was too fearful to even think about myself partaking in any of it, but the moment I was kissed on my lips was the moment that broke down that barrier of fear that I had been living in for so many years; I tasted the freedom and I wanted more.
I don’t tell my mother everything, and I never have. I keep most romantic things from her because I have been raised by her to be afraid of romantic attraction and I didn’t want to make her angry with me. I eventually told her about my first boyfriend and she was actually excited for me, thrilled that “I’m not gay” (that story is for later on).
I was experiencing this newfound overwhelming desire to try things I maybe shouldn’t have been trying as a 14 year old, but in all frankness tried anyway. My boyfriend was absolutely willing to try these things with me, and I got no sense of pleasure from these things because we had no clue what we were doing, but I felt a thrill and exhilaration from being rebellious. Carrying over this rebellion, I began to dress myself and push my mom to let me buy crop tops and short shorts and heels because I was “becoming a woman.” I started to wear makeup and I dressed more scandalously than ever before and I had a new boyfriend who I would do anything for because he made me feel excited. I thought everything was so picture perfect until I discovered that I didn’t want to fool around all the time and some days I just wanted to be with him. He had a different plans however.
The first incident was in the fall time. There was a little bike trail behind his house that I would go down on my bicycle and meet him right outside the gate to his backyard. One day I was wearing my favorite skinny jeans and a cardigan with my bike helmet in hand. He closed the wooden gate behind him with a smile on his face because to him, he was getting to make out with me again. I kissed him once or twice playfully then pulled back, just wanting to talk to him. I began my first sentence and he grabbed my waist and pulled me close in once more, I kissed back but wedges my hands between our chests to push against him, which is when he braced even harder around me, to which I craved my neck to get my mouth away from his.
His lips began finding their way back up toward mine in an aggressive fashion and his hands slid down toward my butt, to which I said, “No, not right now, stop,” but his mouth shut my words away, and his hands began to grab my behind.
I wiggled my arms to try and get a good hold on his to pry them off, but it was no use because I was 14 and underdeveloped and weaker than he was—and he knew that too. His eyes opened and glared at me with a tunnel vision look in them while his hands jumped down the back of my jeans and toward my private area.
He started to pull back my underwear when I yelled one final “NO,” and completed a successful shove to get him off.
He didn’t apologize, he didn’t admit what he did was wrong, he simply said, “I felt the lace on your panties, I wish I got a better view of them.”
I was too in shock to do anything about this, and I hopped on my bike after kissing him goodbye and rode home to have dinner with my parents. I never accepted that I was assaulted until the next time it happened and I realized I was unsafe there with him.
The second incident, I was suffering from terrible menstrual cramps and I decided to skip swim practice for my winter league team and I walked home with him again. He was so kind, he offered to carry my bags for me, and he helped me get inside and settled while my parents were at work. He laid me on the couch and dropped my bags at the stairwell then promptly got onto the couch with me to keep me warm and snuggled up. I began to drift off to sleep when he asked if I was still cold and I told him I was.
He told me that “You feel even warmer if you have body heat directly on you, and you warm up skin to skin.”
I knew what he was implying but refused because I just wanted to sleep and let my Advil kick in, but he insisted on getting undressed first then undressing me. He took his shirt off and got behind me on the couch, thrusting himself on my back and beginning to unzip my pants and take off my top. I told him to stop again, but I should’ve known that that method is a wasted effort; he gets what he wants with me because I allowed him to see a sexual side of me once. This carried on for a few more minutes until I managed to stand up and fix my clothes and asked him to leave my house. Just to put icing on the cake, at the door he grabbed me and put my ass on his crotch and he demanded I “twerk for him.” At this point I was so exhausted and I fell lower than him to lose his grasp and I told him to get out of my home, and he finally left.
A few weeks later I did break up with him, to which he threatened to kill himself because he claimed to have loved me and needed me in his life. I didn’t come to school for a few days after I broke it off out of fear that he might do something violent again because I knew his history with physical overpowering and a need to assert dominance.
I still struggle with the reasons why this happened to me. Since they happened, I have not shut out my sexual side but have rather embraced it fully, wearing clothes I want to wear and gladly making sexual advances with people who make me feel comfortable. I couldn’t help but to think that the reason why he felt that he could have his way with my body was because of how I began to grow and dress and behave, but I realized recently, now an adult, that I have the freedom to embrace my full potential as a teenage girl. I should be able to feel beautiful and sexy and cute and all of the above because every woman has the right to embrace that part of themselves and explore their sexual beings without judgement or mistreatments. Sexual awakenings in women are so crucial to the development of females—how can someone else love you right if you don’t know how to love yourself right? I allowed my experience to shed light on the way males are raised in this nation and how best to encourage my male friends, brothers, and future sons to never expect a woman to do anything just because she’s done it before. ACTING ON SOMETHING ONCE DOESN'T MEAN I WANT IT ALL THE TIME!
As a person who firmly believes that everything happens for a reason, I believe that all my experiences shape me into who I am today, but some experiences are things that no person should have to experience. When these things do happen, we must find healing within ourselves as hard as that may be. Once something like this happens, everything in your life becomes awkward and thoughts you have become cringeworthy. Nothing feels quite right and you become a shell of a person you used to be, now hyper conscious of the world around you and upset at yourself for letting such a thing happen. Baby doll, it was not and will never be your fault. Never. Please remember that even through the awkwardness of living and the shame you have on yourself and your desire to feel sexual it was never your fault and you deserve the right to feel free in your own damn skin. You are a beautiful vessel in an unstoppable wake of empowerment and strength. You can make it through! Yes you can!
Look around you and identify things that you view as perpetuating this ideology that a woman that is sexual once will always be sexual, and the idea that a man should get his way if he is kind to the female. Where can you find these things; TV? Film? Magazines? Social media? How can we deplete these fuels?
How can we change instead of how can we conform?
Thank you for reading this, if you have any comments or questions or just need someone to speak with, I am always open.