TW// Self Harm, Sexual Violence, Sexual Harassment
*Written and illustrated by Christina*
I remember the first time I was sexually harassed. There was something about my butt this guy seemed to like, and he took it upon himself to smack it, and eventually grab it. I was 11 or 12, and I didn’t really know how to react. I told a friend of mine, who in turn went and told the teacher but nothing ever came from it. It continued for months until the end of the school year.
I remember the first time I was sexually assaulted. While I won’t be going into any details, I will say that it takes something away from you. I never got that something back until years later. This also happened to be my first real sexual experience, aside from being kissed. So, it’s not something I’ll soon forget.
I remember the first time I cut myself. I thought about how much I wanted to not look the way I did and it was a great excuse to hide my body. I hoped it would make it so that no one would want to look at my body, to take advantage of it. For most of the time, I only cut my legs. My legs and my butt seemed to always draw the most attention, so I wanted those to be the most marked.
I remember the first time I went into counseling. I had a male counselor, which made me feel very uneasy. It took a long time to trust a male like this, talking about the things I never said aloud. One day I broke down and talked all about how I couldn’t trust people and how I felt so alone.
I remember the second time I was sexually assaulted. I went to my apartment after running into a guy from school. I sort of liked him, and I think he had started to pick up on that. I especially liked his arms and hands, which was great because I used to have a fear of larger hands. Once I got home, a while passed and he showed up at my door. I was surprised since I didn’t invite him over, but again I sort of liked him so I let him in. We were kissing and I made it pretty clear I didn’t want to do anything else and tried to push him away. I became scared of large hands and arms again after that.
I remember the second time I went into counseling. This time it was a woman. She was very kind and listened well and by the second session,
I told her about my history with harassment and assault. I cried the entire session and it felt like a weight had been lifted off of myself after. We ended our last session with her helping me begin to think about forgiveness even though at the moment that was the last thing I wanted to do.
I remember the first time I forgave the people that hurt me. At first, I was very against it. I felt like they didn’t deserve it and I wanted nothing more than for them to be unhappy. But, I was holding onto the past and to the hurt. I couldn’t hold onto it anymore, it was weighing me down. I was sad all the time, I was acting unlike how I knew I wanted to be. It was essential for me to forgive, even though it was painful and difficult. I didn’t have to do it alone though, and no one else should have to do it alone either.
I remember the first time I forgave myself. I blamed myself for everything for a really long time. I felt like I could’ve’ done more to prevent things from happening. I could’ve acted differently after it happened. I could’ve told someone sooner, I could’ve fought harder. This thinking held me back and made me feel worse than I need to. I held on to so much pain for so long, instead of telling myself that it wasn’t my fault. That it was okay to cry it and to forgive myself for what happened.
If you or anyone you know has been sexually assaulted I encourage you to reach out to the national sexual assault hotline, 1-800-656-4673. You are not alone.