I’m wondering how many people there are, who like me, did not share their #metoo stories even though they had one (or many). during the hashtag craze. I did not mention my story, and I would ask myself why, and get the knowing that it would be the right time later. This past September 13th was that day. I was talking to my best friend, and the memory that had been buried for 31 years, innocently, and painlessly , floated to the surface of my brain. So for the first time, and with someone I knew would not allow me to fear my own thought process, I shared what happened.
I was sexually assaulted by 3 teenage boys in a rescue squad building where I volunteered, in 1987. I was the first and still the only female at that time, to ever to join the squad, I was also very good looking and not afraid to show it, and I got a lot of flack from both the men who I worked with, and their wives, for serving my community as a volunteer EMT. Now a days its common to see women in rescue squads. it was not when I joined in 1985. My assault took place in the very same room where I had attended class for EMT certification about one year before, It happened on a Sunday in 1987 when i was 17, that was the same year that my chest tripled in size and I started to feel really self conscious about my breasts, because all i wanted to do was climb into wrecked cars and get bloody, and help people, not be looked at or have my peers assume I was a slut just because I needed a really big bra. After my assault, I started drinking, smoking pot, staying busy with anything I could do to ignore things, and I started not allowing people to get close to me, while at the same time, very promiscuously screwing every guy i could find who would do me the honor. That sexual assault in the EMT room was the 3rd one I had dealt with since my first at age 14, and those first assaults didn’t include the rape at the hands of my great uncle who took my virginity when I was 4. The assault in the EMT room was the last straw, and it had happened in a place where I felt safe. It was the only sexual assault that I felt ashamed of. It was the only one that I didn’t tell anyone about. Not my closest relatives, not my closest friends, no one. I had had enough. Instead of following up on my fantasies of suicide, I buried it, with everything else. No one ever told me I had to be strong, I just was, but I was also afraid of love.
My friend asked me, why now. Why didn’t I say anything in 1987.
Because back then, if I had spoken up about it, I would’ve been thrown out, the captain of the squad hated the fact that I was even there, he didn’t like the idea of a beautiful young woman, being with a bunch of men all day, it was asking for trouble, he said. He told me that when i was a gawky, nerdy, stringy looking 15 year old…
Until I was assaulted at the rescue squad house, I wanted to be a flight paramedic after high school. I ended up not being able to stick with any plan to do anything. Back then we didn’t know vocabulary like “sovereignty” or, being a sovereign being. But I knew on some level I had a choice to either allow this to do me in, or go on pushing forward. Despite that assault and the others prior to that one straw that broke the camels back, I chose to keep going.
Healing takes time. Its personal and unique for everyone. We are always in charge of it. And forgiveness is not about forgetting. Its about remembering. Fear is what helps us forget. Love helps us remember, because love treasures all that we hold dear. Love, when I was finally not afraid to feel it, freed all the pieces of my memory, and when everything came to the surface for me to see without fear attached to it, I gave the pain back….
It’s been 31 years. For all the people out there who think too much time has gone by for them, it is never too late to give it back.