When I was three and was molested and sodomized by a family who babysat me. The older children did what their father instructed as he watched from a nearby sofa, beer in hand.
When I was six, and my cousin told me to suck on his penis like a popsicle and it would taste like lemonade.
When I was eleven and we moved to CA to live with a man. He held me on top of his erect genitals before tossing me across the pool. When he made comments about my developing breasts. When he sat on the sofa and masturbated to Traci Lords porn right when it was time for me to come home from school. When I was twelve and he woke me up, drunk, in the middle of the night. I had never kissed a boy, but was suddenly holding this grown man's penis. It took forty-five agonizing minutes for him to finally leave me alone, innocence shattered. When I told four adults (including two teachers) what happened, and no one did anything, and we lived with him for another four+ years.
When I was fifteen and my eighteen-year-old neighbor offered me a ride, then took my virginity over the stick shift of his Datsun B210 in the Balboa Park parking lot. He told me I'd always remember him because he was my first. When I told a friend at school what happened, who then told someone, and I suddenly became known as the whore of my high school. When all the "popular" boys with "nice" girlfriends suddenly wanted to spend time with me. When they told me exactly what my fractured self wanted to hear, so I went with every one of them, hoping one of them would stay. When the next day, walking down the hall with their arms around their girlfriends, they looked past me as if I were invisible. Disposable.
Two months later, when I was still fifteen, and one of the teachers I'd told about when I was eleven got hopped up on cocaine and molested me. I stood before all 6'3", 250 pounds of him, crying useless tears, begging him to stop. Reminding him he had a daughter a year younger than me. When he looked at me as if I were meat, reached between my legs, squeezed every inch of me. When my mind snapped and I decided I was best suited to be a pincushion for men's desires.
When I answered ads in the paper for receptionist positions and showed up to find out they were porn auditions. When I was sixteen and let one of them shoot nude video of me, since by then I knew exactly what I was worth.
When I was sixteen, and a different cousin invited me to go four-wheeling in the snow. When we had to stop by his house to get something first. When once we were there, he overpowered me, handcuffed me, and raped me. When I told my grandmother when I got home, and she said any girl would be lucky to be with him because he had a house, two cars, and a great job. How I couldn't file charges because in the state of DE, if it happened in the man's house, it wasn't rape. How I didn't see him again until twelve years later at my grandfather's funeral, and how he told me how hot I looked as he licked his lips.
How I went out with one abusive guy after the next, and shied away from the nice guys, because who would want to be with someone like me? How when I finally did start going out with nice guys as I got older, I hid my past from them because I didn't want them to be uncomfortable, feel responsible, or see me as broken because of what had happened. How I carried that shame around with me for decades.
How from age eighteen on when I went on numerous auditions and was told nudity was required and asked to strip naked. How when I worked as a stunt woman, my coach booked a job for us out of town, and only one hotel room. When I asked for my own room, I was told there was no more room in the budget for me on this picture, and how I never worked with him again.
How I watch every woman I know hate the very essence of who they are, because they'll never be enough: thin enough, curvy enough, pretty enough, blonde enough, tall enough, tan enough, white enough. Enough.
How knowing everything that's happening within 50' feet around me is an inherent skill I have. How I don't drive with the passenger window down, or doors unlocked. How if I'm walking down the street, and I see one man, I look around. If two, I look to see who else is around and what my alternate routes are. If I see three or more, I change direction, even if it takes me out of my way.
How I've had to swallow my voice and my pride every time a man in any position of power wanted to put me in my place. How many countless times I've been groped, catcalled, and followed in public places. How I learned to tune most of it out, because it's exhausting yelling and being angry all the fucking time, and I need to pick my battles these days.
How when I use my big, beautiful voice to speak up for injustices I see, I'm a "cunt" and a "bitch". If that's the prerequisite for being either of those, I'll take it.
None of these things define who I am, and I refuse to let them break me. You are not alone. Your very existence is precious.
I will not be silent. I do not whisper. I ROAR.
#MeToo #SexualAssault #RapeCulture #silencenomore