Stolen Innocence

Just as with all of the other brave women who stood up to say "me too"... personal offenses have been scattered about my life at different ages and at different levels of impact. None of them should be ignored or silenced but to write about all of them would take too much time so I decided to start at the beginning. The wound incurred during the time of innocence and the one that has cut deepest and refuses to heal.

When it happened, I had no words or vocabulary to assist in my mind's categorization or storage of the events. Despite my subconscious' attempt to keep this pain hidden; the images, memories and feelings did indeed eventually come flooding back. My memory was triggered like a tripwire one afternoon on a middle-school playground while my girlfriends gave giggled descriptions of what older girls do on dates. Listening to them with a blank gaze I realized I wasn't exactly a stranger to those acts. The flood gates had opened.

I had just turned seven and my parents had just finalized their divorce.  My life was turned upside down when I left my father and sister in Northern California and headed to Los Angeles with my mother. She was still trying to find her feet as a single mother and needed help with childcare during her acting classes Tuesday and Thursday nights. She needed help, so she hired him. He was young, early twenties, and visiting here from Europe. I remember he had an accent but I can't remember his face. I've always been able to remember a face but I couldn't tell you what he looks like if my life depended on it. The mind and it's intricate coping mechanisms are such fascinating phenomena. Most of the details are still blurred as my subconscious clings to this protective blockage but some of it has slipped through.

My mom remembers it as a strange time because her once sweet, jovial, curious, vivacious little girl became quiet and withdrawn and cringed at human contact. She assumed it had everything to do with the divorce so it continued for a few months until I finally responded to her questions and told her I just didn't like it when he held me (still lacking accurate vocabulary to adequately describe what I didn't like). I absolutely adored animals and once he saw this as an opportunity he started to bring over National Geographic videos for us to watch. When my mom grew suspicious she watched some of the ones he had left at the house and realized they were all of the reproductive mating habits of various animals. Once she realized I was very much the prey to this man's predator she did not call him to set up future childcare and he disappeared and never called to follow up.

The following might be too graphic for some readers but I wanted to include everything that I do remember because I know it is just the tip of the iceberg. Running over the details in my mind is difficult and challenging but I feel like the more I can remember and work through the more it can be cleared and have less of a hold on my life. I have various memories of him touching himself in front of me. While I sat frozen watching my beloved animals on screen forever be tainted. At the dinner table while I ate my meal. While he forced me to go to the bathroom in front of him because if I didn't he would tell my mom I had been bad. I remember him touching me while he held me to carry me. Specifically sexual acts are the most blurred and skewed but I have one very vivid memory standing in the shower as blood streamed down my legs from what I can only assume was a broken hymen. I remember seeing it almost in slow motion, on my hands and pooling around my feet.

The wounds from this trauma are far reaching. Every ounce of my sexual journey and maturbation has been effected. Being alone with boys and men was and continues to be difficult for me. My first sexual experiences were always alongside my female best friend and I lost my virginity to my male best friend. We were not in a relationship. I remember thinking about how it did not hurt and how I did not bleed. I have always struggled with intimacy and letting go of control during sex is not something I can do. "Losing myself" in sexual union is something I don't think I will ever get to enjoy. I stay in my head and keep my protective walls up. I was hyper-sexual as a young girl and taught myself how to orgasm at age eleven. Despite this early education of my own sexuality, only one partner has ever come close to giving me an orgasm.

I've talked to therapists, taken workshops and I've had many wonderful, loving, safe partners of both genders. I've worked towards loving myself more and reminding myself that I am worthy but the shadow of that early life trauma looms and only seems to intensify as life goes on. Along with an overwhelming feeling of being robbed of some of life's most beautiful moments, I have immense survivor's guilt because he wasn't stopped. I think of the girls after me and their stolen innocence and their forever tainted stories and I mourn for them too. It is for myself and it is for them that I stand up and say loudly and fiercely "TIME'S UP".