Violence against women and sexual assault has been become a hot topic lately with accusations and trials making national headlines such as former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi, MPs on Parliament Hill, and even from within the ranks of the RCMP. Canadians shouldn’t ignore the reality that women endure sexual harassment and assault, even in very high profile places. But why does it take women years sometimes to come forward? What emotional hurdles must they overcome, and what consequences do they face?
Is it worth it?
At the age of five, I badgered an old-enough-to-be-tried-as-an-adult cousin to play with me. He took me into the front bedroom at the family farm, locked the door with a hook out of my reach, and told me to do things I didn’t know to say no to.
I didn’t understand what had happened, but I didn’t like how it made me feel. When I told an adult that night, my story was shrugged off. Forget about it. It happens. You’ll get over it.
It was my idea to play; I had insisted he play. I never fought back or tried to get away. As a five year old, I didn’t know what shame was but I understood that what happened was my fault.
I was in my mid-twenties, married with daughters of my own, before I went to a counsellor to deal with the panic attacks I was having and connected the molestation to the panic attacks, the unreasonable fear of men, and my fear of the dark.
This article won the Short Feature category at the 2016 The Word Awards.