The first time someone attempted to rape or sexually abuse me, I was, well, I don’t remember the actual age, but it was under 10. He told me he had a snake. He pulled my bathing suit to the side and told me where he wanted to put his snake. I don’t know why, but I had the, is confidence the right word?, whatever it was, to tell him I was out. And I ran out and told grownups.
For years, it was the joke, how I told Unnamed Guy that he wasn’t getting his snake anywhere near me. Yes, I said joke. If only that was the worst, and when I say worst, I mean, I don’t know how my parents addressed it. I wasn’t raised knowing that they were furious, that they tried to have him arrested, removed from the block, really anything. I was raised as if Unnamed Guy was a joke and not years older than me, a pedophile, a potential rapist, and as if it was a joke.
Let’s move on to the grooming. And I’m going to leave a lot of spaces here because almost 40 years later it is hard to imagine that people I loved, I trusted, groomed me. But. They did. I know now that what happened doesn’t fall under consent. At the time I was sure it was love. How sad!
We’ll skip that to a night in a bar where I was underage. The bouncer knew. His friends knew. I went into a bar and came out the next morning sexually assaulted. To this day, I only remember bits and pieces. To this day I feel shame despite knowing that the men involved were in their 30’s. I was 17, maybe 18.
If only that was the last time. I won’t go into it.
What I will say is thank God, or whoever or whatever you believe in, that I did not get pregnant. Whether it was that little girl under 10 or the girl who had a pregnancy scare after being groomed, or the girl who can’t remember all of the details of a definite sexual assault, I just say thank you.
Thank you that I never had to make a decision about terminating a pregnancy from a non-consensual, pedophilic situation. I know now that the way the people who should have protected and supported me, but didn’t, would not have protected or supported me had I been forced to make that decision.
I am 54. I have come so far in my life, but I will never escape the pain or trauma of my past. It is impossible to escape.
With that acknowledgment, I know that there are young girls, women, who suffer worse things than I suffered. It isn’t a competition. I don’t mean it like that. I just know that despite the trauma, I am lucky. I didn’t live my trauma when, well, I can’t imagine all of the things that women who are forced to live it now or what they will be forced to live.
I am 54 and still just dealing with some of the trauma. I cannot imagine some young girl in Texas or Missouri or anywhere else who has to deal with the repercussions of this Supreme Court decision.
No young girl, no woman, nobody should be forced to carry a child to term. Especially to give it up for adoption as if we should ever go back to the days where women were sent to homes and forced to give up babies as if there was more shame in being a single mom than giving your baby to a stranger.
But I digress. I do that a lot. We have a rape problem in this country. We need to address that. But we also need to take care of those victims, especially the ones who end up pregnant. Those victims are not adoption mills.
Those victims deserve choice. Every woman, not just rape victims, deserve choice. We need to do better.