We thought they were right
Some of us were children when an older girl told us that it was normal to play with each other in a way that devastated us.
Some of us were children when a group of older boys told us it was normal for boys and girls to play in a way that devastated us.
Some of us were children when an adult told us it was normal to physically show love to one another in a way that devastated us.
They were wrong.
We figured out that they were wrong when we began to have nightmares.
Or wet the bed
Or had stomach aches almost weekly even when the stomach flu wasn’t even going around at school.
Or when we were scared and lonely all of the time.
Or our someone took us to the pediatrician and we had a sexually transmitted infection.
We had a feeling that they were all along. Something didn’t feel right. Something felt strange. Something felt wrong.
But we thought they were right.
Children don’t know.
But children don’t know a multitude of things.
Children don’t know whether or not to believe in Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy.
They aren’t sure how to judge character so that they can choose real friends.
They still have yet to discover why the people who love them absolutely know that they are beautiful.
And your excuse?
So, of course, children do not know what is normal when it comes to sexual violence.
What is shocking to me is that grown people don’t know what is normal.
I know how you all became adults without acquiring this knowledge.
I didn’t gain this knowledge either.
No one taught it in school.
They came to tell us how to brush our teeth.
They came to talk about fire safety. (Remember Stop. Drop. and Roll.?)
They came to talk about birth control.
But, no one came to talk about healthy human sexual interaction.
Nothing about sexual violence.
It is extremely rare for families to discuss it.
It isn’t discussed in faith communities.
So, there isn’t any place to gather the knowledge.
I understand when adults don’t have a full understanding of this. Okay.
But what I don’t understand is how you manage to maintain your status as a reasonable thinking adult and not educate yourself on healthy human sexual interaction.
That, I don’t get.
People know more about phones, computers, tablets, streaming, downloading, social media, and such than they do about healthy human sexual interaction.
Please, let me talk to you about this because, this, I know about.
A lot of us were wearing a whole lot of clothes and they took them off of us.
I was wearing what children wore in the 70’s.
Turtlenecks, rompers, bell bottoms, corduroy maxi skirts, and thick tights.
In fact, my mother made most of my clothing on her sewing machine. That wasn’t so unusual for that time.
I remember all my sister and I wanted to do was wear denim jeans and a t-shirt.
Mama was like, “Nope.”
There was no escape. My aunt (her sister) was like a second mother to us and she was a beauty pageant winner so she was no help. She just fanned the flames.
In those days, it was still a big deal for a girl to look a “girl“, and a boy to look like a “boy“. It all seemed dumb to us.
Still, I couldn’t wear any skirts that flared when you twirled around. I wore clothes that had a prim and proper look to them. I hated that too!
See back then, how you looked wasn’t just a reflection on you. It was also a reflection on your family.
Man, these were some dumb rules that “people” and “they” were making.
If you asked me, my clothes looked like “little girl clothes”.
I recall getting laughed at in my gym class because my mother wouldn’t let me wear the shorts that were popular at the time.
Gym shorts were supposed to be mid thigh. My Mama was having none of that ‘nonsense’.
I had to have shorts to my knees. My gym teacher whispered to me, “Is it your religion?”
I said back in a regular volume voice, “No, my Mama.” Cause that was a fact, Jack.
I just knew that that was worse.
I think my gym teacher did too.
That conversation was left right alone.
To this day my mother vehemently defends her decision to dress me in those ugly knee length sea foam green polyester shorts.
Even though my mother followed all of those “rules” that society came up with, I was still raped by people our family trusted.
Let me tell you, this ain’t what I heard, this is what I lived.
It doesn’t matter what a victim wears.
Short skirt. Long skirt. Layers, upon layers.
Hear this: One of my worst memories is being taken out of my layers of prim and proper clothing that my mother sent me to school in.
She sent me to school in layers so that I would be warm that day.
I was raped that day.
By someone, my mother thought that she could trust.
They. Do. Not. Care.
Y’all stop acting like these people with evil intentions have standards.
They will leave this “prey” alone if…..
Man, you have been watching too many horror films and not reading or hearing enough facts, statistics, and confirmed truths from experts and Survivors of sexual violence.
Waiting on you
“Yeah, it is normal for men to look at girls/women in provocative clothing and lack self-control.”
Soooo many of you all say this. Daily, like some mantra from an underground cult.
We truly wonder about you. I don’t think that you realize this but you are saying exactly what pedophiles and predators say.
Sound just like them.
Keep talking, we have heard it before. You never forget your first time.
⇾We were alone with them.
⇾We were vulnerable.
⇾We were prey.
⇾We didn’t know what we know now.
Because even though consensual services are easier to get to and more affordable than ever, y’all still blaming victims.
You don’t get it. OR, maybe….you do.
Maybe, you do. I am going to stop giving you all the benefit of the doubt.
I don’t know you like that.
Listen, time is ticking.
Whatever you are reading this on, please use it to update your knowledge on sexual violence.
True facts and true stats.
I don’t know about anyone else, I am getting real tired of putting butterflies and pretty colors around information for grown people to read and they don’t read it anyway.
But what they do do is angrily and nastily come after victims of sexual violence.
What they also do is loudly assert their ignorance about sexual violence.
See, I’m good. But I have been on my healing journey for 30 years now. I have an excellent team behind me. When you see me, I am never alone.
But not all victims and Survivors are. We are all at different stages at different times.
Kids and adults are still getting raped EPIDEMIC rates. Hold on let me correct that
Women, men, and older children are raping kids and adults at EPIDEMIC rates!
We are going to need you all to hurry up and educate yourselves.
This is how we change the world.
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“We’ve been there, experienced that. Trauma, Pain, Abuse & Rape. These are the lessons that we brought back.”
–Tonya GJ Prince has been a leading subject matter expert (SME) in domestic violence and sexual violence.
For over 25 years she has helped people heal, prevent, and overcome domestic and sexual violence.
In order to accomplish this mission, she founded several diverse & inclusive platforms designed to allow Survivors to use their own voices including;
WESurviveAbuse.com, SurvivorAffirmations.com, & BraidtheLadder.org.
Tonya is an author, activist, advocate, Survivor, speaker, counselor, & mentor.
B.S. Organizational Management & Development/Bluefield College
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