Just read the piece by Alyssa Milano. Talk about a classy lady who minces no words, and lays it all out on the line and eloquently. Wow!
So, now we have the #WhyIDidntReport hash tag. There are as many reasons as there are women and girls who have been assaulted. Once you have been assaulted studies show there is a pretty good chance you’ll be assaulted again. It’s like those who are attacked wear a sign on their foreheads. I was a preteen the first time I was touched inappropriately by an older girl. I was attacked in high school next by a fellow student in a back room of the library. But, at the time(s), I really wasn’t old enough to know to tell. The 2nd time, I told my mother. I did not realize that it was serious at all. The young man was not allowed back into any classroom where I was. He scared the crap out of me. I learned a valuable lesson.
I learned more from my family of origin where as a little, little girl I watched my father beat up my mom. You don’t tell. You suck it up. Deny it. You build a wall, and try to stay away from the consequences of the violence you have seen, and lived. You move on. When you finally get around to sharing with people, they deny it. They ignore you and pretend they don’t hear you. My family is royally rich in the gift of denial. I thought at one point, I should tell my husband what happened to me as a preteen. (Not the current husband, the EX). I was so ashamed. I thought it was completely all my fault. I thought, I was completely crazy. I never cried that hard again until I was in my 40’s. His response was not to say, “I’m sorry honey, you had to go through that.” Instead he asked me to sleep with his sister, and let him watch! It was another 15 years before I attempted to tell anyone else about it. Women, and girls, and sometimes boys and men, are demeaned, disrespected and in a real (emotional) way, disassembled, and raped again.
There really is no permanent safe place for those that need it most. Even if there were there is so much self loathing, and disrespect for ourselves that we’d probably say we didn’t need it until years and years after the fact. My experience is that there is no such thing. I have found temporary respite from my history over the years. I have had some very caring therapists. I’ve had some loving friends. I flat out choose to ‘tell’ the wrong people, but at the time, I thought I did the right thing. What I have learned is there will never be justice – nor respect or support from the very people whom I needed it the most from. In the end, the way I have found to win my case, is to live my life the best I can, and not let the ‘bad guys’ win. I live honestly, legally, and I give, and I protect those who are weaker than I. That is how I choose my ‘justice’. I hold my head up, I know my truth, I march on.