This post deals with sexual assault and might be triggering for some readers.
Over the course of my life so far, I’ve had many experiences of sexual assault, beginning as a child.
As an adult now, I’d like to share with you the questions that I’ve frequently been asked about sexual assault - real questions, from real people.
Let’s get into the nitty gritty.
Watch: Women and violence, the hidden numbers. Post continues below.
“Why should you report this, after all these years?”
Isn’t the answer obvious? Because I have been seriously harmed by violent crime that irreversibly altered my life. It fundamentally changed me, and who I was before has been destroyed in repeated exercises of betrayal and violence.
“Why can’t you let it go? It happened so long ago.”
Maybe it seems that way to someone looking in from the outside, but for me it might as well have been moments ago.
The memories come unbidden and linger in my mind and body - they can render me listless for hours, or so panicked I’m certain I am about to die from some unknown, perceived threat at any second.
I haven’t been able to work, or study or move along the usual life path - instead, I’ve been barely alive. I can’t let it go, because it won’t let go of me.
“But… didn’t you enjoy it? Weren’t you wet, and didn’t you orgasm?”
Perhaps this is the most insidious question, designed to completely dismiss any claim of violation.
Here’s the thing: you don’t get to know the answers to this.
It’s not appropriate, and you’d never ask a child this - and so many of us were children when the assaults began. That part of our stories belongs to us, and is deeply personal and intimate.
Even if the answer is yes, that doesn’t detract from the fact that an act of violation occurred - the human body is designed to respond to sexual stimuli.