The first thing I felt was shame. I felt guilt, I felt so small and I felt dirty. It was all my fault. I had asked for it. I had gone with him without permission.
This is a story very few know. Just the few that were there to witness the aftermath.
My mom’s family lived in Mexico so we visited often. I liked hanging out with my older cousin and her friends. In those times we went out to clubs for teen nights. I was 12 years old when I met him. He was 3 years older than me. Now that I think of it, it disgusts me to think that any 15 year old would date a 12 year old. I think 12 isn’t an appropriate age for kids to start dating. But it happened. It wasn’t long that I had started my period. It’s like boys can smell your raging hormones.
He lured me with soft kisses and sweet talking. I thought I was crazy in love. We met a few times and we danced. He would go with his cousin to visit us and we would hang out on the sidewalks. We thought it was so romantic to just sit outside at night and talk for hours. Nobody saw a harm in that. The adults were usually inside drinking and gossiping. Too busy to notice that I was even gone.
The first few blocks that we walked, I still thought it was kind of romantic. He held my hand and he kept talking. He told me we were going to his house only a few blocks away. It was dark and after a few blocks more I started to feel scared. What was I doing? I think he noticed because we stopped. We walked into a house. This was not his house. It was under construction, it didn’t even have doors nor windows.
What did I get myself into?! I was still a kid. I didn’t drink nor do drugs at that time. I was terrified, I thought I could convince him to stop. He kept kissing me and pushing himself against me. He had me against a wall, I couldn’t move. I wanted to run, I wanted to scream for help, but I couldn’t. I kept grabbing his hands and he kept shoving his body against mine. He grabbed both my hands with one of his and unzipped my jeans with the other. I can’t remember how many times I told him to stop, but he never did.
He left me there. I didn’t know what to do. I had to walk back to my aunt’s house, but it was late and so dark. I walked back crying. I felt violated and humiliated. How was I so stupid to believe that he ever cared about me? I never thought he would hurt me. Now everyone would know as soon as I got back. Everyone would notice what had happened.
My black jacket was dirty from the cement dust on the ground. Nobody cared to ask if I was okay. All they did was shame me for leaving with a boy to have sex. One of my aunts even told my mom to take me to the hospital to verify what I had done. Not to check if I was hurt, not to check if I had been sexually assaulted, but to check if I had sex. That’s all that mattered. I remember so clearly how my aunt went into the restroom while I was getting in the shower, just to check my underwear. Like if I hadn’t been humiliated enough. After that they actually drove me to the hospital near by, but they ended up not taking me in. I had been sexually abused and no one cared.
For a long time I felt that it was my fault. That I should be ashamed of what happened to me. That I shouldn’t talk about it. I felt the guilt heavy in my heart for many years. I thought I deserved it for wanting to grow up so fast. I punished myself for being so naive. I learned to cope with the pain in any way I could.
Now that I’m a mom, it makes me sick to my stomach to remember what I felt. Who blames a 12 year old girl for being assaulted? Didn’t they notice the dirty jacket? Didn’t they realize that I didn’t want it to happen? Nobody asks to be raped!
These are the reasons why many people don’t report sexual abuse. Aside from feeling shame, they feel like they’re being judged and blamed. It is never the victim’s fault! Nobody has the right to violate you, nor do anything to you without consent! NO is NO!!! Period.
Now I know it wasn’t my fault! I didn’t ask for it, I didn’t want it to happen! I didn’t deserve it. I will not be ashamed of what that person did to me!!
It’s never easy to talk about things that broke you. I want my experiences to help others confront their demons. Speak up! Don’t ever be ashamed of the experiences that made you who you are. These awful experiences made me the person I am today, but they don’t define who I am!!
To my predator: Because of you I learned to be strong and courageous. I learned to love myself after feeling so unloved. I forgive you.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the your God is with you wherever you go.”