I have a hard time saying that I was sexually abused. In all my sixteen years, it’s been programmed into me that sexual abuse is something that older guys do to girls. That’s the stereotype, anyway. But that’s not quite how it works. Anyone can be a victim and anyone can be an abuser.
My abusers took the form of two young girls, my own age. You see, that’s why I have a hard time calling it abuse. How crazy does it sound that a couple of little girls sexually abused another little girl? We were just kids, right? Well, it doesn’t feel like it.
We were in first grade. They were sisters that had been abused by their father. And they did the same to me.
I can’t remember very many details, just that the first time I was scared because I thought we would get in trouble. I remember that the girls built forts in their bedrooms so that if their mom walked in, she wouldn’t see anything. How did we know that this thing we did was wrong when we didn’t even really know what we were doing?
I didn’t even register any emotions toward what happened for years, but then all of a sudden it was all I could think about. Suddenly I was scared of anything with a sexual connotation. I can’t have a boyfriend, even if he’s okay with not having sex, because society puts too much pressure on it.
The last boyfriend I had was a serious one. He was really sweet and never brought up sex or even kissing; he never knew why I was scared of it, just that I was, and he was okay with that. But I started getting terrible anxiety to the point where I didn’t even want to see him, because other guys kept putting sexual pressure on our relationship.
And the worst thing is that it’s ruining me, but I don’t feel like I can look for help from people in my life because it scares me that they might not believe me, or they might treat me differently. Maybe they’ll believe what I said happened, but they’ll brush it off as a childish game of you show me yours and I’ll show you mine.
But it’s not that simple. I get so scared all the time. I can’t sleep very often. They didn’t even know what they were doing and they ruined me. What would happen if someone actually tried?
— Alice, age 16