sexual abuse

Mama said

  1. Never show a man you love him too much. They will see this and take advantage of it knowing you won’t leave.
  2. Never love a man too much i.e more than yourself. He can never give you more than you can give yourself for as long as you can.
  3. When you cook maize meal, add a bit of salt and oil.
  4. Your marriage won’t be worth much if your partner isn’t worth much. If you insist on settling down, let your partner build you.
  5. Take care of your body. Especially your figure and your skin. Your whole appearance as a Woman shows how you feel about yourself and has the power to give you the confidence you need.
  6. Buy attractive lingerie for yourself, not to show it off to someone else.
  7. Family is everything. Friends come and go but if you find those worth keeping, do so. 
  8. Never let another person steal your joy. 
  9. Buy pretty bedding.
  10. Sometimes you need to pray. [Or as I call it, Talk to the Air.]

 

Sound advice, she’s tried.

 

But as I found myself thinking about my future children, especially my daughters, I grew distressed trying to figure out what to teach them and how.

See, I believe my mother didn’t teach me what I feel my daughter should know. And I understand why. For her, some of the greatest lessons have come about through trial and error and being reactive to certain situations which, probably could have been avoided had one of us been proactive, but I understand because she isn’t as vocal as I am and hope to be by the time I have kids. 

She didn’t tell me that boys would lie until I’d already been lied to and led down undesirable paths in the name of Love.

She didn’t prepare me for the emotional Beast I’d become once a month when my hormones kick in.  The Education system failed me here too. Y’all just made it seem like a bit of bleeding, not cramps that feel like a kick to the vagina resulting in what looks like a Spartan battlefield on a good/bad day. The anger, emotional texts to Ex’s [although that could just be me] none of that.

She didn’t tell me that as a female, you’re a walking target. I guess I understand why. My mother doesn’t really see things the way that I do. She still victim blames, I admit, but a lot of her generation does. Also, I doubt she would have wanted me to grow up looking over my shoulder expecting to have something happen but, I feel it’s something every girl should know. Rather rob them of their childhood with honesty than have them end up in a situation far worse because they were naive.

Pregnancy scares. We don’t discuss those obviously. I doubt we ever will, but I want to with my daughter. I guess we’ll squeeze it into the Sex Talk.  One of the few times we discussed pregnancy I brought up abortion and my mother was mortified. “We don’t kill what God creates” she said. I laughed and said those are her views and we’d need to be logical and consider whether bringing a child into the world would be the best thing. She said I was speaking like the Devil, which amused me. I know though that I don’t want my daughter feeling obligated to keep a child because of emotional blackmail. I want her, should she find herself in that position, to make an informed decision.

She never told me to know when to leave a man, I found that out the hard way.  

I learned that one should avoid patriarchal men like the plague out in the world too. My daughter will know the same. Although I guess the “Have a partner who builds you” part covered that.

Cook because you want to, not because you have to, for someone else. I hate that. Having to interrupt your time of doing Peaceful Nothing to fix a meal for someone who’ll probably decide it’s not worth it and sleep by the time you’re done. 

I believe Sundays are peaceful. For solitude and everything else you want. Sundays are Selfish days, to be worshiped. I’ll tell my daughter. 

Mama always wanted a happy family that bonds over dinner and cooks together and laughs all the time and such. We are the exact opposite. She knows her children love her but I always tell her, personally, I don’t feel the need to always be in my family’s presence. I spend a fair amount of time alone and there isn’t anything wrong. She says it’ll lead to me being in an unhappy household, I tell her I don’t want to raise kids  who are dependent on another person for comfort, it’s simply how I am. 

I drink quite a bit. I drink when I’m sad, when I’m happy and when I’m excited. No, it isn’t as often as you may think, but beer, wine, straights, they all get a pass with me. And no I don’t get sloppy drunk unless I’m home and with close friends, and even then, I never want to because I always want to know everyone is alright. My mother drinks a few glasses of wine every two months and thinks I’m an alcoholic. Dear Future Daughter, drink if you want to, just don’t be a fuck up.

Religion. If you haven’t figured it out by now, she’s religious. Christian. I was once, and then I read too many books and thought too much to continue believing in a White man in the Sky and virgins giving birth to Saviors. I hope my daughter isn’t religious, I won’t lie. Spiritual, yes please. But that’s her choice to make. 

