The Correct Name

I use to think about all the things that have happened to me. I would always say, “At least I didn’t get raped, nor was I molested. Not like a pride thing, but from a grateful heart. Except it wasn’t true. For whatever reason, I can’t seem to write about the rape. I’ve typed and deleted so many thoughts and words in the last twenty minutes. So frustrating.

I completely blocked out the molestation (it was not a family member). It was as if I blocked it, but at the same time, I remember remembering it. So I blocked it but not really. Sorry if that doesn’t make sense. I did not think of it as molestation, I think because the person was not an adult, but he was older. As I’m writing this, I keep using plural pronouns for the boy. But it was just one person. I was eight, and I think the boy was probably 12. I was spending the night at a friend’s house. We were in bed reading, and I was reading a book out loud to my friend. He climbed into bed with me, and she instantly “fell asleep.” Now that I think about it, I realize she was faking. He asked me to continue to read. As I read, I felt his hand on my vagina and fondled it. I froze. I kept reading but froze. I didn’t know what to think. No one had done that before, but I knew it was wrong. I finished the story, and he got out of the bed. He asked to be my boyfriend, and I told him no. I didn’t even really know what that was. I don’t remember much after that. I wonder now if he did the same thing to his sister. Why she instantly “fell asleep” when he came into the room. I didn’t go back there again. I didn’t tell anyone.

At that point in my childhood, no one was looking out for me. I had nowhere to turn. There was no safe place, so I think I chalked that up to another unsafe place for me to be. I had the traditional wicked stepmother and the father who wouldn’t stand up to her. I was in a house full of people but utterly alone. I carried that violation alone.

I did eventually tell someone when I was in my early 20s. They dismissed it as kids do that all the time–play doctor. So I carried it another 25 years until I was almost 50. I did an EMDR therapy session about a completely unrelated dramatic event, not even to do with molestation or rape. It was the next day, and I was on the treadmill. All of a sudden, it came back to me in a rush. I realized it for what it was. It was shocking for me to think it was anything else. I gave it its proper name–molestation.

Naming this event in my childhood for what it was, violation and molestation, unlocked a door. Out of the door came my eight-year-old self. I gave her a hug, and she walked away and turned to vapor–dissipating into the whole of me. A visible musty odor followed her out of the door. The musty odor clung to anger and grief. They had made friends with each other during their long imprisonment. They swirled around holding hands until they two followed the little girl disappearing.

I’m sure the little girl and the friends will come back to visit. I’ll hug her and tell her it wasn’t her fault; she didn’t ask for it, and she protected herself the best she knew how. But for now, I’ve processed all I can, and I am at peace. Correctly naming something and voicing it out loud, I think, takes away its power. It was a violation to me, and it was molestation.