Repetition.

If you repeat something over and over again it loses its meaning.
Or so I’d heard.

So I repeated those words
I’d been so afraid to say out loud,
hoping that they would actually lose their meaning
like I pretended they had.

I was molested as a child.
I was molested as an adolescent.
I was molested as a teenager.
I was molested as an adult.
I was molested.
I was molested.
I was molested.

No, it didn’t work.
Not entirely.
The words may have lost their meaning
but their meaning has not lost its significance,
because it still haunts me
even when I’m not actively thinking about it
because it has already cast its shadow over me
and I have never lived without its weight on my shoulders
because I don’t know how to,
it’s all I’ve ever known,
even when I convinced myself to believe otherwise.

Every time I touched my body,
whether it was to run my fingers down my arm
or to rest my palm on my thigh,
I could feel your hands where they didn’t belong,
and for that moment
no matter how short it was,
I felt scared and dirty,
like my own body didn’t belong to me
and I had no right to it,
no command over it.

Every day I wondered
how much of myself was a result of what you did to me.
Which pieces of my broken, damaged self
were from the impact of your assault,
when you shattered my childish innocence
with your invasive hands.

Every day I thought
that you were only a few years older to me,
still a child yourself-
lost and hurt-
you didn’t know what you were doing,
you didn’t realise you were a molester.
I made all these excuses
and convinced myself that I had forgiven you,
that it no longer affected me-
but I still cannot be alone in a room with you
without feeling the need to scream and sprint away.
I thought I was healed completely,
but in reality
I couldn’t even say the words out loud:
I was molested.
I was molested.
I was molested.

No, I was not molested.
You molested me.
You molested me
when you decided to attack my lips,
you molested me every time you groped me-
I beg to know
what was so uncontrollably arousing
about an eight year old’s unformed breasts.
You molested me every time
you accidentally brushed your hands against me,
you molested me when you decided
that shoving your hand down my shirt every chance you got,
unfazed even in a crowded theatre,
even in your own living room
with my sister a few feet away
and the possibility of your mother walking in-
Oh how I hate that woman for having given birth to you,
and not to have abandoned you
when she had the opportunity to do so.
You molested me in my own home,
you molested me in my own car.
And there was nothing I could do about it,
because I didn’t think anything could be done,
after all,
I wasn’t even safe in my own house anymore.

If you repeat something over and over again it loses its meaning.
You molested me.
You molested me.
You molested me.

No, it hasn’t lost its meaning.

Pandora’s Box.

I still remember my first kiss,
though I wish I didn’t.

It was sloppy, unexpected and uncomfortable.
That’s not how a kiss is supposed to be,
that’s not how someone’s lips should be caressed for the first time,
that wasn’t even a caress.

I was an eight year old
whom you thought to be asleep,
and decided that it was the perfect situation,
perfect opportunity for a kiss,
so you smashed your lips onto mine
and your tongue dripped saliva all over my lips,
which had tightened shut,
though you didn’t notice that,
the same way you didn’t notice my body tense
and reject this invasion,
because perhaps you assumed
that I liked being assaulted
with our parents in the front seat,
and perhaps you took my silence for consent,
but that wasn’t consent
that was merely the confused innocence of an eight year old
who didn’t know what to do
what to say
or what to feel;
and the only hint I had of there being something wrong
with what was happening
was the loud shriek of the woman in my head;
I didn’t quite know what she was screaming about
but her voice sounded like an animal in pain,
an animal who has been pierced by a bullet
but it doesn’t know it has been shot
because bullets don’t exist in its realm of dangers.

I was an eight year old child
and you molested me, repeatedly.

I’m eighteen now and I have never held my breasts,
because I still feel dirty every time I try to do so.
Thank you, for leaving me incapable
of checking for lumps
or just holding them for the sake of it,
because they’re a part of my body.
Thank you for robbing me of my right to my body,
I hope you’re satisfied.

You robbed my ability to ever be intimate
because I learned at a young age
that my body will never quite be my own,
that anybody, anywhere could and would impose on it
and there would be nothing I could do about it
because I don’t know what to do.
I don’t think I have the right to saying ‘no’
because I’ve never really even learned to do so.

I’ve been taught to be cautious
around every man I encounter;
I’ve been taught that not all friends are friends;
I’ve been taught that I can never truly be safe-
but you taught me that when I least expected it,
you taught me that even before I needed to learn it;
I can’t tell this to the people
who teach me about those lessons
and do everything in their power to ensure my safety
about this breach of security
because they will be shattered to hear of it.
So, I shall continue to silently smile
and convince myself that I am fine.
But I promise you,
one day I shall learn to be intimate with a man,
one day I shall touch my breasts
for the sole reason that they’re mine
and I have the right to do so;
One day, I shall learn to say no.