twenty one.

“How can I even miss someone who did such terrible things to me?”

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slap a name on a story

I built this on anonymity. I needed to create a space where people could feel safe. I don’t require anyone to provide a name or email address when writing to me. I have had people provide contact information but ask that I do not include it in the post and I respect that.

Then I read an email that had a name and contact, but it was also signed at the bottom. So, I responded to her and asked if she felt okay with me including her name, to which she said yes.

It’s like putting a face to a name. She put her name on a story.

twenty.

“The first nonconsensual sexual memory I remember is at 9 years old, my older step-sister showing me pornography, then me lying on her bed with her head in between my legs, and then my face in between her legs.

The next nonconsensual sexual memory is at 11 years old, my step-father coming into my bedroom at night, I am awake but pretend to be sleeping and I hear him climbing up my loft bed. He lays beside me, starts massaging my back, lowers his hands and molests me. I am frozen, speechless. As he leaves I get a gasp of air and ask if he had sperm on his hands, he says no and to not talk about it. He leaves the room and I throw up.

About 2 years later a friend came over to my house for a sleepover and my stepfather gave us a six pack of mikes hard lemonade. We start drinking and she goes downstairs for a snack, I go down after a few minutes to get something too and I catch my stepfather handing her a large, white, flat, circular pill in a bag. I pretend I don’t see. As the night continues my friend seems out of it and begins to make out with me, pushes me down and gropes me. I had a crush on her so I go along with it. As I fall asleep she is spooning me and tries to put her hands down my pants, I have to repeatedly move her hands off of me.

My step-father continued to mentally, physically, and sexually abuse me. He watched porn and touched himself in front of me. he wrestled me and pinned me to the ground to show off his weight. He pressed on my pressure points to show me he could hurt me. He gave me military punishments and tried to control me in any way he could. He read my diaries and left cameras to watch me at home. I tried to tell my mother about the night he came into my bed, but I didn’t know the terms. She waited until my step-father came home, he denied it, so she gave me an ultimatum: screw up my family or pretend like it never happened. I stayed silent until I got to college.

My senior year in high school I hung out with my friends and we were drinking, I didn’t like losing control or the taste of alcohol so I didn’t drink much. My boyfriend had enough alcohol to get drunk, he drove us to his house because I was staying the night. We got there and he wanted to have sex, I said I was tired and wanted to go to bed. He kept saying how he wanted to have sex and he just started undressing me and I realized it didn’t matter what I wanted. He had me bent over his bed, having sex with me while I silently retreated into my safe space in my mind.

I remember men groping me in public places while I was dancing, trying to feel sexy, have fun and let off some steam. I remember men trying to get me drunk or stoned and then forcing themselves on me.

I was raised by rape culture. I remember being cat called while I was in elementary school, walking with my friends to the pool in the summer. I remember being called derogatory names for dressing the way I wanted and being different. I remember being called beautiful or sexy, instead of intelligent, funny, kind, etc. I remember thinking all that I had was my appearances. I remember being raised to feel like I didn’t have the right or the ability to say no, that I feared what would happen if I said no. I remember my friends in middle school having no idea what to do or say when I told them what my step-father dud to me. I remember my friends laughing at me and questioning me when I told them my first boyfriend raped me. I remember my family minimizing and disbelieving that my step-father had abused me so severely. I remember my family, friends, and boyfriends asking me when I would get over it.

I am a survivor of childhood sexual, physical, and psychological abuse, of rape and sexual assault. I am a warrior who has fought to get better and transition from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to Post Traumatic Resiliency. These are moments of my story, the pain I have experienced. Just to say, you’re not alone. I am not alone. I am here for you and healing is possible.”

-Ainslee

nineteen.

“In the parked car two houses down from my friend’s house. 

I googled your name,
and stared into my laptop screen
at the familiar, empty, expression.
Your mugshot photo stared back. 

I remembered summer air,
thick with honeysuckle and sweat. 
The streetlights
forcing their way in
through fibers of your t-shirt. 

Cotton clung to my face,
muffled the sounds,
and for a moment I was glad,
even thankful 
for the mask of darkness. 

For it is easy to forget
what cannot be seen,
but nearly impossible to forget what
can still be felt.”

eighteen.

“Tonight my boyfriends ‘doctor’ friend grabbed my ass and spoke to me inappropriately in front of his wife. And maybe I shouldn’t have told my boyfriend this when we were drunk, but I also don’t deserve to get push into bushes, choked and hit in the mouth for something that happened to ME that I never wanted or asked for. This is why girls don’t talk about about things that happen to them. They get blamed. Told it’s their fault. Told they’re a liar, that it never happened. The one person I thought that loved me the most totally and completely gave up on me. I had to steal my dads girlfriends car in order to get all my stuff back from his house. I still let him sleep in my bed next to me even though it feels so wrong. Im laying in bed balling my eyes out and shaking because I’m so upset that I put my everything into a person and they so willingly just gave it up/could not give a fuck. He’s asleep and I’m wide awake shaking. But it was my fault and I’m lying. Okay.”

october 22

On August 25, about 2 months ago, the final written note from May was published. I was torn, torn because I wanted more but at the same time, I was grateful so many people spoke up when they did.

I check my email while I roll out of bed every morning, scrolling past bank statements, my amex account snapshot, change.org petitions, delta promotions, notes from my boss…etc. You get the picture. But one day I saw something different, a subject line “[Cupcakes on the Third Floor] get in touch or tell…” fading off my narrow cell phone screen. This came after a series of horrifying comments that left me feeling like it was time to call it quits.

Last night, while waiting for a friend to taste every vinegar in a little local shop that sells specialty balsamics and olive oils, I checked my email and saw another one, same subject line. I smiled because it validated my internal need to keep this going. Because there are still people out there using this as a platform to speak up and it’s not my place to take that away from anyone.

Cheers to all of you. Cheers to everyone making it through. I love all of you.

sixteen.

“I have a friend who was sexually assaulted by multiple people. Seeing her with PTSD and her paranoia now, is upsetting. It’s hard to just hangout casually with her because she’s always so afraid. It makes my heart hurt. I don’t know why people are shit. Who would do that to a person?”

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the inevitable

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t waiting for this moment to happen. Quite honestly, I’m surprised it took this long. The hateful, relentless victim-blaming comments from a man. I found myself needing to bash him for an utter lack of sympathy and understanding and I felt sorry that he could not possess these things.

I’m also sorry we – boys and girls, women and men alike – have to go through this.

A few days ago I saw a pro-gun post, the message was we don’t blame the bomb when there’s a bombing, we blame the bomber. That isn’t word-for-word, but it’s understood the perpetrator is at fault, not the weapon. It didn’t mention victims, but when there’s an attack on the masses, no one blames the humans who were hurt.* So if we can agree bombers are at fault for bombings why don’t we believe rapists are at fault for raping? Would the defense ask “what were they wearing?” in that case.

Why. Why is it so impossible to believe people are raped? Fuck the he-said-she-said argument. If rape kits were actually tested (which they are not, the backlog is shocking), would we still blame victims? Even when they don’t know the whole story, like that man who felt the need to blame the person behind the August 11 post, would we still blame the people who lost part of themselves?

 

*As I was writing this, I remembered Charlottesville. The woman who was killed, some fingers were pointed at her. James Fields Jr. murdered her, but those who stood behind him blamed the protestors for standing in the streets. This is one thing I can’t wrap my head around and I won’t delve into a tangent on the matter right now.