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Not a Word

A Story About Finally Speaking Up

I would give you a warning for this article, but there are no warnings in life. 

Right now, I could literally vomit. My insides are churning-spinning-and I just want to rip them out. I feel disgusted. With myself, my loved ones, the people that walk around me, and social media. I have felt this way for a long time, but have never chosen to say anything except to a few people...until now. 

When I was about seven or so, I lived with my dad and grandparents, and I lived with them until I was about 11 or so. I went to a Catholic school, and had one or two friends. One of those friends I had grown up with my whole life, and told everything to. So, naturally—when we had to watch a film at school about predators, people who want to kidnap and touch little kids; signs of those things and what to watch out for—she was the first person I told about the mixed feelings I was having associated with the film.

The film clearly stated that adults should not touch or look at the private parts of young children, whether they were family, or not. Family. This is what confused me.  

My friend asked me to explain everything to her as best as I could (considering I was only 10 or 11 at this time). My grandfather, my dad's dad, had looked, and touched me...

I would just lie on the floor watching TV, careless as kids are, not knowing that something wrong was happening because, "It's OK. He's an adult." No. It is not OK. That was not OK.

After I told my friend what had happened, she then told her mom, where she proceeded to tell me the same thing had happened to her, and she would make sure nothing ever happened to me again. A few days later her mom came with me to tell my dad, and I could not say a word. 

I spent the next couple of days with my friend at her house, until I went to stay with my mom. I still did not say a word, until it was time for her to bring me back to my dad's (and my grandparents'). I sat there in silence, not moving an inch, just staring at the house. When my mom tried to get me out of the car, I refused and blurted out, "Pawpaw touched me!" That was it. My mom exploded, demanding my grandpa come outside. He was a coward. 

My mom wanted me to talk to the police, and put him in jail. I refused. I would not say a word. My aunts confronted my mom, begging her not to throw their father in jail, that he would go to confession, that he was sick and God would heal him. What bullshit, but I did not say a word. 

I lived with my mom from there on out, going to therapy, and even moving states. I felt OK for a while, trying to forget everything that had happened, but I missed my dad. I had lived with him for so long, I wanted to move back. Thankfully, he had his own home by the time I made it back to my home state. Unfortunately, though, I did not stay OK for very long. 

It was like my aunts and my dad had completely swept everything that had happened to me under the rug. Birthday parties, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mother's Day, Father's day—my grandpa was there. And I did not say a word. 

I let anger, depression, hate, sadness all build up until that was all I felt. I got on antidepressant after antidepressant, feeling nothing but emptiness. But that's better than feeling sad, right? So, I didn't say a word. 

I am 20 years old now. I no longer see a therapist, and I am no longer on any medication. I also no longer go to any family events that include my dad's side of the family. But, my grandpa is not the only issue anymore. It's men in general. (And don't get me wrong I am not a feminist), I'm just fed up.

I'm fed up with cat-calling and the glares, I am fed up with guys pretending to like me, pretending to be my friend, getting me drunk, and the "no strings attached" sex. I am tired of not feeling good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, or not having bigger better goals.

But I still have not said a word.

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Not a Word
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