I Was That Girl
The recent rape cases of Steubenville, Audrie Pott, and Rehtaeh Parsons have brought me back to my own teen years. These are stories that no one likes to talk about. These are stories many of us would like to brush under the rug and forget. These are the stories that perpetuate pain and suffering. These are the stories that must be heard. These are the stories that remind us how precious and delicate life can be. These are the stories that remind us we can use our own voice when others cannot…
I was sexually molested between the ages of 9 and 12. I blocked it out of my memory until I was 16. At that point, I had been drinking for two years. No one told me alcoholism runs in my family. No one told me I would black out my first time drinking. No one told me why I felt a need to start drinking at 14. No one told me that, subconsciously, at my core, I would feel like damaged goods. No one told me that my top priority was to protect this secret at all costs. No one told me if I didn’t get help, I would continue to perpetuate the cycle of pain and suffering and do things that were “normally” out of my character.
The media and police in each of these recent cases seem to be minimizing the assaults because of the girls lifestyle “choices.” I have read that these girls had tattoos, drank, and were promiscuous. I was that girl. Drinking was my salvation, my only friend in a time that is critically awkward and painful in and of itself. Drinking helped me forget what happened to me, so long ago. Drinking helped me escape the shame and disgust. What I didn’t know, at the time, was drinking lowered my inhibitions. Drinking made me seek love and approval from boys who could only think with their testosterone levels. This, of course, only validated my feelings of worthlessness.
My heart cries for these precious souls who have taken their own lives. My heart is heavy, remembering what it felt like not to be able to make eye contact with the other kids in the hallway, for fear the shame would call me out, call me the whore I thought I was, the damaged soul who could never find redemption, the slut who was only good for spreading her legs… the child whose precious being was taken from her… the child whose innocence was ripped from her hands… I was that girl… all alone, no one to talk to… seen from many angles without the whole story, without understanding… without understanding that we hate ourselves more than anyone ever could…. without understanding that we are crumbling under the weight of secrets, of pain, of longing for love and acceptance… without understanding that it would only take one hand to reach out… without understanding that there is a place within each of us that is unbroken, perfect, whole, and complete… without understanding that you can bring together the severed pieces of Self and experience wholeness.
As a community, we need to begin to witness these children, and at 15 they are children, for their goodness, their sacredness. I would tell all of the Audries, Rehtaehs, and Carries of the world that YOU ARE PRECIOUS, YOU ARE WORTHY, YOU ARE LOVEABLE. I believe in you, my precious child, I see you, I hold you in my heart because you are not alone, you do not need to take your own life. You are meant for great things. You are meant to hold space for others suffering and help heal the world. You are more than your life experiences. There is a place within you that is unbreakable. There is a place within you that shines brighter than you could ever imagine.
With so much love and gratitude, I love you, I see you,