I have never been sexually assaulted.

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I have never been sexually assaulted but I have decided to have sex with men I didn’t want to have sex with, men who disgusted me, men who were cruel. I have never been sexually assaulted but I have had sex with strangers, men whose names I’ve forgotten or never knew. I have never been sexually assaulted but I’ve had sex with married men and men older than my father. I have never been sexually assaulted but I’ve had sex with men who refused to kiss me, who ripped my tights instead of taking them off, men who later the same night or next day had sex with my friends. I have never been sexually assaulted but I’ve had sex with men even though I’d decided I would not have sex with them, that they were bad, that they were predators, that they would break my heart. I have never been sexually assaulted but I’ve had sex with a stranger I met on the train, a boy I met in a hostel, a musician I snuck into my room and in the morning we both got kicked out together. I have never been sexually assaulted but I have chosen to have sex with addicts, convicts, masochists, and sadists. I have never been sexually assaulted but I have been hissed at, yelled at and catcalled. I’ve seen men do things I never wanted to see them do.

I consider myself lucky. I’ve escaped the worst of it. I believed that if I could make someone who hated me love me I could love myself and be whole. I chose my own disgrace, again and again. I thought I could protect myself from pain by seeking it. But I wasn’t been able to protect myself the way I thought I could. This is the pain in the water and in the air and in the ground. I am whole. I am healing. But I was not untouched.

Valley HaggardComment