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and she said...look, I'm no victim

i read this article...and once again i don't know what to do. to be sad, to cry about these gals who have and are sufferring so much , just because of some douchebag.
or to be happy that no one around me has seen any of this...or never disclosed
hence giving a fake relief.
link


this victim would like to speak out. Not on behalf of other "victims", because each perpetration of sexual violence, fondling, verbal abuse, intent even, is different for each person. I want to speak out because I believe that the shame the victims of sexual abuse feel is one of the reasons sexual abuse continues to occur in our society. Victims hide the abuse so they are not branded either a "victim" or a "slut", or become known primarily for that act of violence, rather than for the many and multifarious good things they may have done since – raised a family, written a book, gained a PhD, in my case.
I was abused when I was 11, by a friend of my parents. Joe doesn't fit any of the stereotypes people are looking for in the media. He was married. He was an alcoholic. He had known me since I was in my mother's belly. He had once tried to date my Aunt. He had a nickname for me, "lucky devil", because I'd once used the phrase, when I was four, about my elder sister.
He abused me twice, two afternoons in the Easter holiday when my parents were out. I remember my vest, my favourite white and pink polka dot vest. I never wear anything with dots now. Avoid them. I remember climbing the wall away from his hands. I remember the second time, his wife coming in and saying "leave the child alone". I remember she bought me an Asterix book – hardback – Asterix and the Normans. His beautiful copperplate handwriting wrote in the front "To Lucky Devil – Happy Easter". I still won't have a copy of that book in the house.
He gave me an envelope with two one pound notes in it – ostensibly to pay for the telephone calls he made from my parents' phone. It was an envelope with a Mr Men character on it – Mr Blind (how ironic!) – with his handwriting on it. I took the two pounds and hid the envelope under a floorboard in the attic, and it remained there like a ticking heart, for my whole childhood, until we moved when I was 16. The night before we moved, I climbed up there and retrieved it and burned it outside my window with a cigarette lighter. My father asked me over and over again where the envelope was – Joe had told him he'd left it – but Dad came to the conclusion that the man was a drunk and a liar. I took the money because I suppose my 11-year-old self thought it was mine. I kept the secret and the envelope there, because it meant the secret was real.
I became unhappy. "You were always moody," my mother says. I cried a lot throughout my teenage years. I drank, from various bottles of spirits stored in my parents' cupboards. I cut myself with razorblades. I smoked from the age of 16, became anorexic, and most significantly slept with boys from a young age: because it was a choice I was making. Everything I did, said: I am choosing what I do with my body, but my mind doesn't know how to cope. At 11, I was a very quiet, studious child who read books fast – I was precociously bright. I wanted to be a "scientist", but from that age – the first Easter break in my first year at secondary school – my grades slipped and slipped. At 17, I was going toward a pretty terrible adulthood. And then two things happened. Joe wrote to tell my parents he was coming to England and could he come to stay? My younger sister was 11. I broke down – threw a huge, melodramatic fit. Told my mother that Joe couldn't come to stay. I still can't really talk about that moment – when Dad realised what had happened, and cried. When I was asked – what did you do?
The second thing that happened was I made a friend called Tom. He saved my life. He talked to me, was kind, affable, decent. We were friends who went to the theatre and wrote to each other and met in parks and laughed, though we had other boyfriends and girlfriends. And then we fell in love and that's that. We have four children, have been married 25 years. We're fine. I told him about Joe and he made me see counsellors at university about the anorexia and bulimia. He loves me without question. That's how I remain undamaged, not a victim, head held high in the world.
Sharing this is horrible – but you see, this is how it continues to be perpetrated. When I was 11, I had no language, despite having read most of the English canon of novels, to speak about the part of the body Joe touched. As I grew older, the pain of it grew with me and mutated me. How to explain that? And when we are adults, we don't want to talk about it because we've found ways to cope with it.
We don't say: look, I'm fine, despite you. We don't say: look, I'm no victim. We don't say: anyone touches my children and I'll kill them (not in public anyway). We don't want the pain of talking about it. And more importantly, we don't want to be judged for that significant act. The people who have come forward now, in their thousands, perhaps feel the same as me: why be defined by the Saviles, the Halls, the endless weird, isolated men who have been arrested recently?
The first to come forward and be identified in the media, have given others the confidence to do so, and this is a good thing. But it is noticeable that only a very few are giving their names to the media.
Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus will always be defined as kidnap victims, rather than the women they will become: people who I hope will grow, change, become better than what happened to them, and live fulfilling lives. Sufferers of abuse are not "victims", not even "survivors" – we're brilliant, wonderful human beings, out there in the world, avenging ourselves on a daily basis by living well.
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