“I am not my violation”

I was sexually molested at the age of six.

No one knows this. My family. My friends. No one. I’ve spent my entire life up till now trying to shove it out of my memory. And yet the one thing that keeps ripping its way through is his smile as he walked away. That image has pushed through my thoughts far too many times to count. He had just violated my innocence. Shattered it. Taken it whole. And all he left me with was a smile. No apology. Just a smile. As if he hadn’t done anything wrong at all.

Every time I have ever been sexually harassed, assaulted, or ridiculed since then, it has been followed by a smile. And what every one of those guys doesn’t know is that when they felt the right to smile at me after such an act, I saw someone else’s smile reflected in theirs.

This memory had never made me truly angry before. I didn’t even let myself claim the word “molestation” because I felt my experience wasn’t worthy. It was quick. I was too young to understand. Too young to process. But at the age of six, I had to learn that my body was an object to certain eyes and that I was in danger of being sexualized, even then. I didn’t really get angry about what had happened to me until I thought of what I’d do if it were to happen to my daughter someday. That’s when it hit. That’s when I could feel the pain. When I felt it for my six year old self, who didn’t deserve to have her innocence violated. When I realized how angry I’d be if my future daughter ever had to go through such a thing.

I had my innocence violated.

And each and every time I have been violated since, it has been followed with a smile. A “Hey, I was just playing around (smile)” “Don’t be so sensitive; I was just having a little fun (smile)”.

Don’t smile at me.

Respect me.

I am not my violation.