‘Don’t tell your parents:’ An account of sexual assault and its lasting effects

By Scared and tainted
(Name withheld by request)

Locker-room talk is not an excuse to turn a blind eye to or condone sexual harassment or assault.

People who shrug off these malicious actions and words do not understand how these comments and actions affect those who have been affected by sexual abuse. The video of Donald Trump which ended by him saying, “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything”, has circulated the internet and created an uproar on social media.

One of the responses was a tweet from Kelly Oxford, a social media powerhouse, who wrote: “Women: tweet me your first assaults. They aren’t just stats. I’ll go first: Old man on city bus grabs my ‘pussy’ and smiles at me, I’m 12.”

Within the next day the post went viral. Women all over the country began tweeting their first experiences with sexual harassment or abuse.

I was not brave enough to post.

I was in second grade, a mere child who had no idea of the evils of the world, when my outlook on life was challenged. As a child, I was always taught to always trust my family members, and was raised with my cousins as if they were my own brothers and sisters. They would take care of me and babysit me: I was close to all of them, and I never thought I would have to be in any danger around them.

I remember it was Christmastime. My parents and my aunts were not at home, probably out buying Christmas presents. I was in my room and, as usual, my cousin would come and play with me. But this time was different – he was too nice, too close and nervously watching the door.

My cousin, someone who I trusted and was raised with, thrust me onto my twin-sized bed and forced himself on top of me while jamming his hand down my pants.

“Don’t tell your parents,” he told me, grinning.

I was 8 years old. I didn’t know how to act, if I should tell my parents or even if something bad had happened to me: I just knew I felt weird, like I needed a shower because I was dirty. This section of my life was forgotten. I never told my parents. I never told anybody. But I never felt comfortable or wanted to be around him again.

It wasn’t until I was adult that I realized this experience had changed me and the way I socialized with people. Even though more than a decade has passed, it still haunts me in a way that began to affect my personal life and conflicted with my romantic relationship.

This is what Donald Trump and the people who excuse his actions don’t understand – this so-called locker-room talk and these actions have a lasting effect which scars the victims, become obstacles in their lives and is a harmful memory they have to carry.

His words and those who choose to simply dismiss his words by saying “boys will be boys” are promoting rape culture. Our next president should be a person who makes this country safer, promotes American values and encourages people to follow the law. That is not Donald Trump.  


Scared and tainted

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