This is what it was like to be a woman in America in the 20th century.

TW: Sexual assault, rape, child molestation.

I am going to tell you a story now. I have never told this story in full detail before, just bits to certain people I trusted. Now I have to speak. Now you have to know what happened to me in my life. Now you have to know why I feel so betrayed by my country

The first time I was molested, I was 4 years old. I met a man who treated me nice, and asked me to cuddle and kiss him. One day he grabbed me by the pussy (in the words of our President elect.) He put his finger inside and broke my hymen. There was blood. I was terrified, but I kept silent because I was sure I had done something bad. Sure enough, when I told my Mom I didn’t like his kisses, she was mad. I thought she was mad at me. Maybe she was, but probably she didn’t know what I was talking about. I did not remember this until I was in my 30’s, but once I did it was clear as day. I even remember what his aftershave smelled like. I still don’t like aftershave on men.

Bad enough, right?

When I was 9 my breasts started growing. I was the first girl in my class to have to wear a bra. The boys loved to grab it and snap it. If I complained, I got in trouble. By the time I was 12 I was wearing a D cup. It was almost a daily occurrence to have a breast grabbed, or swatted. Everyone laughed at me during sports because they jiggled. My father started lecturing me about tempting boys. He didn’t lecture me about how to make them stop grabbing my breasts though. I heard him laughingly tell my brothers that rape was “assault with a friendly weapon.” Not that it was bad. Not that it wasn’t their right. If I got raped, it would be my fault.

Guess what? I was raped. Thanks to my father for that one, too. He hated the guys I dated because they had long hair, so when we had moved back to Louisiana, he insisted I go on a date with the clean cut boy next door. He asked me to dinner and a movie. He wanted to park beforehand, but I said I was hungry. He went to McDonalds, bought me a hamburger and threw it at me. I should have fled right then, but I didn’t. That was just how I expected men to treat me. After the movie, he drove out in the country to a deserted lot. I had no idea where I was. He pulled out his penis and said, “Get on that.” I started to protest that I didn’t know him that well, but he shoved me back and locked the doors. I couldn’t get out, and I didn’t know where I was. I was crying, but somehow I got him to agree to take me home if I gave him a blow job. So, I did, and he drove us back to town. As soon as I saw the lights of town, I jumped out at the nearest stop sign, and ran. I found a pay phone, and called one of my cousins, who came and picked me up. He offered to kick the guy’s ass, but I just wanted to forget. The next day my father asked how the date had gone. When I tried to tell him that the guy had done inappropriate things, my father told me I must have led him on. That was the last time I ever tried to tell anyone about the way men treated me.

So, I married an abusive man and lived in terror of him for almost a decade. The only reason I left him was that I had met a man who made me believe that I was worth more than that. That was my Roland, and if I am not a blubbering nutcase, it is because of his love and its healing power. When a man that good tells you you are amazing, you start to believe a little. But guess what? He still had a masculine sense of entitlement. The only thing we ever fought about was over things he wanted me to do with my body that I didn’t want to. He would acquiesce, but expressed resentment nevertheless. That just added to the scars on my heart.

I forgive him, because I now know that that is how men were/are raised. They are taught that they are entitled. They are taught that women’s bodies are for their pleasure.

When he was dying, he told me that I was the best woman he had ever known, and the best thing that ever happened in his life. He also made me promise to marry again, because I was too wonderful to be alone in life. So I did. That’s what I do, after all. I do what men tell me to do.

In the course of dating after he died, I was assaulted again. This time there were horrific bruises. I told my daughter I fell, though there were obvious bite marks. I vowed to be more careful. And I was. I met a nice guy. I married him too. And he thoroughly humiliated and embarrassed me, before leaving me for someone else.

So now, I will say “no” to all men, and try to be happy on my own. Because we as a country just validated all those men who abused me. Every damned one. And we guaranteed that this kind of thing would continue to happen to little girls in this country for a few more decades. I will try my best to fight that, but my voice is so very small.

So, for those of you gloating about Trump’s win, and calling it an act of God, you will forgive me if I don’t agree.


About Dee

I have too many cats, and I am crazy, but I still maintain I am not a crazy cat lady. Maybe its the lady part? Widowed, mature, liberal, Christian, intelligent (no, the two are not mutually exclusive!) photographer, blogger, classic rock lover, ex-hippie (ok, maybe not ex) theater aficionado, down to earth, open-minded, loud-mouthed, and very opinionated old lady.
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