I was almost 8 or maybe younger, the first time I remember being harassed.
We were playing hide and seek and in the family house in the mountains, he was 18 or so.
He told me to lay down on the ground between two beds facing the ground and not say a word or move.
He laid on top of me and all I remember was him repeating to stay calm so no one would find us and that we are playing a game, he ran his hand under my shirt and dry humped me.
All I remember was feeling uncomfortable but I have never said a word.
Next memory is when I was at school, aged 11 and a student 5 years older than me if not more, would sit next to me during computer class and would run his hands on my thighs and arms, I would move away telling him to leave me alone, for me, I never thought much of it. I remember the supervisor in the school asked me once “did he do anything wrong to you?” and I was baffled by that question, why would she ask? What does she know? And I don’t know if what he is doing is wrong; the only answer I gave uncomfortably was “he is being annoying, I don’t want him to sit near me”
Then a year later at the same school, a student locked me inside the classroom during a break time, shocked me and shoved me to the wall, and then he unzipped his pants forcing me to grab his penis.
At that time I knew it was wrong but I was being threatened and I didn’t know for whom to speak.
That moment teachers were knocking on the door, and he opened the door and I never said a word either.
Then they were random things like how this guy in the family would grab my ass whenever he passes by.
At the age of 13 I had the talk with my mother and mother told me “never let any guy touch you”
At that moment, I realized I was harassed but I felt guilty for not speaking and for letting them touch me so I never shared.
As I was getting older, I had many incidents with taxi drivers, who would try to molest me, some using a weapon.
I had one with an ex, who tried to rape me years ago after we decided to go to an isolated area to talk, he then left me in the middle of nowhere under the rain to figure out a way back home.
I tried to talk as I grew older, but I was always told “don’t sit in front, be careful what cab you take, don’t walk alone or take a cab alone at night, don’t go to isolated places, what where you wearing, you trust people so fast…”
What it caused?
I thought I was affected by it, until I got intimate with someone for the first time.
In that warm moment, something broke in me and all I wanted was to shove the person away.
I was struggling to breathe and all I could feel was the disgust and fear that I felt after each time I was harassed.
I then tried to always focus on the fact that not all men are alike.
The problem was, it wasn’t just the harassment.
Majority of my childhood, the physical contact to me was associated with abuse or harassment.
I couldn’t remember someone touching me for a reason other than harassing me or beating me.
It represented the opposite of security.
That was what physical contact represented, and the most painful journey was to learn to associate being touched with love and affection and security.
It is a lifetime process, but we get better, even though the scars remain.