Sexuality. I’m guessing you can figure out mother’s views on that. Marriage, monogamy, kids, the basics. I still have to explain to her how gay people have sex sometimes when she’s drunk and curious but thank god she’s not a homophobe. I want my daughter to do with her body as she pleases, to own herself.

I will stress the importance of an education. Not just degrees, they’re nice, but to be smart and know the world, understand people, understand yourself. Nothing’s more depressing than a person with a degree and an empty head, there’re too many running around.

I want her to know she’s always stronger than she knows and sometimes, than she wants to be, and her mother was too. 

I want her to know that Love is everything. And true Love, for anything or anyone, should never leave you feeling Less Than in anyway. 

And that mistakes happen and there is no shame in Living. 

I hope I raise a little Warrior. A beauty. An Amazonian Princess honestly. A woman who could have held her own had she been born in Sparta. Someone like Cleopatra. One who walks with pride and is firm in her knowledge of Self and depends on no none, needs no one, who isn’t worth it. I hope I raise a Queen who unfortunately, will know loneliness because those of her kind will be rare in society, but I know she will seek out and find comfort in like minded people.

I know a fair amount of the lessons will come about as me being reactive too. I realize that with parenting. I appreciate what my mother has taught me and what she kept from me, she was doing the best she could and I will do the same. Maybe one day my daughter too will point out what I could’ve taught her but didn’t. And that’s alright.

The whole point of relationships is to learn. My mother has taught me and I have taught her. Lessons I hope we both spread out into the world. 

Lessons of Love. 

Image

 

“A girl child ain’t safe..”

My cousin says he loves me “despite our differences”.  Our “differences” being he wants to sleep with me every time he gets drunk in my presence and I resist his advances and shun him.  He once asked me “Why do you give others and not me?” I still don’t know how to answer his questions.

He speaks to me and stares at my breasts, watches me walk out of the room and I feel his eyes on my thighs. When my male friends visit he wins them over by sharing alcohol with them and cracking jokes. They talk about the latest movies and attractive females, they spend so much time looking at him, paying attention to him that they don’t notice that every time I get up to get a drink I move further away. That he constantly tells them how much he “loves” me and I never say anything back. Not even smile. 

My mother constantly asks him to stay with us when they’re away. I wonder why because she knows. I wonder if  she thinks what I told her when I was thirteen has changed. And I’ve learned that sometimes it’s best to fight alone, quietly, than to win people over to your cause. 

I watch For Colored Girls and observe the dance teacher chat gaily to the man who will soon be her rapist. He walks her home and she twirls for him as she explains something or the other about the music she loves so much. I watch her and feel sorry.  Observing her enthusiasm, naivete, is like seeing a child run into the street after a ball with a speeding car on the road. Observing her is tragic. I think “But all women should know never to be so at ease.”

My body and I have an agreement. Never be comfortable around these men. We cannot afford to be.  We do not need to be. It simply is not advisable to be.  I sometimes glance at my closest male friends and wonder, what would it take for him to be like them? It can happen, but will it?

 

I think back to the time my boyfriend forced himself on me and my 12 year old self decided it couldn’t be rape because when I agreed to date him it obviously meant I knew he’d want my body and I had somehow agreed. I think of the time when my friend came back from a date no longer a virgin and no longer a believer n the Good in humans and I cannot see what it is about this Life that should make us calm,leave us at ease.

I hear men who think we should appreciate their grabbing us on the street and tell us that we modern day women don’t know how to take compliments and think, how are we wrong for not taking unwanted sexual advances and rape as flattering?

I think people who tell us we’re too wound up are the worst kind of Ignorant. How would you be if you knew smiling at a stranger on the street could be reason enough in his eyes to follow you home and have his way with you? That your uncle,father,brother could decide that you wearing shorts at home is a sign for him to come get it? That your drunk boyfriend could decide it’s funny to lock you up in a room and have his friends rape you as he watches?

Would you still be as carefree and giggle with men? Would you flirt so openly? Dress as you please and walk the streets with a guy you met last night? Would you find it as easy to go out and “socialize” and be as comfortable sitting in a room with your boyfriend? All things considered,would you?

