Tonight, after a few glasses of wine, a conversation began between two of the people I was with about sexual encounters during their childhood.
This type of conversation, one that is quite unremarkable for them, is one that for me, will run around, playing games in my head for days, weeks, months.
I won’t say that these encounters didn’t affect them, clearly they did, but they don’t let them define their lives or let them control every sexual encounter they have had since.
I’m not even going to suggest that their encounters were somehow not as important as mine. Yes, mine was sustained, it was more than a bit of fumbling. It was having my nine year old mouth forced on to someone’s cock. It was being raped repeatedly until I was 16, a hand over my mouth to stop me making any noise. It was having a filthy mouth, smelling of wine and cigarettes forcing it’s tongue into mine, sucking my undeveloped breasts.
It wasn’t a fumble and it certainly wasn’t ‘titillating’. But my encounter was certainly no worse than theirs because any sort of sexual assault is wrong.
I know that I haven’t dealt with what happened to me. I have tried but the tiniest thing will bring it back. A hand on my head during oral sex, the taste of someone whilst I kiss them (I don’t like to kiss, you have to have some of my heart for that), anything and I can be 9 years old, frightened and desperate to get out of the situation I’m in.
Just over a year ago I was sexually assaulted in my home, by a friend. I was tired and went to sleep. Sometime later I awoke to find myself partially undressed, fingers inside my pants and hands grabbing my breasts. I was so frightened I didn’t do anything. I got up and locked myself in a room until the morning. That’s right, I didn’t even tell him to leave. I didn’t phone the police. I locked myself in a room whilst he stayed until the morning. Then I came downstairs and made a cup of tea whilst he told me what a great night he had. I haven’t seen him since.
It took me a long time to want to be touched by anyone and I still struggle now. Just like after the conversation tonight I will struggle.
I wish all the unremarkable triggers that take me back to places I don’t want to be in were just that, unremarkable. I wish I could gloss over them. But right now as I lay on my bed with the rain pouring from the sky and the tears from my eyes I feel crippled.