I was assaulted. Not once, but many times. And I got away enough times to start to feel “superior” to other survivors.
I never went to the police for any of the assaults.
Why? Because the first assault, at 13, where two boys (a 10 year old and a 13 year old with mental deficiencies) tore my halter top off to see my just budding breasts, was a lie and an excuse for me to “beat up” the 10-year-old who was, of course, innocent of anything. Even if he did do it, he was “too young to understand” what he was looking at or wanting to see.
I was stalked, because at 13 I didn’t know any better and thought some guy might actually LIKE me, until his “liking” turned dangerous because there were things I didn’t want to do.
I was groped, fingered, pushed against things, bruised, battered – but I couldn’t say anything because those things don’t happen to an “disgustingly overweight girl.” Or, if I did speak up and say so, I must have “desperately wanted it” and should have been “grateful.”
I learned to fight. Not any real “martial art” – just down and dirty street fighting. No knives, because I wouldn’t normally have one on hand. No guns, because why give a perpetrator something to intimidate me with? Just my body and my mind. And I spent hours upon hours thinking of scenarios and going through the motions so that if I ever found myself in a particular scenario, I would have instinctual/habitual protection to end the encounter. Every thought was how to disable the attacker long enough to get away, because running has never been my strong suit.
And, as I grew older, those same experiences made me more judgmental of others like me. Worse, those same protections I was erecting to armor myself, made me a perfect victim for a mental/emotional abuser.
I made it almost impossible to see me as an easy target for a physical attack. I was able to be just watchful enough, just aware enough, just suspicious enough, that predators chose easier prey than me.
But, I left myself WIDE OPEN for a mental/emotional attack.
I was able to keep my empathy for my fellow humans, my compassion for others. And, I left the door wide open for someone to see how gullible I could be.
Why? Because I internalized that guilt and shame. I told myself that *I* was the reason I was assaulted, attacked and degraded. I only saw my worth in terms of how I could help or give to others.
Small wonder I was the perfect victim for an emotional abuser. The only real wonder is the fact that I finally got out. Even after I asked for the divorce, I found myself arguing with people that somehow I still bore a responsibility toward my abuser. That without my support, they would fail. That took MONTHS to even start to understand why I was doing that.
And it’s going to take years to heal. Because it’s not just from the last perpetrator that I need to heal from. It’s all of them.