I feel like a lot of girls in my position know this conversation all too well.
"We should hook up."
"I'm sorry, I'm actually attracted to women."
"But you should still sleep with me, though."
I don't think the words annoying, repulsive, or invasive can even scratch the surface of accurately describing this conversation, or all of the comments that come after that I don't wish to repeat. This happened to me about two months ago, and there's no doubt in my mind that it will happen again.
I've suffered through several instances of sexual harassment in my life. I remember being a child, around 6 years old, in middle school, all the way up until very recently in college. And the thing that breaks my heart, is what I've experienced could be considered very minimal.
What I went through was terrible, please don't get me wrong, but in comparison to what some of my friends have experienced, it seems like child's play.
(Please note here that I talk about girls being victims of sexual abuse because I didn't see any guys say anything. This is NOT JUST A WOMEN'S ISSUE. Here I'm noting what I saw on my social medias yesterday.)
Scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram yesterday, I kept seeing so many of my dearest friends confessing to being sexually harassed, assaulted, and even raped. Every other post was about it.
Me too. Me too. Me too. My heart crawled up into my throat. I was so angry, heart broken, and felt helpless, honestly.
Not all of these women live with same-sex attractions, but I know quite a few of them do, and I couldn't help but think that being sexually abused, especially at a young age, had something to do with it.
Personally, I think of being exposed to pornography when I was a child as sexual assault. I should note here that the person who exposed me did not do so intentionally, but it still happened. It warped and ultimately ruined my perception of sexuality, and is going to take years and years for me to renew it.
Some people where physically assaulted or harassed, and I firmly believe that they gravitate towards women more now because of that.
To think that almost every single woman that I know has been a victim of sexual violence in one way or another is absolutely sickening, and I need to say something to all of you, especially my friends with SSA.
Who you are is not a result of what's happened to you.
It is not your fault, it will never be your fault, and you should never blame yourself for what happened.
You are loved; you are strong, you are brave, you are beautiful, and nothing and no one should be able to convince you otherwise, and that includes yourself.
Man or woman, you did nothing to deserve it. You re not lessor of a human being because of it, and please know that you are not alone in this.
To my friends who worry that their SSA could have developed because of an act of sexual violence, our Lord calls us not to be afraid. You are among the bravest and the strongest of His followers, called to carry what I believe to be one of the heaviest crosses of the age.
Lean not on your own understanding, or your own strength. Christ does not give us crosses that we cannot carry, but also does not leave us to carry them alone.
Go to Him in prayer; rest your head on His chest, and your heart in His hands. He will not leave you alone, and His love is greater than all that has happened to you.
I've had a very hard time coming to grips with some things that have happened to me. For years and years I blamed myself; said I should've known better, or I shouldn't have been in the wrong place at the wrong time or around the wrong people.
But I didn't ask for any of this. No one asks to be a victim of sexual violence. None of what happened to me was my fault, and I have no right to blame myself.
If I could say one thing to every man who has sexually harassed me, I would first say I forgive them, and that I wish they would come to be better one day.
But I would also say that they won't ever overpower me again, because I refuse to let them. I'm better, I'm stronger, and I am braver.
I survived sexual harassment.
And my prayers for today rest with all others like me.