In recent months I have wondered about publicly speaking about some things of my past, mostly in an effort to free myself from it. I didn’t expect that today I would decide to do it. The reason though, is not for me. It’s for all the other people it might affect.
I spent about four years of my life being sexually abused by a neighbor. At the time it started I was five. I was absolutely confused and startled when it happened. When it continued to happen, I became even more conflicted. I knew this person, and I knew their family. I thought I could trust this person, so in my mind, whatever was happening probably wasn’t that bad. It was probably just me thinking it was bad. I mean after all, my body felt good, but my heart felt bad. And so it continued. I was around nine when it started to stop, and I’m pretty sure it was over and done with by the time I was ten, although, because of how conflicted I was with it all, I don’t even really remember for sure.
When I was 17, I had a great friend. She is someone I absolutely treasure to this day. This friend told me about something terrible that happened to her brother, that in turn uprooted their whole family to remove her brother from his abuser. She told me small details of what happened. It finally hit me. I was abused. I honestly had no idea before this friend recited the truly unfortunate and sad truth of her brother’s trauma, that abuse was what happened to me. I remember listening to her, dumbstruck. I think I might have told her that happened to me, but what I really remember is spending evenings alone in my bedroom as I tried to wrap my mind around it. I didn’t tell anyone. I tried to make sense of it all, and I thought I did.
All I really did was used a confused 17-year-old mind to understand something so complex that scientists are still trying to understand. And then I moved on.
When I was 21 and started therapy again after many attempts at it in the past, I decided to tell my therapist about it, thinking it might make my therapy more worthwhile. And it did. That set the ball rolling on what became some of the hardest 3 years of my life as I worked through the abuse in therapy. While, truthfully, my abuse was absolutely “nothing” in comparison of what others have gone through. It was enough for me.
Now, as I work with people who have absolutely been affected by things much, much worse and grotesque than anything I could have ever imagined possible, I see that I was completely lucky. I understand that I was absolutely shielded from the true terror of abuse, and for that I am grateful for beyond explanation. However, I also see that if it took me years, literally, to feel okay enough to talk about it, those things that both men and women have gone through that are absolutely worse than what I went through, have to be the most painful and truly terrifying things for a person to work through.
Even now, as I am writing this post, I feel so much shame and embarrassment that I wonder if I’ll even have the guts to press “publish.” And then I think, it’s not for me. It’s for my girls, it’s for my brother and sisters, and their children. For my nieces and nephews. For my future children. And then I know; This has to change.
There should be no more silence and there should be no more need to be ashamed of the awful things that happen to victims. Instead, we should save ourselves and others by stopping pornography. Stopping the belief that sex is emotionless and strictly recreational.
I absolutely believe that my abuser was probably also subjected to terrible things. And that their abuser was probably as well. And, truthfully I think it all starts with the ideation of pornography and sex. I could go on and on about why I believe that, but instead I’ll spare all those who are reading this and get to my point.
Next weekend is Valentine’s Day, and whether you think it is a chance for card and candy companies to make money, or a day to celebrate love, or just another day, I believe the release of Fifty Shades of Grey will be the start of more terrible things to come.
From what I understand, (and let me be clear, I have not read this book or viewed the trailer for the movie, nor will I ever), it is filth. Fifty Shades of Grey WILL be viewed by men and women both young and old, and it will alter their perception of sex. And, while I do not believe my family members and friends who are considering viewing this movie, or maybe have already bought tickets to, are the people who will act out this filth on a five-year-old like I was or anyone else not consenting whether adult or child. But I believe that those same people spending money to support this film will trigger more films, and that someone somewhere WILL be abused by either viewers of this movie or others like it to come. There is no doubt in my mind that this will happen.
And so I’m counting on my loved ones to not attend this movie. To not spend one more penny, on it. Do not click on the ads, buy the books, or give anyone the idea you like the idea of this book turned movie. People are impressionable. We all believe the people we love are seeking to do the right things. And if you choose to endorse this movie, you in turn, end up endorsing the filth that happened to me and so many others, on levels much worse than mine.
I know that people may think I should not close my mind to something “so freeing” as knowing what “I like sexually.” But I can tell you this. I do not like abuse. I do not like watching my girls fight each day to overcome abuse. I do not like wondering if my younger brother and sister are being exposed to such terrible material that will alter their views on love. I do not like those things. And speaking out about this movie will always be harder for someone to do than it will be to walk into that same movie and indulge our appetites and passions.
And so I beg of you, to not. To use self-control and good judgement to stop this movie. To stop the makers of this movie from believing they need to make more like it. Instead, I hope you will look into organizations like Fight The New Drug, or the #50dollarsnot50shades movement and combat abuse.
I want to make clear, that seeing this movie does not make you filthy. It does not mean you don’t have good judgment or self-control. I also know, that many who will see this movie will need help. If they are lucky enough to get that help, they will spend years overcoming what the images and thoughts this movie promotes, and if they are not destroyed by that, someone else, somewhere will be. And that person matters enough for us to not endorse this. Please take a stand.