Madelyn’s Story: This Wasn’t What I Asked For

I have carried the weight of my childhood traumas for twenty years too long.
I have grown numb to the trauma from my adulthood
and allowed it to make it’s home every nook and cranny that it could.

There are some days that I can’t drive by myself at night.
Days where I double and triple check all of the locks in my house.
Days where I feel like strangers are going to hurt me.
Days where I can’t be touched or make eye contact.
Days that the only relief I can find is from cleaning every corner of my house and rearranging all of the things that I own in an effort to feel like I’m in a different place.

I hope this hits too close to home. I hope it encourages you to speak up.

My first experience with abuse was when I was seven years old.
I was raped by someone that was trusted by myself and many others.
I have since struggled with the term “rape”.
For the first year after I found out, I refused to say it.
I couldn’t even write it.
In my mind, rape is someone kicking and screaming.
In my mind, I wasn’t really raped because I didn’t speak up.
I didn’t stop it.

I’ve been thrown up against a wall in a hallway full of people and had my jacket taken off of me by a guy that I had a crush on when I was a freshman in high school.
I was groped by that same guy on two other occasions.
Both times he said it was a “joke”-
I told him that it wasn’t funny.

I’ve been raped by someone who told me they loved me.
Someone who’s abuse came on so subtly that I had no idea how bad it was until he screamed at me about how fucking stupid I was.

I’ve been grabbed by my shirt collar by my friends brother who was drunk and convinced that my friend and I were smoking weed without him.
He locked himself in the house with us.
We weren’t high. We didn’t even have weed.
I’ve lost my virginity to someone who disregarded the many times that I said I wasn’t ready for any sexual intimacy.

I’ve been called a “tease” when I didn’t make out with guys that were flirting with me.
I’ve been followed in the grocery store.
I’ve had to threaten restraining orders when men that I stopped seeing started harassing me and calling me from different numbers.
I’ve been assaulted with my clothes on, in my own house, sitting on my couch in sweats.
I’ve been assaulted with my clothes off, in a bed next to someone who I had been in a relationship with for months and had never shown signs of aggression before that moment.
I’ve been yelled at by men in cars next to me at night when I was driving home from work.
I’ve been followed to my house twice when coming home from a coffee shop.
I’ve had men apologize to me for making me feel uncomfortable, just to get angry again when I say that I still don’t want to be friends.
I’ve had my hair grabbed and touched by men on the street when I was walking by to go into a restaurant.
I’ve been grabbed on the street by a man who was upset when I told him that I didn’t want to talk to him.
I’ve listened to men sit at the bar where I work and joke about how they want to be sexually assaulted.

I’ve told men that I didn’t want to have sex with them when we were both drunk because I didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of them not being able to communicate thoroughly with me.
I’ve been drunk and respected when people told me no because I understood that bodily autonomy still exists even if I’m fucked up.
I’ve been drunk and upset and still understood that I never had the right to grab someone when they didn’t give me the attention that I wanted from them.
I’ve gone out with people for months to have them stop texting me without explanation.
I’ve respected their space and choice to discontinue our relationship.
I’ve had men tell me that they didn’t want to sleep together.
I’ve understood that I had no right to guilt them or make them feel bad about their decision.

So when you tell me that lines get blurred when people are intoxicated
or when you are not in serious, committed relationships-
It’s not true.

I’ve been scared to say what I really think about the #metoo movement.
About how I feel about premarital sex and positive sexual relationships.
About how I feel about abortion.
About how I feel about dating.
Because, maybe, someone will get offended by what I’m saying.
Maybe someone will tell me that I’m wrong or that they don’t believe me.
Someone will get offended by the fact that I believe that it’s okay to have consensual, respectful, and responsible premarital sex.
Someone will get mad because I think that the abortion argument is so much more than just an argument about viable lives and adoption.
Maybe they think that I was asking for it because I was originally attracted to the person who assaulted me.
Maybe they think that it was unavoidable because I didn’t wait until I was married to the love of my life before I had sex.

I think that sex is beautiful.
I think that it’s great when it’s with respectful partners.
It’s even better when it’s with someone that you love or care about.
I think that legal and safe abortions are important.
I think that if you don’t believe in birth control or abortion, that’s okay.
I think that if you believe in both, that’s also okay.

I think that instead of teaching your daughters and sisters to carry pepper spray with them everywhere they go,
and to never go out by themselves at night-
you can teach your sons and brothers to respect a woman when she tells them no,
when she says “not tonight”,
or maybe just to respect women in general.

I didn’t write this for pity.
I wrote this for those who have experienced the same as me.
The ones who have had their stories questioned by those closest to them.
The ones who were forced to tell people their stories when they weren’t ready.
Because I wasn’t ready either, but I am now.

Author

WYR

WYR

When You're Ready.org is a community for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories.

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