I always say if the average man were to have a sex change tomorrow, he’d have a nervous breakdown in a week at the most. You don’t know what it’s like to be us. What it takes to be strong and appear normal when all you think about is how you might be a waiting statistic.

The human female is probably the most preyed upon creature on this Earth. And most of the time it seems we’re expected to watch while we’re devoured. Welcome it even.

Frankly,not only is a girl child not safe in a family full of men,she isn’t safe in a society that doesn’t understand nor respect,applaud, her will to survive.

image

“I am a man, not a victim” : Males and Abuse

“But the problem with feminism is, if we say women are equal to men, then they’ll start raping men..”

 

You see there’s this great misconception that men cannot be victims of abuse.   Because they’re expected to be strong and invulnerable, a lot of men don’t admit to sexual abuse and a lot of women don’t acknowledge that it occurs.   

 

Possibly due to the fact too that women are only considered care givers and motherly, it would be difficult for a lot of people to realize that we could as easily perpetrate Evil as the next man. 

 

Gender roles and stereotypes that teach who can and can’t be dangerous mean that a lot of the time we let out guards down based on assumptions.  We’d keep our kids from the uncle who gets too tipsy at family gatherings  and usher them off to the maid when in fact she could be the one considering selling your kids. 

 

A few years ago I read an article about a maid who’d been sleeping with her employer’s 6 year old son. She gave him an STI and said she was doing it to “cleanse her blood”. The article I remember centered on the fact that she was a woman who’d done what’re considered  “male crimes”, child molestation, and statutory rape.  A few months after I read this I came home early from school to find our maid at the time in the living room asking my brother, who was 7 at the time, if he knew what a condom was because at some point he’ll need to use it, which was followed by a giggle from her.  There was so much for my mind to process at that point. First of all, wait, what? Second of all, What? Third, why? Fourth, Hold up.  See in that instant my mind was reeling. Why? Is this what she does when we aren’t home? What else does she do? 

 

It’s a difficult subject to broach with a child. “Did she touch you and make you uncomfortable?” Because as Oprah once stated, the problem with sexual abuse, sometimes when your body responds, it makes you wonder if it’s actually as bad as it is.  I had to do it because my mother would have broken down.  He replied with a “No” but then again, he was confused, there’s a question mark over the whole thing and I know that, should the day come when he remembers, he’d sooner say “She was teaching me” than, “I was abused.”

Because “abuse” is considered a feminine thing. Something that happens to vulnerable females who can’t protect themselves and when the roles are reversed, whereas the daughter of the family would go for counselling, the son will be told to man up and focus on “serious things”.

Someone I used to know lost his virginity at 9 to a woman who was 21.  See, he never spoke about it as what it was. To him, he was “mature”, they were in a “relationship” and they  “loved each other”, according to him, I just didn’t understand and I asked him, if  the roles were reversed, what would it be? Rape. Simple. But he said he appreciates that she taught him and that’s what he sees as “Real Love”. I don’t bring it up anymore. 

 

The need to portray themselves  a certain way means a lot of men never admit to and deal with the abuse they’ve suffered.  They carry it, swaying between feeling manly and pathetic, shameful. They hate themselves for not having been able to defend themselves, and for feeling like what happened was wrong. A “real man” should be proud. Should appreciate the lesson, isn’t it every man’s dream to be initiated that way?

 

Men are victims. Women are victims. People are victims and suffer at the hands of others. Suffering is not meant for any specific person and whatever doesn’t help/heal you is not for you. 

And to women; Our struggles are not unique. It’s wrong of us to think just because a select few men do not appreciate or relate to them, all men can’t. A lot of us will advocate against rape and yet laugh at a man who says he’s been a victim. We still carry misconceptions and exclude those who feel as we do sometimes based solely on the fact that they are different [male]. A lot of us are yet to learn that men hurt as we do, they just don’t always know what to do or how to do it. 

Things are only “different” when you haven’t left your Self and put yourself in the other’s situation. What happens to you/has happened to you, has happened to someone else and expecting healing through solitude can’t always be the way forward. 

Evil is a human trait. Some suppress it and some don’t. It is not Manly, it is not Feminine, it simply Is. 

