I Blamed Myself For What Happened To Me

I was 5 years old, surrounded by a loving family who loved God and loved people. I can still remember the dress that my Mom dressed me in on that Sunday morning. It was a yellow dress with frills and ruffles. My hair done in perfect braids adorned with yellow barrettes. On this particular Sunday, at the beginning of the church service, I had to go to the bathroom.

I made my way down the stairs to the bathroom, upon exiting I found myself being abruptly picked up and pushed up against the wall. Confused & disoriented, I finally realized that I was being held by a young man that apparently followed me and waited for me. He proceeded to pull my dress up. I remember the lace that was sown around the trim of my dress. I was left feeling scared and confused. He continued to molest me for some time after that day, which started to seem like it was a regular part of life.

During that time, I kept what was happening a secret, as I was afraid I would be judged. Soon came more young men that began to molest me. I started to think that there was a stamp on my forehead that said: “Touch Her.”

I was molested until the age of 11 years old. The years that followed, I carried the guilt of that pain. I didn’t love who I saw in the mirror, and I blamed myself for what happened to me. I started to have low self-esteem, I cried a lot, and I believed I wasn’t good enough.

For years I blamed myself and believed I was the cause of the trauma that happened to me. But why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we blame the victim? Now with the #MeToo movement and with #timesup at the forefront women and men are coming forth with stories of trauma and sexual abuse. But why do we then point fingers at them for not telling what happened to them until years later? Why do we shame them?

-La-Anna, Survivor