I used to believe that I had never been sexually assaulted. I used to believe that I was too ugly to get that sort of attention. I never had any fear of rape because what man would want me? However, the more I read from rape survivors, these strong people that pushed past the trauma they had endured, the more I realized just how common it was and just how narrow my definition of “sexual assault” was.
I never thought of the time some guy forced his tongue down my throat and his hand down my pants at a concert. My date didn’t even attempt to stop him, while I tried to shove this stranger off of me.
I never thought of the time I went on a date with a guy that wouldn’t take me back to my car until I had sex with him.
I never thought of the time that I woke up with my “boyfriend” finishing inside of me.
I never thought of the time that some guy stepped into the line to the ladies room to ask if I felt like sucking his cock.
I never thought of the time I was cornered by three guys while I was walking my dog so they could grope my chest.
I never thought of the time that a store owner offered to give me my stuff for free if he could take bondage pictures of me.
I never thought of these because I firmly believed that I should have been lucky to get that sort of attention. I should have been flattered! I was always too fat, too ugly, too pathetic for men to notice. They were doing me a favor by acknowledging me. The least I could do was let them use me. I had one thing that men wanted, and that was the only thing I was good for. I always wanted to scream for help, to stand tall and tell them “No!” But there were times that I couldn’t. I was weak. I was prey. I was a woman. More than that, I was a woman that was constantly told no man would ever want her.
It took me over a decade to realize that they were wrong.
My feelings matter. I am more than a warm, wet hole. I am a human being, and I deserve to be treated with that sort of respect. I have intelligence. I have opinions. I have a voice. I finally understood what those men had done to me, and I wanted to hate them for stealing my trust in humanity. I wanted them to hurt. I wanted them to feel as scared and unsure as I did. I wanted them to feel threatened back into a corner with no hope of escape.
I don’t anymore.
That doesn’t mean that I’ve forgiven these men. Nor have I forgotten their faces. I never will. I wish I was a better person in that respect. Maybe one day I will be able to move past it, but today is not that day. I just want them to have changed. I want someone to have opened their eyes to their behavior since I was too weak to do so.
With that said, I am not so jaded and blinded to think that all men act that way. There are far more good people in the world than terrible, in spite of what the internet may speculate. I have been opened up to the fact that sexual assaults happen far more often than most people would like to admit and the majority of them will go unreported.
We all have to change. We all have to start treating each other with love and respect.