Image

 

Image

 

Image

 

– Last image courtesy of PostSecret.com

 

Well,what did she do to get herself into such a situation?

So what happened was, I was 11 and in the living room watching a movie. It was late. I was with my cousin. He was 14/15 at the time. He was like a brother to me. We shared eggs at breakfast,he’d eat my maize meal when I didn’t want it and he taught me how to climb trees.

There was Trust,there was Peace, there was Comfort. And because these three things existed,I didn’t notice when he started looking at me differently. I didn’t notice the new interest he’d taken in whether I had a boyfriend or not. Or his particular insistence that I wear my grey shorts cos it was hot. The thought of any kind of attraction never crossed my mind because only dirty men saw their female relatives that way and I was not related to any.

As I watch the movie I notice he keeps on staring at me. I ask why and he says Nah,he’s just thinking about something. I ignore it and sink down into the chair. I’m  home,fuck it. He comes to sit next to me.

Now, this, this is when it all clicks. I panic internally. I want to cry. I hope I’m wrong. I lay perfectly still and feel my whole body tense up. As he begins to speak I jump up, “The movie’s boring” and with that,I fuck off to my room as fast as possible.

I can’t sleep. I cry. Because for the first time, I’m uncomfortable in my own home because of someone I was naive enough to trust. I’m in shock. I think maybe I overreacted. But maybe I didn’t. I doze off and wake up to him attempting to shut my bedroom door as quietly as possible. “Fuck,I’m fucked” I think. My mother. Her room is directly across from mine. I hate her then,a little,for not giving me my bedroom key.

He sits on my bed. Says he wants to talk. It’s 3AM. I tell him I’m asleep,he says it’s fine. He can talk til I sleep..and do I sleep naked? I’m unable to react. I don’t know what to do. As I begin to accept the fact that maybe,just maybe,I’m about to get raped with my mother in the next room,a door opens. My mother opens my bedroom door,looks at me,terrified,looks at him,looking guilty,and simply asks him to leave my room. He does. She looks at me. Stares. Then goes to her room,comes back and gives me my room key. No words are exchanged.

I wake up and wish I didn’t have to face anyone. The sun makes the night’s evils that much more sinister,shameful,and true. We continue as if nothing happens. The day passes by flawlessly and I think, I’m such an idiot for even entertaining such thoughts. I’m silly.

The sun goes down,and yet again,it’s movie time. He sits away from me this time. During a break I go to the toilet,come back and he’s sitting in my spot, I protest, he says “What’s the issue?Sit on my lap if you like the seat so much” and I freeze. Fuck. Again? I move away and he gets up,towers above me,pushes me down,thrusts his hand into my top,squeezes my breast and forces his finger into me. I push him away and tell him should he ever touch me again,I will kill him. I don’t know if I mean it. I’m 11. But I’m all kinds of fucked up and..I just might.

He leaves the next day. Doesn’t visit for 2 years. I don’t need to see him. I forget.

A friend tells me her step dad tried to rape her. As she speaks,I get flash backs. I break down. We cry,in school,on a bench, unashamed. I make a promise to tell my mother that night. The ride home is Hell.

I am not ready,but I must. I walk into her room,sit,look away,try not to cry and ask “What would you say if I told you I’ve been molested.” The look on her face…she shatters. “Heeeh?” I repeat what I asked, begin to cry and tell her.. Then her face goes blank. “Well,wena what did you do?I told you about those shorts.” “But I was at home…” “But you were around men,didn’t you know?” I leave.My mother and I don’t speak for months but it’s evident that it’s something I shouldn’t discuss. It would shame the family.

I text my other cousin on one of the mornings when I’m high on pain killers and can’t go to school..He tells my other cousin,who calls and asks about it. Things get messy. They know now,so I deny it. I can’t deal with having to explain.

By now,anyone can tell. I was walking through a mall with a male friend and ran into him. We exchange greetings and I leave. As much as he’s someone I’ve loathed at some point,I am civil when I see him. As we walk away my friend asks “Who is that guy bruh?He was looking at you like he’s BEEN wanting to fuck. It was creepy.” My response? “That’s my cousin,and I know.”

dy_dlc_aguilera tumblr_m9lmvvy0mj1qbszydo1_500 tumblr_mbsy2aIOEN1qbp49uo1_500