The first time unwanted hands touched my body, it was by my best friend’s brother. I was 7 years old, and he was 14. I didn’t understand what molestation or rape, or any other thing involving sex was at that time. What I did know was that I was uncomfortable. One day, my best friend left her brother and me in her room for about an hour. He decided to make me sit on his lap, kiss me, and rub my vaginal area. I didn’t understand what we were doing, and when I told him I would tell someone, he threatened me. Then he decided that he would promise me all these gifts to keep my silence. I kept quiet, I never got anything in return, and I had to see him everyday for years after that.
Growing up in New York City, sexual abuse, catcalling, and rape were the norms. When I was 10 years old a friend of mine, 14 at the time, was raped on the top floor of my building by a 30 year old neighbor. She had his child. Everyday coming home from school, I had numerous men approach me and call me “baby” or “sexy” or say that they want to sleep with me. I rode the train one day during summer break and I was wearing a sort of tight orange romper that my Dad had bought me a few months before. The train wasn’t too crowded, but it wasn’t a lot of space. I vividly remember a white man coming up behind me with an erection and rubbing his penis against my back side. I was too afraid to say anything so I just cried and no one noticed my tears.
Way too often we’re told this is the normal. I’ve believed this was normal for years. Now everytime I’m in the room with a man, I get afraid. When my father tries to hug me, I get afraid. When my boyfriend tries to do anything, I get afraid. I’ve never told anyone this because I didn’t want to be shamed. Society gets annoyed and starts to torment people who come out about sexual assault. I didn’t want to hear that I shouldn’t have been alone, I shouldn’t have worn something, I shouldn’t have been over at anyone’s house, etc. This is me, this is my story.