At a young age, my mother babysat kids in the neighborhood and I became friends with them quickly. We would play dress up and play games. I remember playing dress up with a couple kids and being touched by them inappropriately. Repeatedly. I didn’t know what that meant or that it was even wrong.
In the fourth grade, there was a boy on my bus who sexualized everything. They were normally just jokes but he slowly became worse. He made a hole in the bus seat and he would hump the seat half naked. He only got a detention.
In the fifth grade, my best friend and I would hang out in her bedroom playing and being kids. My friend would then shut the bedroom door and take me into the closet where they touched me. I never went back to their house ever again.
In the ninth grade, a senior from the football team asked for my number and said he thought I was cute. He texted me and wanted to take me on a date. I was shocked as I have never talked to him before. He said he wanted to take me in his mother’s van and would take me to the park. I asked what we would be doing and he laughed and said whatever you want. I rightfully declined and found out later from girls who have dated him before that he takes girls to the park to have sex with them.
In the tenth grade, I agreed to let someone drive me home as my sister couldn’t pick me up that night after practice. We stopped in town for “ice cream” when he leaned in for a kiss and touched me. I quickly walked into the ice cream store and texted all of my friends to pick me up.
Over the years I had many other experiences regarding being cat called, whistled at, looked at like I was a piece of meat, and called inappropriately sexualized names. I became numb to saying “sorry” for things I am not sorry for, awkwardly laughing at inappropriate jokes, and being told every time I ate food that I need to loose weight by my brother (even though I was underweight for my height and age). But that wasn’t even the worse that has happened to me.
Before my senior year of college, I was invited to a frat party by an old friend from high school. After drinking too much, I told him I was going to head up and get ready for bed. He followed me up and we agreed to share his bed as we were just friends…or so I thought. Next thing I know, he stripped me and we had sex. I wasn’t even coherent enough to say no or to realize what happened until a couple days later. Even today, I still think to myself that it wasn’t rape because he had no indication that I didn’t want it (except that I wasn’t coherent enough to say I did want it).
As girls, we’re taught to be something we are not. We’re taught that shoulders are sexy and shorts need to become pants so boys are not distracted. We are taught that if we are friends with boys that we are called whores because one can’t be just a friend with the opposite sex. We are taught that it’s a game with praise for men to get with every women but it’s skanky for women to get with more than one man. We are taught to say “sorry” even if we did nothing wrong. We are told we look sick if we don’t wear makeup. We are told that our natural self isn’t enough but if a woman materializes and tries too hard, she is looked at as being fake. Women are told that lipstick makes them look like they “want it”. Every little thing a woman does, can be sexualized by men if they want it to.
This is my story.