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Break the silence that surrounds sexual assault, sexual harassment, interpersonal violence, relationship abuse, stalking, hate crimes, and identity-based violence. Share your story here on our anonymous blog.

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Because this blog features stories of interpersonal and sexual violence, we offer this *content warning* as a way of caution. We also ask that you do not reproduce any of the content below, as the authors of these personal stories are anonymous, and cannot give consent for their stories to appear anywhere other than this blog or at a Project Dinah-led SpeakOut event.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Denial and repression is one of the best coping mechanisms for children and they both did wonders for my childhood. As I got older it was got more and more difficult to repress painful memories especially the one that so heavily affected my sexual relationships with others. I realized that I needed to deal with this trauma in a more grown up manner.

My parents got divorced when I was in the 3rd grade and my mom had been dating the same man for about 8 years. He is significantly younger than my Mom; in fact he is closer in age to me than my mother. He was so nice to me all the time, and made for a pretty decent 2nd father. I used to joke that he was better than my own dad. On occasion I felt strange by a hug he gave me or something he said but I never read too much into it. Early in high school I would lay in bed with my mom and watch TV and we would both fall asleep and my mom’s boyfriend would come up and lay between us when he went to bed. I knew that it was kind of strange when I was doing it but I just liked hanging out with my mom until one night I woke up covered in sweat, my heart felt like it was going to shoot right through my chest, and my lungs were constricting so tight I could not breathe. I could feel a hand up the leg of my shorts and inside my underwear. I was so confused and scared. I couldn’t move at all. When I realized what was happening I decided to wait it out, that it had to stop eventually. I did not want him to know that I was awake but my heart was beating so hard and so loudly all I could think was “HE KNOWS, HE KNOWS.” I laid there without moving and counted every exhale 1…2…3…4… slowing my heart rate with each breath. I counted to 453 that night before I felt his hand pull away from me. I immediately wanted to jump out of the bed but I still didn’t want him to know what was awake and I didn’t want my mom to find out at all so I laid there staring at the clock. I waited 20 minutes before I got up but it seemed like a lifetime. I got up and went into the bathroom and sat in the bathtub bawling.

It was so easy for me to pretend like it never happened. To just forget; so I thought, until my first boyfriend would try to wake me up by touching me and although he thought it was completely harmless I would wake up terrified and feeling violated. I never told him.

I never told anyone until about a year ago. I told a close friend of mine and she didn’t understand why I never told my mom. I have never told my mom because she loves this man and telling my mom wouldn’t make me feel better and it would crush her beyond anything. I love my mom and although that night threw my emotionally, sexually, and psychological health to the sharks I would still never tell my mom.

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