When I was 7-years-old, I was sexually assaulted. And I never told anyone.
I can't remember the name of the town. It was somewhere in Massachusetts. I can't remember the date. It was summer and I was visiting my father for break. I can't remember the name of the boy. He was a neighbor kid, about 14 or 15-years-old, pudgy and redheaded. I can't remember anything about that unremarkable day before it happened. And I have a total blackout of the hours after I got away from him.
BUT I REMEMBER EVERY SINGLE MOMENT OF WHAT HE DID TO ME.
My brother and I played with the boy often that summer, and always in the abandoned barn beside my father's house. The day of the assault he invited me to the barn to play. When we got there, he told me to climb the ladder to the second story. I was nervous because the floor above was broken. We had never gone up there before. I could see the bright shafts of light shining through huge holes in the floorboards and I was afraid. I didn't want to climb up, but he insisted, and so I did. Because he was bigger than me. Because he told me I was a sissy for not wanting to. Because I was a good girl and I did what I was told.
I won't go into detail as to what he did to me. But suffice it to say, it has scarred me to this day. When I finally got away from him before the worst could be done, he laughed maniacally and told me I was disgusting. Then he stood up, and defecated into his hands. As I tried to run away from him, terrified that I would fall to my death through the broken barn floor, he threw his shit at me.
And I never told anyone.
Because I felt dirty.
Because I was ashamed.
Because I was afraid and confused and didn't fully understand myself what had happened.
And to this day, more than 30 years later, I wonder what you will think of me if you know about it. Will it change the way you look at me? Will you think I'm tainted? Dirty? Will you wonder if I deserved it? If I asked for it? If I made it up?
For over 30 years I have lived with the shame of that day. That boy in that barn took away my innocence. He forever destroyed my relationship with my body. Because of that day, I have always been afraid of being sexy or pretty or owning my femininity. He made me afraid of sexuality. He mixed fear and sex in a way I have never recovered from. He trashed my ability to trust. In that moment, in some town, in some barn, on some summer day, he destroyed me.
And I never told anyone.
But I am speaking out now because I have finally realized that the shame of that day shouldn't be mine. It isn't mine. It's his.