Jess

Earlier this year I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, something which I’d dealt with for years, ever since I was a child, but never had confronted properly. I confronted it because I wanted to have a sense of normalcy, I guess, as for years I’ve felt there was something wrong with me. I think it is in part traceable back to what happened when I was about 8 or 9 years old (I forget the age exactly). I was at the pool with my sister and a few boys from our school were there as well. One of the boys seemed to like me, from the way he talked to me and such at school. However at the pool that day he was harassing me about going out with him. I kept trying to avoid him, when suddenly at one point he grabbed my hand and forced it against his genitals and made rubbing motions with it. As soon as he let go I went and told the pool person on duty, and the police were called. When the police came the boy cried. I gave a statement a little while later, but nothing really came of it, I think because of our ages. Later, when I told some friends what happened, they laughed. Maybe from discomfort, maybe from the old “boys will be boys” attitude, I don’t know. But either way it upset me a lot, and eventually I just didn’t talk about it any more. I didn’t even know, and am still unsure of, how to classify what happened, I guess sexual harassment/assault? I’ve felt weird about trying to give a name to what happened as for a while, because of some people’s reactions, I felt like what happened to me wasn’t important or worthy of being labelled as anything other than boys being stupid.
Eventually I had a boyfriend in high school, who broke up with me because I wanted to wait before having sex. After that I had a few sexual experiences, always drunk, never enjoyable. Since then I’ve felt like I am incapable at having a relationship for various reasons.
Since becoming more involved with the feminist movement the incident from when I was young keeps coming back to me, and I think actually talking about it now, and writing about it, will help me in moving forward with my life and help a little with my anxiety. Because what happened to me was absolutely not okay. I hope it helps with my anxiety, and I hope I can look at myself and feel good most of the time now, instead of only some of the time.

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