This is originally from my old blog, “Clever Title Goes Here.” I found a repository that has it archived, otherwise, I would send you there myself. The story itself takes a little explanation. My first wife was molested for years, and so was one of my best friends growing up. So the two women closest to me in the entire world had both been violated in a way that I might never see the real them. I don’t have anything to say to those women directly, only that I love them and wish them well. No, this is a letter angry enough letter that I went outside and punched a trash can until I could see straight again. I don’t hate men, but I do hate animals. These women were taken advantage of for no more reason THAN THEY COULD BE.
Tonight the discussion in my sexuality and relationships class was about rape and abuse. As I sat there and absorbed everything that was said, I could feel my temperature rising. My cheeks flushed with anger and embarrassment. Everything within me wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, “YOU BASTARD! YOU HAVE STOLEN FROM ME!” Only my deep connection to my polite Southern upbringing stopped the torrent from breaking forth.
Fiona* was a small child when her uncle started babysitting. He would bring over his young son so that Fiona would have a playmate. At first, Fiona was delighted, but then things started to get weird. Her uncle wanted to teach her to kiss his son “so that she would be ready when the time came.” As time passed, the abuse grew more frequent and more involved.
When her uncle finally stopped babysitting, Fiona and her cousin didn’t know any other way to relate to each other except sexually, which they did for a while until each started to feel overwhelming shame.
I met Fiona about five years ago, and we started dating. Things began to go wrong within minutes, but I couldn’t quite place a reason why. In retrospect, I cannot believe that I never asked about her violent mood swings, her rejection of hugs that lasted more than a few moments, and her refusal to discuss any type of conflict. Frustrated, I broke things off with her after about six months.
She wrote me a letter last year detailing the horrible things that had happened to her. As I sat reading, my heart started to break. Why hadn’t I been more aware of what was happening to her?
It was then that I decided to direct my anger at the one who deserved it: Fiona’s lowlife uncle. He had been the one to rob my girlfriend of her ability to trust. He had been the one to skew her vision of love and relationships, ensuring that she would always see them as power struggles. He had been the one to tear away at the idea that sex was beautiful, natural, even spiritual at times. Though it wasn’t a direct hit, he had stolen from me, and I wanted him to pay.
What is it going to take to raise a generation of people that have no concept of rape and abuse? Of the type of control over others that rape and abuse represents? I don’t have any answers, but I am happy to have a group of people with which I can brainstorm. Something needs to happen, not only for the potential victims, but for all the people left in the shadow when it occurs.
*Names and identifying details have been changed to protect a woman I loved.