(Originally written Feb-2018 & Oct-2018)

The first sexual assault I can remember is when an older girl forced her way into the back door of the apartment where I lived in 5th grade and began molesting me while her friends watched. The attack ended abruptly when a loud thump outside the front door scared her/them off. She thought it was a parent getting home. But it was just a random noise — they wouldn’t be home for hours. I cried alone for who knows how long.

I never told my parents. I was embarrassed. I blamed myself for unlocking the door. And if they believed me, an imaginative girl known to tell tall tales, they wouldn’t have let me stay at home alone after school anymore. Who wants a babysitter when you’re in 5th grade?

I all but forgot about this assault until recent years, when other women started sharing their stories. Do you think it’s less real for me because it happened long ago? Did it affect me less because it wasn’t reported?

Thinking back to the first time I ever talked about it.

There’s so many details I don’t have. I know the layout of the first floor. It happened in the kitchen, between the hallway from the back door and the dining room. You couldn’t see the living room and front door from the kitchen. It was small and narrow. I don’t remember which side the oven was on or which side the fridge was on.

I remember her — dark skin, taller than me, intimidating — but I can’t remember her friends. I don’t know how many, one or two? Younger, or just smaller? Boys or girls? Girls, I think, but the REAL problem is I just don’t recall those details. I’m only 99% sure there was someone there besides her and me.

So many holes in my story. BUT — that doesn’t mean the assault didn’t happen. I wasn’t physically harmed, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an assault. It wasn’t innocent curiosity if I was terrified, humiliated. There was no consent. There was force.

I don’t know her name. I have an idea of a name, but just the first. I don’t remember specific aspects of her face. I remember she was imposing. I remember the feeling of wrongness.

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