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What It Really Means to Be a Survivor

I was just a kid.

I was a little girl. I went to a babysitter during the days I wasn’t in school, and when school was done during the year.

She wasn’t anything great. She was mean sometimes, nice others. The other kids that were there were nice, too. I even have one I still talk to.

But her husband, him…

I can’t pinpoint in my mind exactly when it started. I think I blocked it out of my mind, but it started when I was very young. Six, or seven. Maybe even five.

It was always me. I’m not sure if it happened to anyone before me, or anyone after me. And if not anyone else, I just have one question: why did he choose me?

That question is constantly in my mind when I think of this. When he’d touch me. When he’d make me feel disgusting if I told him I didn’t want to be touched. When he’d treat me nicer than all the other kids if I didn’t tell him no, and when he’d be mean if I did say no.

Why did he choose me? What about me, exactly, made him want to put his hands up my GAP shirts, or down my Fruit of the Loom undies? His hand was the size of my whole torso, or that’s what it felt like.

Because I’d always thought it was just me - none of the other kids gave any indications that it was happening to them, and if it was, none of them went forward.

I finally stopped going to this place when I was in grade 4. I was around 10 or 11. I’d told my Aunt at a family dinner party what’s been going on, and I’m not sure what exactly happened but I stopped going to them.

The worst part about this all is that I never went forward. I don’t remember what my parents wanted to do at the time, but they didn’t want to go forward.

(Actually, in all honesty, I’m not sure how much of it my parents knew because my mother was shell-shocked when I’d told her about it when we went on vacation this year. I thought she and my dad knew. And if they did know at the time, how could they forget something so traumatic?)

What I do remember, though, is being in fourth grade. I was out of this daycare, or whatever you call them, by then.

We were watching that mandatory Bad Touch video, you know the one. And I think that’s when it all clicked for me, that what happened was super wrong and that I didn’t want or deserve it.

I went to my teacher as recess began and I started to tell her what had happened to me and how to proceed.

Keep in mind, I was 10 or 11, and I was impressionable.

So when my female fourth grade teacher told me, “honey, are you sure that’s what you were happening? Maybe you were just moving around and his hand slipped.”

Oh yeah, Miss What’s-Your-Face, his hand slipped every time he talked to me for years and found his way into my shirt or my pants. I’m totally sure that’s what happened.

That’s the last time I ever went forward.

And that’s where a lot of my guilt stemmed.

I got out before it got worse, before I got worse.

But… my mind couldn’t stop thinking: what if there was more after me? What if me not going forward made another girl a victim?

While my mind changed its way since then, I still have this thought process sometimes. I don’t know anything about them. I don’t know if he’s dead. I don’t know if there was another one before me. I never even knew if there was one before me.

Despite therapy, despite having a comfortable situation with sex, this is still a trauma I deal with on the daily.

I dream about it, sometimes. If I meet someone with the same name as him, I think about it. Whenever I’m harassed, I think about it. Whenever I hear other stories from other survivors, I think about it.

No matter how much I’ve gotten past it and crossed the bridge over it, I still think about it. It’s something that sticks with you for your whole life.

When you get into a new relationship with someone, you fret over how you tell them this part of your life since it helped shaped you and how you view certain aspects of your relationships.

While this obviously isn’t how everyone responds to sexual trauma, this is how I, a child sexual assault survivor, do. 

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