With all of the #MeToo stories in the news lately, it’s getting harder and harder to stay quiet about my own #MeToo moments. There is no longer a reason to be shamed or embarrassed by these things, but more so there is an empowerment in each person’s story. So in that regard I would like to recount my experience and my thoughts and ask some questions along the way. I’ve had this idea in my head that I was going to run into you in the store one day and cause a scene and say these things to you in person, but it would seem that you have moved away and, decades later, I’m done waiting to say these things.
When I was in elementary school I knew you as the older brother of one of my friends. You were a teenager at the time while I was still in the single digits. She would always have these elaborate birthday parties and I was over at the house quite often. One of her birthday parties was a sleepover. After eating and playing Bloody Mary in the basement and scaring each other, we girls called it a night and crashed on the pull out couch.
I’ve always been a sound sleeper and it takes a lot to wake me up. Early the next morning you came and woke me up in the living room while everyone else was asleep. You told me to come with you because you were planning a special surprise for your sister as a birthday present. You took me into the back room and told me that we were going to stage a birthday play and that it was a big secret, which is why we were whispering and hiding and getting ready before everyone else was awake. You told me to take all of my clothes off because you had to measure me for a costume.
I remember that I was wearing my Princess Jasmine pajamas that I had gotten for Christmas a couple of months before. The movie had recently come out and was popular and the pajamas were meant to look like Princess Jasmine’s teal outfit. So I took them off and put them on the floor, and you took one of those clothing tape measures and “measured” me.
It could have been a lot worse, but let’s just say that any seamstress or tailor that had done what you did would be out of business and doing time in jail at some point. It didn’t take long. You touched me and tied the tape around me in ways I didn’t understand at the time. When you were done, you told me to get dressed and go back to sleep on the couch because you had “things to do.”
I was confused because we hadn’t practiced any lines or anything. You see, I really liked plays and even had the lead role during my 1st grade and 3rd grade school plays. Back then, I thought you were getting ready for the play for later. Now I realize you were most likely rubbing one out behind the closed door.
I went back to the pull-out couch and laid awake staring at the ceiling waiting for others to wake up. When they did, the day continued on like nothing had happened and we prepared to have my parents pick me up and go home. I remember telling the others that I couldn’t leave yet because you and I had to do our special surprise play for my friend/your sister. I kept insisting and no one knew what I was talking about, including you all of a sudden.
You see, it took me years to process what had happened. I didn’t think to yell out, “Wait! He took me in the back room and molested me!” I just kept asking when I was going to get to be in the play.
I went home. I never told anyone. I thought, maybe I was mistaken about what happened? You did say that it was a secret after all. Maybe we would do the play the next time I came over? I blocked the incident out. Your sister and I drifted apart as friends and I stopped coming over and I don’t really remember seeing you much after that anyways.
It wasn’t until years later that I was actually watching an episode of Friends that my denial ended and it all clicked into place. Did you watch Friends? You may know the episode that I’m talking about. It’s the one where Joey goes to get a suit made and he comments on how the tailor did some cuppage in an inappropriate area and everyone freaks out. While everyone was laughing at that moment on TV, it was like the memories came flooding back. Everything.
I mean, it had always been in the back of my mind and I hadn’t truly forgotten. I had just blocked it out, because why think about such things? At that point I had wanted to start to tell someone. But it had been so long. Did it even matter any more? Would you get into trouble? We were both minors then and we were both adults at that point. I still didn’t say anything.
In fact, I never told a soul until I told my husband one night in a tear-filled confession of everything that had ever gone wrong in my life. Oh, and you weren’t alone. You were only one of five males that would molest me over my childhood. So my husband got to hear about all of them. I’m pretty sure he still doesn’t know how to process all of that information.
Now that I’ve recounted the information I have questions and statements for you.
1. Why me? I was not the only little girl at that birthday party. Why did you choose me? Did I seem more vulnerable than the others did? Had you already molested your sister before me? I’ve never asked her because if you had, why bring up those bad memories for her? Are there others? Was I just a one-time deal or is there a string of other children? I see that you have your own children now; do you molest them as well?
2. Do you remember what you did? Or do molesters block things out too? Is that a thing? Blocking out your victims? Or are they good memories for you?
3. I have my own children now and you have made me terrified for them. I won’t leave them with babysitters. Even male family members freak me out in the same room as them if I am not with them, and even then, I still get nervous. If the same things were to happen to them, I think that I would fly into a rage and dismember whoever touched them.
4. You ruined one of my favorite childhood movies for me. I used to love Aladdin. I still love that movie. But every single time I watch it, I get flashbacks of being naked in front of you with my Princess Jasmine pajamas in a pile on the floor. I really want to share Aladdin with my own children because it’s a classic Disney movie, but I clench my teeth and look away a lot while we are watching it.
5. I’m married now. I had a flower girl dress made special for my daughter to match my wedding dress. She was three at the time. I wouldn’t let anyone else take her measurements for the dress. I insisted on doing it myself. I knew they were professionals, but no one was going near my daughter with a seamstress tape, so help me. All I had to do was measure her waist, bust, and height. But the flashes of memory wouldn’t go away. How you dragged your measuring tape through my pre-pubescent vagina. I took the measurements as fast as I could and wrote them down and then I just sat and cried and cried for who knows how long. You ruined what should have been a special mother-daughter moment for me because you were a sicko.
6. I hate you. Some people forgive their molesters or feel sorry for them. Not me. I. Hate. You. You have taken a part of my life away that I will never get back. I have flashbacks of memories that I don’t want. You put them there in my head. I can only hope that your life will be ruined in some way that would be equal to what you did to me.
I think that it’s time for me to start telling some of my #MeToo stories. Others deserve to know about you and others out there like you. They need to know that they can move on with their lives and go on to do great things too, despite what has happened to them. I don’t have medical records or DNA samples or witnesses or other proof that would stand up in a court of law and mean jail time for you, but I do have a voice. A voice that others will listen to and at least understand. So this is me making my voice heard and I hope that you and so many others hear it. It doesn’t matter if it’s immediately after or months or years or even decades after, these stories need to be told and people like you need to be called out for things you’ve done.