Nameless Story: “It’s not your fault.”

Nameless Story: “It’s not your fault.”

For the first 11 years of my life, I was raised and groomed as a sex toy, mostly for my male family members. However, my mother would also often trade me to other men for various things: drugs, money… love and affection.

I have no idea how many times good-intentioned people have tried to reassure me that it’s not my fault, even when I never believed it was in the first place, at least not the way I know they mean. They assume I feel like it is and try to relieve my burden. The implication of that is that I should feel burdened, it’s expected. There’s something I’m missing or I’m abnormal in some way.

Of course, there is shame and guilt, but for me it has nothing to do with being raped. That girl, the one who was so viciously harmed was innocent. My guilt is not for the child whose older female relative stroked her inner thighs with cold, calloused hands, admonishing some man to be gentle, and do it “like this”, because “she is small and easily hurt” (I know she meant ‘damaged’). No. My shame is for the person who emerged from the ordeal – the tainted one.

I am infuriated when someone tells me it wasn’t my fault. Something like that doesn’t need to be said. Obviously, it wasn’t my fault. It feels like being refereed by someone who wasn’t even there but somehow feels they have the right, the entitlement, to cast judgment. On me. That position implies they could just as easily have said, “yep, you caused all this; you deserved it.”

The problem is this – in almost every case (in every case I’ve experienced), they’re talking about that sweet, innocent little girl I began life as. How could someone look at a child like that, bloody from being abused and think it’s correct to reassure her she’s not at fault? For something horrible that was done to her. I promise you, if she wasn’t feeling insecure and dirty before, she is now.

I’ve never had a single well-wisher address the filthy, vile creature I became after being repeatedly assaulted. To be fair, some believe they are, but the feeling I get is they think I’m just upset and will recover in due time. Few can actually see the reality of it. Unless someone has gone through these things, they can’t adequately address it, assuming they’re even capable of understanding it exists. They see a pitiable, injured being, not the source of the real pain.

They’re not talking to the 7-year-old me who was by that time a well-trained whore (or the me who exists now as a 41-year-old mother who still has flashbacks). Raped, then pleasured as some kind of recompense. “This is the trade we make.” But, also you must maintain your purity, or the appearance of it anyway. Only Jezebels enjoy sex… but isn’t that what I am? So, when I was that age and thought to more actively play the part I was assigned – I dressed in lingerie and danced for those men – they rejected me.

Where’s the sympathy for that disgusting child who thought to seduce her abusers? For the little girl who went to cry in the closet afterwards, not because she was raped again, but because they sent her away for giving the impression of desiring their sordid affection? Even though that is how I had been raised to behave. It is wrong and disrespectful, after all, to make them feel like they are hurting me.

Please don’t tell me it’s not my fault. I know I didn’t cause those things to happen to me. But, they did occur and, it doesn’t matter who is responsible, nothing can erase the fact that I am forever changed. There’s no point in trying to talk to that innocent child – she died a long time ago.

And, please don’t tell me that who I am now is still worthy of love. Who said I’m not? Even if I feel that way at times, no one has the right to say those condescending words to me. How about just treating me like a human worthy of love and respect in the first place?

Author

WYR

WYR

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

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