I was 13.
I didn’t even know to call it sexual abuse until I talked to my therapist about it a few years back. He was a kid from the neighborhood- one of my best friend’s brothers. He was 11 or so. I always thought it needed to be done by an adult for it to count as sexual abuse- I definitely didn’t think it could be done by a younger kid.
They had a pool. During the summer we all used to go to their house to swim. Afterward, when I’d be changing in her bedroom he would try to barge in. The door didn’t have a lock. If we were in there together we stood a chance of holding the door closed- but when I was alone he’d just push his way in.
The other kids would laugh.
When we were in the pool he’d back me into a corner and try to untie my bathing suit top or feel me up. I took to wearing a t-shirt over my bathing suit but it didn’t make any difference. It got to the point that every time the other kids started playing Marco Polo I would get out of the pool. There was no way I was going to shut my eyes.
I complained to his mother once and she laughed. She said, “It’s not like you have anything up there anyway!!” and talked to us about how boys would be boys.
Eventually I stopped going to their house and my friend and I drifted apart.
I still panic when someone even knocks on the door while I’m changing, and I still don’t like the smell of chlorine.
I wonder if he ever thinks about it or if he ever did it to anyone else. I hope not. I probably should have tried to tell someone else, but his mom made me feel like I was over-reacting, so I figured I was.
It’s helpful to be able to give it a name and to understand why I react the way I do to things. It seems a little silly that it still affects me, but my therapist says it will get better. I hope that’s true- I think it is.
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That is so frustrating that your friend’s mother reacted that way. Good for you for talking about it, then and now. I don’t think it’s silly that it still effects you. It has taken me years to work through my own anxiety and hyper-vigilance (being constantly on guard against real and imaginary threats) because of similar incidents. But it does get better, it really does. ❤
You are extremely brace and I am proud of you. You are not alone, we, your sisters are here to bare witness.
Thank you for sharing your story. Your insight may help someone else name what happened to them and come to terms with the impact it’s had on their life. I’m guessing most children don’t tell someone else after being dismissed by an adult. I know I didn’t. I’m sorry you didn’t get the response from her you deserved. I wonder if her laughing is coloring your feeling that it’s silly that it’s affecting you? Please know it is not at all silly. The messages we internalize are so hard to overcome. Peace to you, Sister xo
It is definitely not at all silly that it still affects you. What he did was not ok, and I’m so sorry he hurt you. I think you are brave to share your story and brave to call it what it was: sexual abuse. I stand with you and I’ll help carry your load like all in this community. 💕
So very brave of you to share your experience. ❤