Trigger warning: description of sexual assault.
Sometimes I downplay my college assault, because even in my life being pulled backwards into a man’s lap while he uses my breasts as handles and smells my hair and kisses my jaw isn’t nearly as bad as other experiences I and others have had.
But then a Twitter friend was talking about Cecily McMillan, who was just found guilty of 2nd degree assault for fighting back when a police officer sexually assaulted her and left a hand-shaped bruise on her breast. As my friend said, “Think about how hard you’d have to grab someone’s breast to leave a bruise.”
And all my breath left me and I just kind of went, “Oh.”
When my college attacker grabbed me, I couldn’t fight out of his grip. And when I got home that night and undressed for bed…one of my breasts was black and blue. I couldn’t sleep on my stomach for a few nights. But I still told myself that it wasn’t a big deal, that I was being dramatic.
Maybe I should stop gaslighting myself.