It is true that I have been more openly fragile and simultaneously fierce as of late. Today, I remain fired up. As a survivor, I thought that I could be strong by offering a safe space to others should anybody wish to express themselves privately in response to “Me Too.” I was being poorly naive.
The more that I thought about my most recent incident of IT, the more that I thought about all of the others. IT tore my heart to pieces today. IT was not a one time occurrence. IT was something I experienced across the spectrum of my life as a child, a teenager and an adult. Memories began to reemerge of all the many different times and all the many different ways that IT violated my body. I refer to this as “IT” because there is simply no name and no label worthy to ever describe the damage caused by such acts.
The last time IT happened to me, was a year ago when I traveled to Washington D.C. with my youngest brother for my birthday, a gift from him to me. The last time IT happened to me, I was standing next to my brother at a train stop and we were on our phones looking at places to go for bar hopping. The last time IT happened to me, the incident was probably caught on camera because I noticed one nearby.
A faceless stranger groped me from behind. In front of other people. My brother did not see IT happen because he was facing the same way that I was and I dared not to say anything because I was afraid of conspiring more trouble in a place we did not know too well. In fact, I never told him at all. I can only imagine his reaction if the first time he will hear about IT is through this blog post.
I was angry that night, at the perpetrator for obvious reasons, but also at myself for not speaking up knowing that I have gone through IT many times before. I was angry to the point that I got so wasted that I fell down a flight of stairs. When my brother took me home that night, I was vomiting and hysterically crying. And now, him knowing the truth behind my actions will paint an entirely different picture of what was actually going on that night. I was not just drunk. I was in pain, mentally and emotionally.
Since that fall, I have a strange indentation in my upper left thigh and a not-so-perfect left shoulder. I know that I am lucky to not have suffered from other serious damages. Because of this incident, I tend to shift and pace myself around in public when I notice that a stranger might walk pass me. Perhaps subconsciously, doing so makes me feel like I can avoid IT from ever happening again.
As much as I appreciate everybody’s openness, I have been equally overwhelmed dwelling in the reality of these “me too” responses. I am brought down to tears every time I attempt to edit this letter, whether I am adding more to the story or simply reading it for review. I have yet to believe that I will ever react any differently in the future towards this story or to any of my other ones.
To other survivors triggered by such atrocities, may we stand united with strength. You and I.