Back in the '80s, when men tried to touch me, handle me, force me, I told my parents. Their response still shocks me: "Why can't you get along with anyone? If you had more confidence, boys would know they can't get away with that with you!" I hope that 30 years later, no girl (or boy) will ever be made to feel that there is shame in speaking up about abuse or that this unwanted attention is something for which they are to blame. I'm still trying to come to terms with my parents' bizarre and damaging response.
Reply18 Recommend-2 REPLIES
@rox I know how you felt - when I told my mother I thought an old friend of my brothers was coming on to me she sarcastically said “oh Betty, you always think men are after you!” I thought maybe she was right - went out with him - he tried to rape me! Mind you she had a point - I was pretty attractive in those days
Thank you. I am crying reading all these comments ... but I had to smile at your last sentence, even if it is all sad...
I was raped when I was 88 years old and I have never told anyone. This happens to so many people who never even tell others who are close to them. I felt ashamed and that it must have been my fault.
@Aeryn. Omg - you poor dear. I am 84. Carry on - he will rot in hell!
@Aeryn Perhaps you already know this but rape is about power. It can unfortunately happen to anyone even older people. Please don't feel ashamed about it: it is not your fault. I hope you find someone you can confide to discuss your feelings and heal. As a geriatrician, I know my colleagues would not judge you or treat you any differently than someone younger reporting rape.
Thank you for telling your story.....a story that is familiar to so many women. I have never told my story, and unfortunately I had one incident when 16, one at 21 and one at 32. That being said, the one at 16 marked me more than the others because it was the end of innocence and trust. The others may have been a result of the damage because I got myself into questionable relationships. My self esteem was not high enough to chose well. Simply put, I never really trusted anyone again.
@DE —-so sad and so true for so many of us - thanks for putting words to it. Be good to yourself De.
It’s been 3 years now since I was a victim of rape. I haven’t filed a report and I am not sure I would ever do it now. At the time, I thought it was my fault and the people that I trusted with my secret asked me all the wrong questions: “what were you wearing? Why did you go to his place? Nobody is going to believe you without evidence”
I’m a wife now, I have a degree, a good marriage and a beautiful dog. I can say I live a very happy life. However, sometimes when I’m walking my dog alone at night my heart beats faster than usual. I get sweaty hands when I’m alone with a strange man in a small space, like an elevator. Sometimes, I might get flashbacks out of the blue and my husband holds me tight while I cry a little bit.
I have always wonder what he’s doing now. If he’s still successful like he was back then. If he had done this to somebody else. Sometimes I wonder if it will ever come a time when I find the courage to file that report even if nothing happens out of it.
The day after it happened one of my teachers asked me after class if there was something going on with me. He could see it all over my face. I said nothing was wrong.
I wished I had said different.
New York CitySept. 25
File the report Erica. If nothing else, it will pin him to the wall and mark him for life. I think that it will give you some sense of control and help make you feel better and thereby heal a little. Times, they are a changing.
@Erica- yes - file the report or at least write to his place of work.mine was a high school teacher - I wrote to his school telling them to believe the next person it happened to. These guys do it more than once. You have the courage - That is why you wrote it in the NYTs.
I understand why a woman would wait years to disclose a sexual assault………
“ These experiences have affected me and my ability to trust. ... Some say a man shouldn’t pay a price for an act he committed as a teenager. But the woman pays the price for the rest of her life, and so do the people who love her.”
The last line is so true. It hurts to think about those who love me and those who have tried to get close to me. I know that the lingering fear of intimacy has caused me to push them away.
It takes a tremendous amount of courage, effort, resources and support to overcome the long-term negative impacts of abuse. My hope is that the actions of the brave women coming out to tell their stories to raise awareness of the effects of abuse will lead to more support being provided to help heal those who continue to suffer on a daily basis.
St. Charles ILSept. 25
Thank you for being truly brave and telling your story. Your important story.
Toronto CanadaSept. 26
Very very well said. I have hurt many men and women due to the pain I suffered but could not see clearly. I didn’t understand. I was lost. Years of therapy with a good shrink has maybe made me almost whole in my eighties. Still live alone though.
As a victim of sexual abuse as a child (you don’t want to know) and as a therefore vulnerable emotionally blind adult (due to various childhood traumas) which undoubtedly led to more “incidents” I must say all the Me Too confessions on these pages and everywhere have helped me immensely. When I see men on television “confessing” (with nothing to confess to!) I am particularly moved - it must be so hard for them - even harder than for we women! My burden is shared - I don’t carry it alone. I want to thank all of us for saying it out loud. THANK YOU - THANK YOU - THANK YOU and always remember it wasn’t your fault.