I had been drinking so maybe I was acting like everything was fine. We were just being playful. A little rough, but he’s a strong guy. I didn’t say no. Did I? I don’t remember.
This #MeToo movement is something I didn’t expect. Who of us could have?
It started out with just a few of my friends posting their sexual harassment and/or sexual assault experiences on Facebook, and pretty soon thereafter I was reading about Molly Ringwald (The Molly Ringwald from movies like Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, and a lesser known favorite of mine, For Keeps) and how at just 14-years-old, she was assaulted by a crew member on the set of a film.
It was disturbing, but like a car accident you can’t look away from, I simply had to keep on reading. These fighters among cowards had spilled their secret and I felt better (and later on awful) knowing that I wasn’t alone.
Why have we all been silent? Who is silencing us?
“I think (wish) this goes without saying, but don’t ask women to explain their ‘me too.’ Don’t ask them to justify it. If you notice your mind going to a place of doubt, ask yourself what it says about you that your mind went there. WTF.”
This here. This is why, and it is exactly what snapped me out of whatever ashamed and remorseful victim box I was allowing myself to get checked into.
A former coworker named Terra posted the above and I had felt exactly what she was writing about and I was feeling it now as I contemplated a piece on this movement. I was afraid of being told I was a liar or that I must have been drinking or- or- or.
In the last few months I have made strides regarding my personal well-being and mental health. I’m on an anti-anxiety medication, I have my second session with a new therapist coming up (after almost a dozen EMDR sessions with a therapist that I would rather not name), and am now working as an editor for a marketing company.
Life is OK right now, but sometimes it’s not.
There are many horrific things in this world, but one of the most heartbreaking is to see all of you, women (and men) who are just like me and many of whom are friends, sharing this secret. This secret that makes me nauseous on random days (like this one I suppose).
Before my mom died of cancer in 2015, we went to Kauai for her 59th birthday. One night, we decided to check out this famous restaurant called Tahiti Nui (George Clooney & Co. filmed parts of The Descendants here).
We stood by a corner and ordered a couple of beers while people crammed in to enjoy some live music. It wasn’t loud so we were able to talk. We got a little tipsy and we started to talk about how she was feeling. I tried not to do that so much.
The memory was fuzzy then and it’s even fuzzier now, but I remember her saying that she was going to die.
“Si, si- me voy a morir…”
“Yes, yes- I’m going to die…”
Later that night, we went back to our place in Princeville and stayed up late talking about anything and everything. We were honest with each other (for once). I remember talking about my childhood and asking her “Why, mom, why did you leave me in Mexico to live with my grandma? I wanted to be with you,” I told her. Had I always felt abandoned? I wondered if our relationship had been strained because of it.
The next thing she said is something I wish I didn’t have to write. She was molested as a little girl. The only thing I could muster in my shock was “Who?” and she casually shrugged and said that it was a friend of my grandmother’s. Afterwards, he would eat at my grandmother’s restaurant and my mom never said a word. In fact, she waited on him.
Much of what had confused me about her before made sense right then. She was always so joyful and childlike—annoying even. I would tell her that most of the time I felt like she was my sister, not my mom. However, she was always very protective and intensely wary of men. She didn’t like to be touched. It all made sense. Her idiosyncrasies and her attitude, just the way in which she moved through life. “I was molested.” Nothing prepares you to hear those three words.
We never talked about it after that night.
Three months later is when it happened. I stupidly went to a guy’s house who I didn’t know and things “escalated.” For so long I felt like it was my fault. How could I have gone to some random person’s house and expected anything different? Is that the world we’re living in now? I had been drinking so maybe I was acting like everything was fine. We were just being playful. A little rough, but he’s a strong guy. I didn’t say no. Did I? I don’t remember.
Except I do. I do remember. I remember him grabbing my arms and pinning me down. I remember kissing him back, but thinking that he was being too forceful. I remember him forcefully grabbing at my chest and then my legs. I remember being scared. I remember thinking that it was my fault.
He went to the bathroom and I lay paralyzed on the bed. It was a little dark, but I could still make out my top and my shoes. I was so terrified. I wanted to run out of there, but I kept thinking the bathroom door would swing open. I felt frozen. I eventually ran out and toward the street, frantically looking for my keys. I suddenly got a text from him:
“You just left? Nice.”
I felt sick.
I remember texting a friend, but I don’t remember who. I haven’t talked about this in years and my memory fails me. If you are reading this and remember, thank you.
I responded to his text by saying that I had to work early in the morning and that I was sorry.
I fucking apologized to this man.
“Yeah, OK” is the last thing he said to me.
Adriana Ferrell is an Associate Editor living in downtown San Diego, California. She is also the mind, writer, and photographer behind the blog, The Bad+Good where she discusses the bad, the good, and the in-between of life. When she’s not curating her blog or Instagram, Adriana loves spending time with her Argentinian boyfriend, two cats, and rescue pup. Email her at email@example.com.