I have been so inspired by my brave friends, acquaintances, and strangers sharing #metoo. I shared the hashtag but wasn't feeling brave enough to do more than that. But now I want to take my power back. Inspired by my friends Emily and Laura to actually tell the stories, and by Kelcy for suggesting to name the names. "If we are going to change this world for the better with the hope of holding abusers accountable for the atrocities for which they are guilty, you name names. You name names so those abusers are no longer in the shadows and so they cannot hurt anyone else. If we cannot do that, those who feel like they cannot say will not say. The abuser’s power lies in being nameless."
I've told very few people about these events and lived in shame for too many years. And this feels very scary. Which is why I'm sharing on my blog instead of facebook. Feels a little less vulnerable. But I think I'm ready.
After years of trying a new counselor, going once, and giving up because I couldn't speak, I finally found an excellent therapist in 2012. In 2015 I discovered energy healing which healed my soul. In the last couple of years, and particularly this year due to certain events coming to a head and then to a close, I've grown so much and gained so much strength. Thanks to a couple of key friends who got me through the gruesomeness of this year, and a recent energy therapist session, I feel a strength I haven't felt before.
Here goes, ripping the bandaid off....
Chris molested me three times when I was 7. I never told anyone and assumed I did something to deserve it. Or if I told my parents I'd be in trouble, or they wouldn't believe me. I'm not even sure I understood the magnitude of what happened other than I felt uncomfortable and he told me not to tell. I doubt I even knew why, but I started to gain weight and became a chubby kid. When I was eating candy I'd forget for a minute and that led to a long road of self destruction and eating disorders. That also lead to compartmentalizing. I know he was around for years more but I have no memory of seeing him after that, that is until this year, when after rediscovering him, had a break down before having a break through. I gained an incredible amount of closer.
Dave, whom I witnessed sexually harass so many co-workers for 3 years and I was too afraid to speak up. And then it was my turn. He would say very sexual things, comment on my body, and grind himself against my back side at work as he pinned me against a machine, more than once. Still I said nothing to authorities. I experimented with drugs to make it ok. I finally settled on bulimia. I couldn't control him but I could control that, and have dealt with that for 20 years. Eventually he forced me into the back of a work van, pinned me down, forced his hand down my pants, and was attempting to get my pants off when another coworker walked around the corner and asked what was going on. That male coworker knew. Everyone there knew. But said nothing. I said nothing and left. I changed jobs after that and started working for my dad. I wasn't strong enough to turn him in. In my mind it wasn't as bad as things others I knew had been through so I didn't have a right to turn him in or bother my friends and family with it. That was magnified by the fact that we told management and they did nothing. It must not be a big deal then, right? A year after I left, some coworkers from that job did turn him in and I was part of an investigation and lawsuit against him and the company. We won a settlement and he served jail time. I saw him a couple of years ago in the produce department at Fred Meyer. He still leered but now he just looks pathetic and disgusting.
George, a stranger, for the better part of a year, was breaking into my apartment almost daily, wearing my clothing while making sex phone calls, watching my tv, eating my food, coming in at night and watching me sleep. For a year I thought I was losing my mind when I'd find my remote in a different spot, or food missing that I knew I didn't eat, or wake up to my front door being open. I must not have closed it tightly and the wind blew it open. When i had to call the phone company and explain twice that those huge sex phone bills were not mine, it must be a mistake. I must be crazy. I had an excuse for everything. It never crossed my mind someone was coming in. Eventually he was stealing my dresses and my brother and I caught him by accident as he was walking down the street in one of my outfits, head to toe. We called the police,(a lot of these details I didn't know until he was caught and he told the police everything, like watching me sleep. I felt so violated. And so stupid for not knowing.)But then after his parents talked to me and told me he wasn't mentally well I felt sorry for him so I didn't press charges. They gave me $2000 to buy a whole new wardrobe because I wanted nothing to do with any of my clothes after that. Eww. I still have issues and freak out if my stuff is missing or moved, or my food gets eaten. Another situation where I didn't have control. And I felt sorry for the perpetrator.
This is also around the time I got my tattoo. Drama masks. Yes I liked and collected clowns, but the real meaning was 'smile now, cry later' because that was my motto. No one in my life (until eventually Marco who saved me), knew anything that was really going on in my life. I put a big smile on and cried in private.
Next, while at a different job, a few guys who I never got the names of, held me down in an apartment, laughed, and groped me, until a girl knocked on the door because she heard my screams so they let me go. Although I talked to victims services at the police department, I never filed an official report because it didn't seem like that big of a deal compared to what others have dealt with and they probably wouldn't be prosecuted anyway and I didn't want to have to face them again. And shame. Add to that, my female boss screamed at me that I was a liar or I would have filed. And then in the next breath said to not talk about it (because it happened in the owners son's apartment, even though he wasn't there,) and it could ruin them. Boys will be boys, she said. But then to save face, pretended to care and told me to not ever go to that property alone again and rely on my co-worker, Chris to accompany me. She completely re-victimized me. I left that job a few months later. Being in the same line of work, I still get nervous sometimes to show apartments(sometimes I just have to give them the keys)or go into occupied apartments without a co-worker.
R-who over a few years made sexually inappropriate comments, touched my boob once "by accident" and laughed and said maybe we should do that again sometime, sexually harassed others in front of me or would tell me all about these women that wanted him by telling me disgusting stories. Finally I stuck up for myself and others and said something for the first time in my life, and it completely blew up in my face and he became the victim and demanded an apology, and then called me a liar, saying that he didn't demand an apology. Thankfully that part was caught on camera. I am not a liar. The whole experience just so harshly reinforced why women don't say anything!
Things need to change! We need to hold each other accountable. Stop making excuses for the men who degrade. Culture, age, or background isn't an excuse. I want better for my girls!
For others that have dealt with this, I hear you, I believe you, you are enough, you are worth it!