I love myself

I was 10 years and 1/2 when I have been physically and sexually assaulted for the first time. It was at school, my agressors were 3 older classmates. It lasted 2 years.
They said I was so ugly and so skinny that I looked more like a monkey than a girl and therefore I deserved it. Once they came with a knife. Another time they choked me.
Nobody helped me. Being so ugly and getting such sexual attention, what a compliment! “If I were as ugly as you I wouldn’t be so picky” told me a girl.

It took time to me to understand it was sexual assaults.

It stopped when I moved with my parents to another city and went to a new school where I felt safe.
But when moving, we met our new neighbours. A lovely old couple. They were very friendly. They have always been friendly. Even after he had shown me his erected penis. I wasn’t yet 13 and I was doing my homeworks in my garden.
Well, only whores learn their maths and geo lesson in their garden right? Everybody knows that if a 70 years old man touch himself in front of a young teen it is because the teen is asking for it. That what I learned. I have certainly had done something to provoke him. That was my fault. I was not allowed to enjoy my garden anymore.

I was 17 when I left home and went to the university. According to my friends, the ugly Duckling I was became a beautiful swan. My acne disappeaedr, I gained weight, I changed my hairstyle. I was “attractive”, “a beautiful young lady”, a “sexy and sophisticated girl”. Wasn’t it normal that men were so willing to express their feeling about my body and how good I looked? After all, they were just making compliments, right? Only a posh princess or a whore would be arrogant enough or dirty enough to not appreciate such treatment.

When I was ugly, I should have expected insults, mockings,touchings, assaults and felt grateful for that. Weren’t the assault a kind of interest from my attackers?
Being a beauty I should have expected catcalls, whistlings, insults, unwilling comments, touchings and assaults and feel happy and somehow grateful for that. Wasn’t it a recognition of how sexy, pretty and desirable I was?
“only pretty girls got raped!” How often did I heard that! Like if it was either a compliment or a fatality.
The fact is that I have been raped by a stalker who followed me and harrassed me in the street. It started like any street harrassment, this harmless way to compliment a woman. But it did not help me to learn that was because I was soooo pretty.

The truth is that I have not been harrassed, assaulted, mocked, tortured and raped because I was ugly or pretty or skinny. That only was pretext (and anyway how could it be ok to assault someone just because of how he/she looks like).
The fact is that I have been sexually harrassed, assaulted, mocked, tortured and raped because I am a woman, all the insults and comments were about degrading who and what could be recognize as female and feminine and my attackers felt they had the right to treat me this way.
I met a lot of girls who have been victims of sexual violence and they were all very different from one to another, as  all reports and studies available about sexual violence confirmed. They are child, teen, adult, old people, small, tall, slim, fat, with brown hair, blonde hair,red hair, from all nationalities, all culture, all religion, all background. The only common point: being female and being attacked on our female and/or feminine aspect.
Isn’t it appalling to know that 98% of rapists are men and 97% of rape victims are women? That 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted or raped at least once in her lifetime?
Isn’t it horrific to reduce to silence the victim, telling them that what happened was normal because we are ugly or in reverse so beautiful that “you have to understand, he couldn’t help” or telling us that we are overreacting, asking us if “really, you did not like it, even not a little bit?” or “are you sure this was rape? May be you sent a wrong message and he misunderstood.”
What is not clear in “NO”?
Why is it not clear that we all deserve to be respected?

I have spent years hating myself when I should have spent all my energy to shout against sexual violence and to love myself.
I know now that I haven’t done anything wrong. I have the right to be ugly. I have the right to be beautiful. I have the right to be skinny. I have the right to be fat. I have all the rights when it is a question of my body. I have to right to be me.
Now I love who I am. I love my body. I love myself. I love me. I am alive. And I am happy.

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