As I scrolled through my Facebook and Twitter feeds last night, I was saddened to see so many of the women in my life posting “me too.”
Sexual assault is a serious problem in society. It isn’t just boys being boys and no woman deserves it.
It’s a violation of our most basic right: the right to be. Because sexual violence, abuse, and assault take away a piece of our souls. Something inside us dies a little when we are victimized. And not just by our attackers, but by society as well.
I kept my mouth shut for a lot of years because I was sexually abused by another woman. My step sister was several years older than myself. I didn’t know what to do or how to tell people or what people would think of me when I did finally starting talking about it.
And I was right to be afraid. The first person I ever told responded with “it was just sexual experimentation.” At my expense. I was 6 years old and not interested in sexual experimentation. Hell, I didn’t even know what sex was yet, let alone what experimentation with it was.
The worst part, victims of sexual assault or abuse or more likely to become victims of it at later times in life.
So far, I’ve been lucky. I was only sexually abused by one person and it has never happened again. But I am not in the majority.
Even after therapy, I can see some of the effects continue to exist. It isn’t something you just “get over”. All of those ladies posting “me too” on social media are proof that they might be dealing with it, but it left some scars. Some it might have made stronger, some it might have weakened, I know at least one person it broke completely and she committed suicide in high school as a result.
It was my first taste of being powerless. It is something I have strived to never feel again. It’s also why I have trouble writing about sexual sadists and child killers in my books. The feelings of the victims hit too close to home for me, even if they are fictional characters.
In my opinion, sex based crimes should be treated like murder with no statute of limitations, because all victims feel a piece of them has been killed. Which is why I said it violates our most basic right “to be”. Rarely does the person we were before the crime survive. We are forever altered by the experience and often the woman that comes out the other side is different than the one we were before.