TRIGGER WARNING: Sexual abuse
The mind is a funny thing. I'd repressed my memories of him. Only the effects of our encounters remained; my fear of the dark, my aversion to performing oral sex, how I didn't allow kisses from new love interests. I was a twice sexually abused teen when I met him. He was in the military, about to be stationed in California. I was in high school, 10th grade to be exact. He was a friend of my mom's love interest at the time. An unattractive, runt of a man (he'd seemed so big at the time; fear will do that), he was great at grooming (bullying) me to fulfill his sexual proclivities. Thinking back, he was “smart;” he never penetrated me with his penis, only his fingers. I'd made myself forget him. Tucked his little ugly ass into the recesses of my brain where all the bad things were left to rot. Twenty one years later, during a therapy session, my brain decided it was a good idea to regurgitate his memory.
Deep in a conversation about past traumas and how I chose to cope, I saw his face. I remembered his hands, his breath, his voice. I recalled the smell of his spit, him forcibly biting my lip if I protested his kisses. I thought of how filthy and dirty I felt after we'd leave his friend's house and how I'd ride home in silence. I remembered how my mom and her husband reacted to me telling them about a previous near-rape experience (I fought my way out of that one, although I didn't leave unscathed…bite marks littered my neck, bruises outlining fingerprints on my arms); they said I was being “fast" (I was a virgin; that was my first encounter with a penis) and my abuser was allowed to move in under my roof. I didn't think I'd be protected, again. In that therapy session, I wondered why I didn't fight military guy as hard. Why didn't I protect myself better? Why did I allow myself to become a victim AGAIN? I left that session angry. It took a couple sessions and phone calls with my therapist to get past the emotional turbulence. But I survived...
…until November, 2017. I ran into my mom's former flame while walking to work. He recognized me instantly. I don't know why, but I asked him where was his military friend who was always at his house 2 decades ago. He knew exactly who I was referring to and called him by name. I made a mental note of his last name, said my goodbyes, and power walked to my job. I needed to see something. I tapped the Facebook icon on my phone and slid my thumb across the letters on my screen. His profile was the second one listed. He looked the exact same as he did years ago, add a little extra ugliness. He seemed so short posing beside the car in his profile pic. I chuckled with tears welling in my eyes. I didn't know why I was crying, but the tears stung my eyes before releasing onto my cheeks. This little smug fucker had stolen a piece of me. I'd endured his sexual abuse for months. I’d stayed silent, hating myself, not understanding why these perverse men/boys kept finding me. I felt like I was wearing the scarlet letter. I felt like I didn't matter.
Looking at his profile, his mental issues are apparent. He's single, misogynistic, harboring all kinds of toxic masculinity, and judging the interaction on his page, not well liked. I imagined myself hitting him up in messenger to see what he remembers about our encounters. Would he apologize? Would he lash out at me for finding him? I also imagined myself cutting out his tongue and castrating him. What if he's victimized another young girl? What if he's victimized a grown woman? I don't know if I'll ever make my presence known to him or if I'll continue to live in the shadows; but, I do know finding him changed me. I saw one of my scariest monsters and I can still sleep without a nightlight. I'm stronger than I thought.