It started off as her wanting to hide in the same hiding place as me when we all played hide-and-seek, or wanting to play house so she could be the “dad”, or asking our moms if we could all have sleepovers… it seemed harmless and I didn’t know what was happening. I was 4 and she was 12. She was supposed to be my friend...
Our moms were best friends at the time so we were always together. I can’t remember the first time but I remember for months I was forced to kiss her, lay down with her, and let her touch me. When I would try to say no or stay with my sisters, she would force me to go with her. I was only 4, it was easy to drag me. For months, I was stuck but I didn’t say anything. I didn’t know there was anything to say honestly. Then one day, we were hiding in a closet during a game of hide-and-seek. She started to kiss me and began to touch me when the door flew open. It was her mom. Her mom yanked me up and started yelling at me, saying how gross I was and how dare I kiss her daughter. She threatened to beat me. She called my mom and told her to come pick me up. After my mom picked me up, we went to the store and while walking through the aisles my mom told me that it’s not okay to kiss girls. “It’s okay to kiss them on the cheek like a sister but not on the lips.” She didn’t ask for my side, or if I was okay, or if I even knew what was happening…
After that, there was a fallout between our moms and I didn’t have to see her again but she still haunted me. When I was 7 or 8, I thought I saw her drinking out of a water fountain and instantly my skin became on fire and I ran into the bathroom and started crying. I could not be affectionate with anyone. My skin always felt like it was on fire. I couldn’t even receive kisses from my little sister or a hug from my best friend without freaking out.
Over time, I got better. I began to trust people and I was able to share my story. I eventually told my mom and my closest friends. I was able to hug and kiss without feeling disgusting. I felt like I could finally be normal. Then, my abuser reached out to me my senior year in college via Facebook. I quickly blocked her but all the pain rushed back again. I was 20 then but I felt like I was 4 and trapped in the closet with her all over again.
Some days I don’t think about what happened, other days there's a smell or thought that will bring me back to those days. But nevertheless, I am a survivor. A survivor that learned how to love, how to accept affection, and who is now in a healthy, happy relationship and is expecting a little one.
To my fellow survivors, share your story. There’s strength in our stories and in our voices.