The MeToo movement has made and continues to make major waves in the world. Victims of sexual assault and abuse coming forward with their accounts has brought public awareness to a rampant undercurrent of sexual violence that women have lived with silently for centuries. Coinciding with this movement I have been on my own healing journey through counseling, engaging with how my own boundaries have been crossed in my past and sexual assault. It is incredibly powerful and healing to put sexual assault or misconduct into words both written and spoken.
As a young girl I witnessed my brother on two separate occasions with two different girls pull down their pants. I was 9 yrs old the first time, he was 8 yrs old. My brother opened the bathroom door too many times to count while I was using it. When we were adults in our 30’s and a group of us went on a cruise to Mexico, he pulled up my skirt and exposed me in front of our group of family and friends and all the surrounding guests on a cruise ship.
I didn’t do or say anything about the abuse. Ever. Neither did the family and friends that witnessed it. It was normalized. I grew up with my boundaries being assaulted every. single. day. It was normal to me for my brother to do whatever he wanted to me. I won’t even begin on the verbal and emotional abuse that happened daily as well.
This is sexual assault. I had to look up the definition of sexual assault in order to determine if it indeed was sexual assault. That is how prevalent and accepted this kind of behavior between a male and a female is in this society. How prevalent and accepted it is in my family, community, and society. I have been socialized to accept someone pulling up my skirt, pulling down my top, grabbing my chest, grabbing my butt, pinching my butt, grabbing my vagina, pulling my hair (oh he just likes you sweetie), throwing things at me. Violent acts. Sexual assault.
All the stories are the same, entitled, predatory acts of violence towards women that HAVE NO CONSEQUENCES.
This is a global problem.
My own 15 minutes of research brought up more stories of the same kind of sexual assault as mine, all of them being treated as nothing more than everyday normal occurrences.
Here is a woman’s account of a man lifting her Skirt on the New York subway while on an escalator. She reported it to the Metro Police, read it to see what happens. Nothing.
My sexual assault happened 18 yrs. ago. I have no legal recourse now. My brother is a Major in the United States Army. How many people do you think he has done this to in the last 18 yrs.? That is just one of the questions that I ask myself. I am also sickened that men who sexually assault women are in positions of “power” in this country. These positions hold titles that automatically associate the bearer with prestige, integrity and honor, to which none of these describe my brother or any perpetrator of sexual assault.
Trust me, if I had legal recourse I would be pursuing it. But I have other recourse. I will use my voice. My written and spoken words will validate and seek justice. We can all stop this kind of sexual assault by calling it what it is and never staying silent or treating it as normal. No matter when it happened, say it, write it, tell everyone.