This post was going to wait to be written until Friday, but I am finding that I really need to share it before I will be able to focus enough to successfully study, and I desperately do need some focused study time for the exam I take on Thursday…among other things…
So at community group last night we got onto the subject of rape, and that stirred up some memory for me. I have not been raped, and I am hesitant to even call what I experienced sexual abuse…I guess more like awkward encounter is the way I would describe it, but yeah…this is something I believe I have only ever told one other person (a former counselor)…but I feel like I need to share it, and writing it is less scary than physically telling anyone.
I was a senior in high school or perhaps I had just graduated–I don’t remember with certainty. I was at church early every Sunday to work on MediaShout and lighting for senior high sunday school and sometimes the services as well. It was often only me and a facilities person in the building and I loved the responsibility of being there getting these things done before anyone else was around. One facility person in particular started talking to me a little bit on occasion. It just seemed like being friendly so even though talking was scary I tried to acknowledge when he spoke to me. He started telling me that we should ride bikes together, and gave me his cell phone number and eventually I gave in and we did it, because I was really bad at saying no and at disappointing anyone, and I didn’t know how to politely refuse.
Except that when we started biking he thought we should go to the lake. I couldn’t find the words to disagree. He thought we should go swimming. I couldn’t disagree. He wanted me to sit on his lap and talk to him. I couldn’t disagree. He wanted me to swim for him. I was scared and couldn’t disagree. Like I learned in lifeguard training to get people to let go who are pulling you down I pretended I couldn’t do it and went underwater…but he wanted me to try again. I thought I felt his boy part touching me the next time as he held on and I submerged again even more terrified and wanting out. He tried to talk to me and the words were not processing. I somehow managed to express that I needed to leave to go to bible study. We left. He noted that my clothes were soaked and tried to take me to Walmart to buy clothes. I refused. I just wanted to escape. He offered to pick me up after Bible study and drive me home. I was non-committal and hoped he didn’t know when it ended. I was fearful about coming home–what if he was waiting for me and was very thankful when someone at Bible study suggested we go to Applebees after Bible study and someone offered to give me and my bike a ride there–I was free.
That night I felt dirty. I didn’t know how to tell anyone what had happened. I told them that I had gone biking and swimming but no one knew what really happened that day.
The male in this story had given me his name as “Gift.” I started receiving texts from him signed off as “Gift from God.” I hated it. I changed his name in my phone to ignore. I left for school, finally free, but still getting occasional texts.
One day over winter break I was unsuccessful in avoiding him and he approached me despite my attempt to hide. He tried to talk to me and I just wanted to run away, but needed to be polite. He kept asking questions, wanted to know why I wasn’t communicating, wanted to know when we could talk more, I tried to keep saying I didn’t know and he kept pushing for real answers, and I didn’t know. I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t know how to make the conversation end, I felt trapped. I felt small and alone. He said what happened we used to be good friends. I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to scream we were never ever friends, but I couldn’t be impolite. I just kind of stared and shut down wishing the conversation would end.
I came home for the summer and had a shirt that I loved that said the name of my school on it and was excited to wear it to church…until I realized that if I wore it what if he followed me back to school in the fall? I couldn’t wear the shirt for a long time.
I am not really sure that the other person did anything wrong. Perhaps I was unjustly terrified because I had been taking a class at school that was teaching us that any male regardless of how well known or what they look like is probably out to hurt you and should be attacked. I couldn’t bring myself to attack anyone, but perhaps that class made me expect something that wasn’t going to happen. Either way, I was vulnerable. Had someone attempted to do anything very wrong to me I would have struggled to resist it because of my people-pleasing nature. It would have been exceedingly easy to get me into a dangerous position. I trust people much too deeply for my own good and had no advocational skills. I passively people pleased. That day it felt like he stole my innocence, made me grow up and realize that people would not always make me feel safe and I needed to protect myself to keep it from happening again. It made me realize how much worse position I could have ended up in and that scared me. I still feel bad trying to stay away from him though…once a people-pleaser, always a people-pleaser, and clearly I didn’t learn my lesson about blindly trusting others considering what has happened in my life since then, but yeah, that was what I needed to get off my chest today…thanks for letting me tell you a piece of my story that has been locked up inside for years…and obviously if you know me in real life, this is kind of a private topic and I haven’t actually told me in real life friends and family about this, so please please please do not “help” me with that.
I wish I weren’t a girl sometimes so that I didn’t have to deal with this…